Changes - I know I've changed, a lot and that is, I suppose, a good thing. I feel like I am more me - more confident, more willing to fail, more willing to not care about thing I couldn't be bothered about. For once I actually feel a bit more mature, but in a way that is more carefree than ever before - if that makes any sense.
Home - The idea of home is tricky, people keep asking if I am glad to be home and it's confusing. There was home; here is home; the world is home. They say that "home is where the heart is" - who is they, and honestly, at least for me my heart is always with me - so technically I am home everywhere. They also say that home is where family is, but what if you've got also a family of non-blood relations - all over the world - scattered - then home is where they all are too. But back to that question of am I happy to be back? - Yes, I am happy everywhere - I will make it work and be happy wherever I end up - I think the bigger question is, is will I stay - and to that... I say... Nothing is constant and that I may always return
1. Cusco was very regular with the sun rising almost daily at 6 am, and setting between 5.30 and 6 pm. Calgary is very different with winter sun rises happening at 8 am and sun sets at 4 pm and summer sunrises at 5 am and sun sets at 10 and 11 pm
2. Toilets that flush paper - in Peru, due to the plumbing system - toilet paper gets put in a mini trash can beside the toilet - if you flush, over flow. Also many of the toilets cannot take big loads - so inevitably the toilets kept clogging. In Canada - flushes are generally larger and yes you can flush the toilet paper - though the week I got back I would still look around for the mini trash can each time
3. In Cusco, people generally have more disposable time as jobs are generally a little less stressful and lunch times are still longer. The extra time is nice, but a lot of it is then devoted to religious and cultural festivities and events. In Canada we tend to have less disposable time however with how organized and streamlined things are, that smaller time feels like more time at times - until stresses creep in.
4. Cusco has come a long way since 2003 in regard to showers. However, a long hot shower is still a dream luxury there. In Canada the showers are always hot, always with water, and have much better pressure. You can find this more and more in Peru though.
5. In Canada people are much larger in regard to height and bone structure. I am short in Canada at 5 feet, 1 inch. In Peru I was average height and in certain locations actually above average height.
6. In Canada - people just work work work work work - actually that's not true - but true of my workaholic family - so it was refreshing to be around more people who enjoyed more of life and did more than just work work work work work. And wonderfully it took the pressure and guilt away from self engrained thoughts that that is how one needs to be.
7. In Calgary, Jeans are fashion, and real fashion is expensive and not too highly regarded. In Peru women and men are generally, in the cities, dressed much better - this might be due to the fact that even really really cheap clothing and shoes are just made to be more fashionable, and also that more of their influences come in from Europe - namely Spain.
8. Food - In Canada food can be very diverse due to the millions of immigrants and refugees that call Canada home. That said fast foods and grocery ready foods are generally simple. In Peru their food is quite like the Indian food of South America - diverse in all parts of the county and complex with many different cooking methods used and a myriad of spices.
9. Warmth - In Canada I think we would die in the winter without in home heating and heated buildings and transport in general - I may be exaggerating - because lets face it Inuit peoples have done so (living in extreme cold) for generations. But generally speaking no one would want to (90 percent of the public) live in Canada without heating - that percentage might go up in Vancouver. In Cusco it's also really cold at night - the city is at an altitude of 3400 meters and falls to between 0 and 8 degrees Celsius in the night - for a place where nothing is heated - that is really cold. At night, everyone really bundles up and beds have 5-8 covers on them. I finally caved and got a space heater because painting with cold hands sucks.
10. The quiet - Calgary is so quiet compared with Cusco's car alarms going off all the time, thousands of off leash dogs running around and barking, and fireworks going off nightly whether by a street festival or birthday party. The noise can be annoying at times - we lived across from a woman that would hold children's birthday parties on the weekends and would play Reggaton on speakers that were incredibly loud - but its funny - I got used to the noise and even miss it. Sometimes I find Calgary too quiet.
11. True Abundance - the poverty in Peru is very noticeable - not everyone has enough - things are not super expensive, however many people still earn way under the poverty line. Many people walk around in ratty clothes, eat a lot of cheap carbs, many cars and houses are old, and shops often times have dirt floors - this is of course changing as people earn more and the country grows. In the past, waste was little, but now with disposable plastics - namely disposable plates and cutlery and plastic bags, and diapers, and tampons, and shitty cheap child toys - garbage litters the streets with the off leash dogs tearing into the garbage bags that are cast into the streets, hopeful to find scraps but more often than not digging into a dirty diaper. In Calgary everything seems new and excessive - the shops over flow with things, people have multiples of so many clothes, of cars, of things. But here we recycle more, and garbage does not flow through the city streets.
12. More gender equality - In Cusco I had to get used to men making comments when I wore a skirt or showed too much skin, or just stop wearing those things - so I wore pants for a year, wearing dresses on the very odd occasion. At village meetings only men were taken seriously, domestic violence is a major issue, and many girls from small communities will be married or single having babies at a young young age. College educated Peruvian women are quickly making strides in equality however. Canada is of course much more equal - but we too have a long way to go - especially concerning how we deal with rape and rape laws.
13. Structures and Organization - Here is where Peru really needs to catch up - it actually takes a very long time to start or follow through with any sort of structure or process - grocery lines, citizenship, work permits, city garbage, university courses, hospital services, etc. Canada is much more advanced in regards to this aspect.
14. Stress - life in Canada is very stressful - the biggest reason - money for food and rent and education. In Cusco uni is free for students - no loans, and you can find super shitty housing for next to nothing, or decent housing for cheap, and food in general is really really cheap - so anyone wanting to focus on dreams, art stuff etc, can - there is no pressure to have to make enough on minimum wage just to scoot on by.
15. Color - Cusco is so colourful - the food, textiles, festivals, markets, ceremonies, theatre, dance - that I miss incredibly - and that is part of their heritage - but I do miss the colors.
Over all I don't love one country over the other - in all honesty we adapt as humans - and both are just different.