For the past 5 years I’ve lived in 2 polar opposite places: Ottawa, IL and Hong Kong. These locations could not be any more different. Ottawa with 19,000 people, a whole lotta townies, few restaurants, as well as a Wal-Mart and 2 strip clubs that welcome you into town. Hong Kong has 7,000,000 inhabitants from the world over, more restaurants than you could count, as well as dance clubs and bars galore. Even though these cities are so different, they both helped me to grow into the adult and the person that I am today. Ottawa taught me how to be an adult: renting, bills, utilities, making small talk, being independent, grocery shopping, working, taking care of a car, my own well-being, and making friends. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was already an adult who knew the basics of being an adult, but my life lessons expanded by moving away from every single person I knew. Hong Kong made me, well, me. It helped me figure out who I am as a person; it taught me lessons on how to be happy, how to make genuine friends, find what I consider fun, and how to live on my own (really, really on my own). Ottawa made me an adult, Hong Kong made me Ashley. And to have had both experiences in such a short amount of time, makes me really grateful for both of them. I went to Ottawa today and got misty-eyed about all the things I missed about it and even though that list is short and mostly contains the people I like, Ottawa was good to me. I’m not sad I left there, but glad I took the chance to be me. If I hadn’t left Ottawa, I may have never found out that cosmos are my fave drink, dated a Brit (or 12), gone on a safari, made friends from other countries, danced ‘til 5am, or lived in a shoebox-sized apartment. So, thank you, Ottawa for making me want to leave so that I could find Hong Kong. And, thank you, Hong Kong for making me want to leave to find out what else is out there in the world and to help me keeping finding, well, me.