Lots of people say that home is wherever they lay their bag, but I never thought I would feel that way. And in a way I don't. The UK is my home, but I've found that I quickly get attached to wherever I am at any particular moment. I suppose I get attached to any semblance of familiarity I can find, because when you're only in a city for a couple of days familiarity can be hard to come by.
My house in the UK is in the process of being sold, and all my possessions are in boxes ready to go into storage for when I come back. So technically I'm homeless.
Being in Cusco for two weeks now makes it longest I've been in one place on this trip. And as I'm living with a host family, having a private room and home cooked meals, and having a routine of volunteering and studying, I'm not surprised I almost replied "Cusco".
Yesterday was my 25th birthday, and today is my housemate Sarah's 19th. Milena, Sarah and I went to Paddy's, the world's highest Irish pub, for some British-ish food two nights ago, and ended up dancing to iPod music in Plaza de Armas while a Peruvian shoeshine boy clapped along. We know how to celebrate.
Our host parents gave us both a card with lovely messages written on them at lunch today, and they thanked us for being part of the family. I was moved, to say the least. I've put the card with my others that my family gave me to open yesterday before I left the UK seven weeks ago.
Everyday they seem delighted to see me, and my host mum calls out "Happy day!" when I leave in the mornings. They also charmingly pronounce Miles 'Mee-less' and my other housemate Gage's name 'Gay'.
Cusco itself is a very nice city, and I enjoy living here. I'm getting used to the casual walk down the road being an intense cardio workout; the local school playing the Lambada at unearthly hours, leaving me with On The Floor stuck in my head all morning; and I'm even getting used to those dreadful wide-brimmed bowler hats that women here insist on wearing. The only thing that still gets me is the drivers' honking. Honking when there's no one else on the road. Not a fan...
I've paid for a few extra nights here at my homestay, up to Wednesday, because it cost US$22.50 for my accommodation and all my meals per day, which I think will save me money. Not to mention I get to keep my private room and my "family" for a bit longer. But eventually I will have to cut loose and become a traveller again. On Sunday I'll only have one month left in South America, which is both scary and exciting.
I do miss home. I miss my friends and my family. But I don't miss the life I'd have there right now. As my friend Ali wrote in my leaving card:
"If you're ever feeling down or missing home, take a step back and look at where you are and all the fantastic things you're doing".