1 November 2018
Everyone’s life can be compared in some way to Kiki’s adventure. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the film illustrates the courageous, adventurous and persevering spirit of a young girl, Kiki, who explores an unknown city on her own and finds acceptance within the community.
I have also found myself migrating to an unknown city and probing for my own position and acceptance in this new-found world. For me, when the airplane was above the city and I could see the ocean, the coast, and the landscape of the city, which Kiki could see as she rode her broom with her little black cat, it seemed all the more familiar. In the past I have seen similar scenes many times above Incheon Airport, where in the winter you could see the light-blue frozen ocean, and little houses on the islands when the weather permits. This time however, I saw Edinburgh from above, a city also surrounded by ocean and covered in greenery, with little roofs of houses scattered within.
Again, like Kiki’s adventure, when you arrive in an unknown city you find way a way to utilise your skills and you make the effort to help others; you might endure some difficulties, such as falling ill; and often you will find a friend sitting beside you on a sunny day. I am still in the progress of completing some group projects and I'm learning to cope with the difficulties caused by new surroundings and feeling anxious. My teammates are all very ingenious, congenial and supportive, so group projects have been a valuable opportunity for me to learn more about effective team working. Plus, the Student Association and teams of Residence Assistants have helped to make the transition as smooth as possible and have filled the first few weeks with different events, such as social events and introductory sessions, which I have participated in.
By referring to this film you may realise that I continuously find myself in the same situation as the main character, despite the difference in our ages. Although I no longer need courage or an adventurous spirit to travel to different cities, the skills and lessons I have learned from the days when I had just graduated from high school, travelled to a foreign country, and had zero proficiency in local language, still apply here.
Some say life is a spiral thus you experience the same stage at different ages. I have enjoyed exploring Edinburgh, from climbing Calton Hill to strolling along Prince Street, and I found myself reminiscing about other cities I have explored, like Seoul and Busan.
I have also enjoyed a day trip to Glasgow, where I met up with an old friend and collected my bank card. Together we went to see Glasgow Cathedral, dropped by the Willow Tea Rooms, and had a seat in George Square before I headed back Queen Street Station to get my train. My friend gave me a handbag as a gift and it is the first keepsake I have obtained in Scotland. The title of the book, A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf, is written on the bag. I've always enjoyed reading Virginia Woolf and her powerful questions about gender and poverty, which makes this keepsake even more special to me.
When standing at Portobello beach and looking at the sea, I thought of the myth of Sisyphus, the sinner condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill, only to watch it roll back down again. Sometimes I see the factors that are pre-determined for me as the destiny of Sisyphus, and many times I feel like I have watched the stone I have pushed fall to the bottom again. However, like the lines in the Man and Superman, “this is a ship with a pilot on board, at least I shall not be bored.”
Azihu Jiang, MSc Student