Posted in animal death, Colombia, Grief, letting go, Uncategorized

My Sidekick Nayela

My sidekick is gone. After two months of treatment, I had to say goodbye. Nayela was a loving companion always in the background of my life. I didn’t photograph her often because she always awaited me in one of her spots. She would sometimes be in videos while I was hiking streams or in photos as part of a group. She was a comforting presence who knew my routine and followed me throughout my day. She was always nearby when I was home. If I was going out for errands and dressed differently, she knew and would run outside to lay in the little garage where she could hear my truck returning. Nayela didn’t show her dog smile often, but when she did, I returned to her after I had left to go somewhere.
Nayela found me during my first month living in Colombia. Someone had thrown her out in the street, and she was hiding under my patio chair when I heard her little whimper. She had left a harsh life on the Colombian streets and never wanted to return. I often think that is why she never left my side in the eleven and half years she was in my life. Her loyalty was unlike my other dogs. She never wanted the doggie love from everyone like most dogs do, she wanted me, and that was all she wanted. I felt she could read my mind, making me uncomfortable because I couldn’t believe she knew what was happening before I did it. I feel guilty while writing this because I often took her for granted. She would be at my feet while at my desk, and I would accept her presence but not acknowledge her. She never went a night without sleeping as close to me as possible, her body against my bed frame. I would have to step over her if I got up at night. When I would do Yoga, she knew my routine so well she would be upstairs waiting outside my bedroom door before I even arrived!

Nayela developed a nervous personality as she grew older. I couldn’t bring her to the veterinarian’s office because she was so fearful of everything, even me brushing her. When I had her groomed a few years back, she had a bad experience, and her personality changed as she grew more introverted. My sweet girl had dreadlocks! When I went on vacation last year, my caregiver said she stayed underneath his bed for two weeks. She would eat her food if he placed it under the bed next to her. My guests at my Glamping Hotel asked if she was mine if she happened to be outside, and they saw her. I would explain that she lived to be with me and she wasn’t social. She was sweet; if she was in a spot near people because I was there, she enjoyed the attention. She never sought it out, but she would greet people she knew. She also loved going on hikes with me and anyone who came along. She would run free and wade in the streams. I think that is the most social she would ever be during her last years.

She developed a mass in the back of her throat. We found it because she had stopped eating, and I thought she had an abscessed tooth. I am very fortunate to have veterinarians that come to my home. When they cleaned her teeth, they found the mass and explained that they could do an exam to see if it was cancerous. It didn’t come back as cancer, just inflammation. I was ecstatic because she seemed to get better quickly and was eating as before for two weeks. Then the medication they injected wore off, and she wouldn’t take her medicines by mouth. She started hiding in the little garage when it was time to eat, even though I tried every soft food to entice her. She ignored it all. The veterinarians came to examine her again, and the growth hadn’t changed. I took this as a sign of hope for her recovery. We tried new medicines, and she was again injected and was great for two weeks. This time when she started acting sick, it was more severe. She would sit in her spots hunched over. I began to accept the truth that this was an illness that wasn’t curable and suspected it had to do with the growth in her throat.

When my beloved dog Marley passed two years ago, I had waited too long to put him to sleep, and he suffered because of my decision. I didn’t want this to happen again. I wanted Nayela to enjoy her last days with us feeling normal and enjoying her time by my side. Her doctors came again and looked in her throat. Her growth was much more significant and obstructed her breathing, eating, and life. I didn’t have good options to save her as the change was in a tough spot to remove. They couldn’t guarantee that they could get everything. She would have to be hospitalized for over a week because she wouldn’t take medicines by mouth. It would kill her to be away from me and probably delay the inevitable. The only solution was to allow her some more time with me, living happily with an injection to keep her comfortable.

When her last day approached, I realized that her loss would affect me profoundly. I didn’t understand how much until now that she was gone. I have trouble going to sleep without her nearby. I sit at my desk as I write, wishing I could feel her next to my feet. When I go to Yoga, I have tears running down my face because she isn’t in her corner watching and waiting for me to finish. I have always felt significant loss from the death of a beloved animal, but this time I feel so much more. Maybe it is because she arrived in my life when I moved to Colombia after my daughter died, and she joined the dogs I brought from the United States. I believe she was a guardian angel who hovered nearby me. Now she is with Marley, her closest dog friend of all. Nayela was the quiet fur child in my fur family. She was content being on the sidelines as long as she could see and be with me. Her name means love in American Indian. She lived her name to the fullest of her ability. Another chapter is gone on my journey to Colombia. All the original animals I had are in doggie heaven. One day maybe another street dog will enter my life that can bring me new memories. After all, saving the life of an animal is the most important thing any of us can do.

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Posted in Achievements, Colombia, Entreprenuer, Glampingcolombia, Live your best life, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Glamping, A New Start

It has been too long since I wrote my previous blog. I wrote about how I wanted to reset my business after the last years of the pandemic. Two years of Covid restrictions wiped out all I had accomplished and worked hard to achieve. During my time away from writing, a tiny house made of glass for glamping was constructed here in Colombia at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. Glamping is an accurate word now, and it is a popular way for many people to spend time away in the country and take a break from the cities they reside in. The idea that I wrote about changing my business’s direction has turned into something bigger than I had imagined, and I am grateful for every second of this new phase in my life. 

In my last blog, I wrote that I planned to build this tiny house. It became a goal that I was determined to keep. I focused on building, and I pushed any doubts out of my mind. I knew that I needed to get back into the business of hosting, to have people here enjoying nature, watching the hummingbirds, and looking out to incredible views. I choose to trust the voice inside me that guided me on this new journey. 

Losing my business during the Covid 19 years gave me a different perspective on everything I had done before when I had a thriving business. I realized that I enjoyed staying in my Villa during the beginning days of quarantine; I was always in a hurry to get back home when I went out to do errands. Before Covid, I planned adventures for my guests, and I always looked for new tourist activities to share. After the country opened up, I knew my Villa was beautiful with magnificent views, but I hadn’t used that as my focal point as a tourism business. I started to see the value in what I had right in front of me when I received guests again at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I took these observations and created a plan.

First: I took a small loan. A significant decision, as I didn’t want any debt, and I hadn’t had any obligation for many years. My decision to expand when I was unsure if I could make money again was to learn a lesson. Use other people’s money if you can. Second: believe in your judgment, even if it is something you wouldn’t have usually considered after two years of lost time and money. Third: accept what you have done, whether the outcome will be good or bad. It’s our thinking that holds us back more than anything else. There’s no reason to imprison yourself. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box. Sometimes, we need to listen to that inner voice that guides us.

I opened up Cristal House Glamping on January 1st, 2022. Every weekend since has sold out. I am now getting many week-day bookings also. My new Glamping business has brought more bookings to my Ecolodge, and I am meeting many young professionals from Cali, Colombia. Young people are the life-blood of our world. I never imagined that my idea of entering the Glamping business would be successful right away. I thought it would be the same as when I opened my Ecolodge many years ago—steady growth with slow word-of-mouth recommendations. Instagram and social media expansion has changed the way new business evolves. I am so indebted to the younger generation that visits me. They send me videos I never would know how to produce. They are all video filmmakers these days. They have shown me that using the stories on my Instagram and Facebook reach so many more people than I ever thought possible. Their clever use of photo opportunities brings different ways of presenting a view or an activity to further light. This old dog is learning new tricks! I am also making so many new friends. By writing about this in my blog, I hope to reach and help others who want to bring back their business after the past years they lost. Just look at the young people around you. They can guide you to success!

Now I am building another Glamping house here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. That money I had from my loan brought me more money through my bookings. I am not keeping it in the bank but spending it growing my small business. Again, I am following my inner voice. It is still dawning on me that I am doing more in my 60s as an entrepreneur than I have ever done before. Hopefully, nature will always be a widespread love to many, with amazing views and incredible birds that people love to photograph.

After years of being restricted by the pandemic, people want to be outdoors. I have used it to my advantage. I am grateful and humbled. I am learning to be at peace with my decisions after such a long time of subtle criticism by others that I choose to ignore. I am my support system. It is empowering. I have chosen myself, and it has worked out. You can do it too! Just believe in yourself, filter out unwanted noise from others around you, and listen to the most authentic voice you have—your own.  

Posted in Achievements, Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, camping, child death, Colombia, country living, Entreprenuer, happiness, Uncategorized

Live What You Love

I have this family of the Venezuelan Turpials that live on my farm and visit my feeding stations. They sing their beautiful songs when they land at the bird feeding tables that hold bananas. I stop whatever I am doing to watch them. Today the mother Turpial was feeding her baby, who is almost as big as she is. I feel a contentment from the sight of the juvenile Turpial reaching for a bite of banana. After many years of struggle, I have found peace, often thinking how lucky I am. Moments like these keep my heart filled with happiness. It seemed I couldn’t quite grasp happiness until recently. I am living a life that I love.

Many years after my daughter was murdered, I lived life with dread as background noise in my thoughts. An uneasiness that I have finally been able to let go of. Fear can take center stage if you let it. Never let angst crush your dreams. Do what others say you can’t do, and you will never allow anyone or anything to derail your goals. Nor will you tolerate negative behavior or let anyone be around you who is thoughtless, demeaning, or rude. Finally, your past is your past. It is gone now, something that has already happened. Leave it behind where it belongs.

Fear can encompass many things in our lives. There are too many reasons we have doubt living inside of us. Perhaps, it will cost too much money to relocate or start a business. Maybe we fear what others might think. We have concerns about doing what we want because we risk losing special people in our lives. We feel guilt about uprooting ourselves from whatever is causing us stress and being free to decide solely on our own needs. We allow others to manipulate us without reason. We are our masters, and no one else is in control. Once we can truly grasp this, then we can sour into a new and delightful world that allows others to join in if they want to. Remember, fear is just a feeling; it is not a fact.

Villa Migelita Ecolodge is an opportunity that I didn’t fully appreciate, yet now I do. Nature is healing. I have lived in Colombia for many years, never realizing nor appreciating what I have accomplished! Again, because of those dreaded and worrisome thoughts that can plague me. I became an entrepreneur and didn’t understand what I did until recently. I have survived so much; still, I am a business in another country now thriving again. Suddenly, I trust the magic that I live in and feel secure to start something new. This realization came from a slow and steady return to normal after the horrible past year when the world shut down. I didn’t appreciate returning to life as before because I allowed the year of the pandemic to influence my thinking. I invited a friend to visit when I had started to become busy again. She took advantage of me. She used me. She also used my son, and she used my employee. I lost a friend but gained my confidence back along with a determination to succeed more than I already had. I asked her to leave, and I took a much-needed vacation with my son. I enjoyed the holiday and discovered ideas for improving my hotel!

My business has evolved. It is now less of me planning everything for my guests and more of my guests coming to experience the beauty of my nature retreat. Glamping has become a worldwide pastime. I am in the process of beginning this new phase at my Ecolodge. I am going to build a tiny house of glass overlooking the Valle del Cauca. Hopefully, this endeavor will lead to more tiny glamping houses—a new beginning at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I spent many years camping in the summers with my children now my experiences will become part of my plans to improve my business. Never assume that life will continue to be the same way. Life changes every second. We are in control of every moment of our lives. When I started thinking about the tiny house, I would look at pictures on the internet. Slowly, I put a plan in place. I did it all by myself, just like I opened a hotel, and now it will happen.

My joy is that my son living in Colombia since 2019, is learning Spanish and a new culture. He doesn’t have the life of an American here; he has the life of a Colombian. There is no immediate gratification of fast food or a supermarket with everything he might need across the street. We cook at home and use the garden. He knows the difference between cilantro and parsley. He picks lettuce for salads; he refills the bird feeding stations. He enjoys the tame hummingbirds that we hand feed. He is learning the tourist business, the art of being friendly with the guests, and the satisfaction of making friends worldwide. He observes and knows with the eye of a young person. We have many guests from different walks of life, and all have a love of nature in common. When I envision my business in ten years, my son is front and center. He will carry on with what I have started.

My son rescued a Western Emerald hummingbird in August, and it stayed to live at the Villa. Often, it follows me into the living room when the feeders are empty. This tiny hummingbird has become part of the experience of Villa Migelita Ecolodge. He is always the first to drink from a hand feeder, and he delights everyone. I have yet to give him a name. I would love suggestions in the comments below! He is one of the many miracles that have occurred in the years following my daughter’s death. I have found that these phenomenons move me away from uncertainty, gradually and consistently. Grief can be devasting at first, but it can also be a healthy way to move forward and live well. I acknowledge that grief is part of me, a healthy part that reminds me to live each day to the fullest. I live what I love.

Posted in Achievements, Birders, mountains, nature, Perfection and Peace, strength, Stress free environment, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

The Woman Behind my Strength

The Covid Pandemic has changed everything for those of us in the tourism industry. There have been many times in my life filled with crises; I don’t know how I withstood them, except with a strength of spirit I developed over a lifetime. After the tragedy of my daughter’s death, I found myself living in Colombia. I know my mother would have supported me with this life-changing event if she were alive because she is the woman behind my strength. As the world opens up again, I wish her guidance as I contemplate what will happen next on my journey in another country. When I first arrived in Colombia in 2011, it was still considered a dangerous country for only the most ardent adventure travel enthusiasts. Now, this tiny country has overcome its unsavory past and developed into an adventure travel destination for people worldwide. But as Colombia has opened up, the tourists haven’t followed as they did before the coronavirus. Will nature travel be the next big thing? 

As I live my life, my mother is always hovering nearby in my memories. My love of animals and nature is an intrinsic part of my being because she loved both. My brother and I were surrounded by animals as we grew up. Mom also loved the beauty of our world. I went on a class trip to Paris, France, when I was in elementary school. My family was not wealthy, but my mother found the money for me to take a class trip on an airplane to another country. She was instrumental in my applying for and landing my career-defining job as a flight attendant. Her ashes are here with me in Colombia. They rest beside my daughter under the most beautiful lilies that often bloom as butterflies flutter nearby. When I visit their beautiful garden, I like to imagine being embraced by them. 

When the Coronavirus quarantine began last year, I was content. So many times in my life, my mother shared with me the greatness of solitude. I can still picture my mother sitting quietly in a chair, immersed in prayer meditation. Isn’t it ironic how we repeat what we learn from our parents? My times for deep thought are often, usually while practicing Yoga. Now my thoughts are looking for an answer to a gnawing question. What is in the future for all of us struggling to regain our businesses in the tourism industry? It is hard living in this new reality. Changes happen daily and without warning. I felt we were getting ahead of this awful virus, but now I am not so sure. As I look outside at my bird feeding gardens or all the hummingbird feeders, I know there is peace in my world. Perhaps, nature will be the answer as people find traveling to remote places with wide-open spaces are the safest places to visit.

 My Ecolodge is healing for everyone, no matter your problems, because nature can restore anyone to a place of peace. Staying in my mountain retreat during the initial Coronavirus quarantine was never hard to do. After working so many years with the public, time alone is easy. Now that the world is slowly returning to a new normal, I realize that I had a different perspective than others on this life-changing virus. I have never felt the need to seek more than what I have right here in my beautiful mountain retreat. Life was a bit isolated, but again, I didn’t care. I felt grateful that I lived in a place of ever-changing moments. These Andes Mountains I am surrounded by and the nature that lives within them kept me centered during the last year. 

Now I am welcoming guests to visit Villa Migelita Ecolodge once again. They seek the allure of outdoor activities in the purely natural air of the mountains. Nothing is more soothing to the soul than time spent immersed in nature. The latest trend in this year 2021 is Nature, Wellness, and giving back, as referenced in this Forbes Article. Tourists can feel safe from the pandemic in vacation destinations that are outdoor-oriented. My Ecolodge is entirely open air. Wide-open spaces with space to breathe are a luxury that is affordable and calming.

I am meeting many young Millennial’s seeking distance from the hectic city life encountered worldwide. They love to sit outside to look at the views or hand-feed the hummingbirds. They wander in my gardens to observe the Neo-tropical birds, sometimes with a book in hand. Our souls need time in nature. Our bodies release stress when we hear sounds that only the mountains and animals within can deliver. Listening to the harmony surrounding them, they find a balance between their work life and their home life. Peace, don’t we all want to feel it again? I am still unsure when we will have what we had before the virus struck the world with such ferocity. Anyone can tune out the rest of the world for a little while as long as they breathe in the fresh air, free of noise pollution and environmental pollution. 

 Songs of birds harmonizing outside my bedroom window in the morning will always be on the playlist of my mind. These songs hold everything essential to my well-being. I believe they can give others what I have obtained in my peaceful place of harmony with nature.

Posted in Achievements, Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, coronavirus, Covid-19, Entreprenuer, exercise, expat life, freedom, friendship, Live your best life, Uncategorized

Reflections on Growing Older

Reflecting on the years past happen a lot lately. The months spent in the Villa as Covid ravaged the world brought to the forefront a lot of thoughts about my age. I found myself remembering times in my life that shaped me and the future I made for myself. So much whirled around in my head as life seemed to be running like a freight train speeding towards some final destination of which I could only guess. Years pass by quickly as we get older, and not so much when we are young. When my dog Marley started declining this past year, I felt the pressure of time take root in my mind. He passed away in December and took many years with him. He had been a constant companion through a lot of upheavals.

I am the same age that I thought was old when my parents were alive. I could always call them for anything I needed; advice, money, babysitting, to hear them tell me they were proud of me and my independence. How is it that I now am the one giving advice? How is it that I see so many of my daughter’s friends with families, buying homes, advancing in their jobs, doing what I did at the same age? It became clear to me during the year 2020 that I was now accelerating in a different direction, towards old age. My granddaughter grew into a teenager; while my son was learning to speak Spanish and help me with my hotel. My years on Earth are no longer passing without hurry but like a parachute falling from the sky.

How is it possible I have lived in Colombia for ten years? I look at photos of when I first arrived in this lovely country, and I see glimpses of the changing years in my appearance. I am no longer a skinny redhead filled with the need to appear more youthful than I am. I am similar to a bird in flight, searching for what will be my next landing place. I have learned to navigate my business, my life, and my thoughts without so much emotion. I don’t hold grudges; I eliminate anyone less than worthy of my time. I have concluded it is nice to be independent and fully capable of a good life which I direct completely. I land like a bird in different spots depending on the day and my needs. It is part of living life with a degree of flexibility. We all need to be flexible during this unusual time of the Pandemic. We also need to be patient. I still try to accomplish being patient, which is a struggle I acknowledge about myself.

Yielding to life’s changes doesn’t make me weak. I can differentiate between what is necessary and what is not. I find my day is not complete without coffee and photography in the early morning while enjoying my birds at the feeders. If I have plans, I give myself enough time to enjoy this part of my day. I have found that a sudden thunderstorm here in the Andes Mountains of Colombia is exciting. I know I have to expect lightning striking nearby, and sometimes so much rain I have to use a squeegee to remove water off the balconies. Sometimes, I need to push my Dogo Argentino, Cash off of me too! He is a big baby when he hears lightning and thunder. I need to exercise almost every day. I am feeling the pains of my youth and the dancing and exercise I subjected my body to. Yoga helps me, especially for maintaining a calm demeanor throughout the day.

My mind thinks like my twenty-something self. I might have more years, but I am still youthful in my thinking. I have many younger friends, and I appreciate what they bring to my life. They have given me the ability to see what an extraordinary life I have designed for myself. They deliver laughs; while giving me a lot of great ideas! I improve my business as they offer me new suggestions, including event planning at my beautiful Villa. I have to continue to grow into this uncertain future during the time of the Covid-19. Life might have changed throughout the past year, but I have adapted.

Finally, I continue to improve my Spanish language skills. I am living in Colombia, my first language of English is not my first language here. I have read learning a new language can keep the mind fresh. I think in Spanish as much as I use my native English now. I continue to grow as a person as much as I continue to march onward in years. I don’t want to be that older woman who longs for the “old days.” What fun would that be? I want to be part of the future of this evolving world. I believe that means that I must adapt, grow, and enjoy life as it is now in 2021. I will continue to refuse a stereotypical role of what some deem correct for a woman my age. I will accept growing older as part of the elegance I have strived to achieve my entire adult life. As I have always said, “I want to look and be the best I can be, no matter my age.”

Posted in Achievements, Colombia, Covid-19, happiness, hotel, letting go, life lessons, Live your best life, minimalism, Patience, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized

Gratitude in the Year 2020

This year has been challenging for many of us. I believe that we grow stronger when we can focus on the positive and let go of the negative. I created a personal space for myself during the difficult months of 2020 and focused on all that I appreciated in the life I have. I started writing little notes when I would come upon myself smiling, laughing, or feeling contentment. I was able to recognize I had so much in my life. 

Uncertainty is stressful. I decided to let it go. I am living a life I designed for myself. Once I started writing down my thoughts each day, I was able to determine that my life wasn’t much different during the Pandemic rules than it was before the Covid-19. I have always been a very disciplined person. Lockdown did not make me less so. I still got up in the morning and started my day just like I have always done. It was comforting to know that I had a purpose each day. I have never been much for crowds, so when I would leave my Villa to do my errands, I was always in a hurry to be home again. This didn’t change during the coronavirus restrictions. I felt relief when I didn’t have a lot of pressure to accomplish too much. I had one day a week to get my basic needs. Enjoying six days at Villa Migelita Ecolodge was not a hardship. My beautiful hotel became a place of pleasure I alone could enjoy without the responsibilities that came with the bookings. Sure I missed my guests, but I found comfort with the artistry of nature surrounding me.

Nature fills us with blessings. I became enthralled with the noises and calls that awoke me in the mornings. The Chachalaca birds started waiting for me to put bananas out at the feeding stations. The hummingbirds became my friends. Cleaning their feeders was always part of my daily routine, but it was part of the job when I had my guests here. They are an attraction to many who visit. Alas, now they were just mine to enjoy. I discovered much about how they had accepted me when I alone was enjoying them. They hate when I clean the feeders. They buzz me and are waiting when I refill and hang them again. My parrot Luci revealed so much about herself as she grew into adulthood. I wrote a blog about my decision to give her freedom. She has rewarded me with visits. I watched as the fish in my natural pool grew huge. They love any leftover organics from cooking. I never knew this. They are fat and happy and await the scraps to be thrown to them all day long. My ducks are tame and always following me when I sit by the lake. I had to cut down a large tree because of construction. I used the trunk to make a small Gnome village that feeds the neotropical birds, and children can play in when the guests return. The beauty of nature is resplendent. It gives so much back to us humans.

Animals give us unconditional love. Appreciating them and their company was essential during this unwarranted time in history. I was able to shower my undivided attention on my animals. They gave back their love. It was a love-fest!

Relaxation is essential to our well-being. I realized I could do what I wanted on any given day during the lock-down: “Netflix today, beautiful light for photography, writing a blog, cook a new recipe, clean my curtains, organize my office space, take a nap, have a glass of wine, do Yoga, listen to classical music, appreciate the sunsets, the rainstorms, acknowledging the views surrounding Villa Migelita Ecolodge” my brain was never idle. I felt complete many nights when I drifted off to sleep.

I spent less money. I found out that as a minimalist I had room to learn. I didn’t need as much as I had. I have eliminated some unnecessary costs from my life. I used the money I saved to give back to the community through charity. A friend collected money, farm products not used, and distributed to the poor. 

I savored my peace. I missed my choices from before Covid. However, I relished my alone time. I found out I was just fine being with my own company. 

My hair grew long, and it wasn’t grey! I now have a healthy head of hair that doesn’t require much upkeep. I don’t need a lot of beauty rituals. I did gain some weight, but I have lost most of it. I like the way I look. I acknowledge my looks. There is no need to go to any extreme to keep current on trends in beauty. I am timeless. 

I became close with my son. He had arrived right before Colombia shut down. We were in this together. We grew closer. He learned the bird calls, the names of hummingbirds, to help me clean the hotel, to speak Spanish, to enjoy his own space, to train his puppy Cash, to help me with our aging dog Marley, to enjoy rainy days and sunny days, to look at a full moon, to watch the sunsets with me, and to help me with little things. He is a good son. I lost my daughter , but we were able to share memories of her. There are no words for what we both have discovered.

Health is all we have. I am so grateful to live during this unprecedented time in the country of Colombia. I live in the fresh air, an open home filled with breezes, and no other people surrounding me. My neighbors are near but not too near. We have a beautiful community. We appreciate that we live with a certain amount of freedom from the Pandemic. We still wear masks when we chat over the fence while maintaining social distance. We have our health. I will continue to live a life isolated from crowds until the virus is gone. I can do this. The vaccination should bring the world back to normal in the next year. I have the patience to wait. I will follow the guidelines to keep my health intact. 

I suggest to everyone to take a moment and write a list of gratitude. It will bring the best of your world to you. I know we all have bad days, or weeks, maybe months. Take a moment to inhale all that is good. I promise it will bring a smile to your face. Smiles are as good as money, so is joy.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year filled with new beginnings!-

Posted in animal death, Devastating sadness, family, Grief, happiness, life lessons, Live your best life, Uncategorized

Senior Animals Show Us How to Live Our Best Life.

I have been procrastinating during the past few months. I have all the words I want to say inside of me, yet I can’t bring myself to write them down. I have watched my dog Marley decline. He has arthritis of the hips. He will no longer climb the stairs to the third floor at Villa Migelita Ecolodge because he cannot get down those same stairs. I help him down the small stairs that reach the patio area where I feed all of the animals. I worry how he will continue to walk down any of the stairs at the Villa in the upcoming months as he grows older. As Marley continues to age it brings to mind taking care of my mother when she lived with me years ago. Animals are not so different even though they don’t get to live a long life. How I wish they could.

Marley smiling

Cats are like the comfy blanket we use when we are feeling down. They are always nearby in a spot they have picked out to be the favorite place for a while. They have their habits as we adapt to their idiosyncrasies. Dogs are the smiling faces that wag their tails when they see us. They anxiously await us when we leave the house. Cats not so much as they are such independent creatures. They show their love without a lot of fuss. Cats are insistent and determined in their show of affection. Often in the middle of the night when they decide to climb up on your body or rub a whisker on your face to startle you awake.

All animals age differently. My dog Marley doesn’t look old. He has few grey hairs, but the giveaway is arthritis in his hips. Marley walks with a hesitant gate. He is a bit crooked in his form. When sleeping, the mouth opens in a creepy grin. I often check to see if he is still breathing. Franchesca, my old tortoiseshell cat, could be found sleeping next to Marley on most days. They were friends for many years and came with me to Colombia from the United States. Franchesca passed away suddenly on Thursday. In this video, she looks healthy and very content. I don’t know what happened to Franchesca. Wednesday evening, she was with me in the kitchen talking to me. She always would meow, and I would answer with a meow. She was often in the living room relaxing when she wasn’t outside on a patio taking in the sun. When she didn’t come to the food dish on Thursday morning, I started calling for her. I found her under the small steps that lead to the first-floor patio. She looked asleep, but I knew she wasn’t. I reached in to pick her up, thinking she might be sick. She was dead. I won’t go into the details, but I broke down. She was intact without marks. She didn’t ever wander far as she had her favorite places. Usually, she was with me in the morning when I wake up. Thursday morning, she wasn’t at the end of my bed. I had my gardener bury her with a beautiful plant to mark her grave. Maybe Franchesca had an underlying condition that I was unaware of. Franchesca had a long and rewarding life with me. She was special because my deceased daughter gave her to me as a gift. Franchesca mellowed in her last years. I often would tell my guests she won’t let you pick her up or pet her and, Franchesca always proved me wrong. She was content, living her best life on my farm. I don’t think Franchesca suffered, at least I want to feel that. I want to imagine she closed her eyes and fell into an eternal sleep.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I arrived in Colombia with five animals nine years ago. I have only Marley left with me now. Each morning I see Marley smiling at me is another reminder to live my best life. Marley has no worries as he is forever happy. I want to be this way. I want to let go of the burdens I have placed on my heart. I want to feel content in every moment as our senior animals do. They have pain we don’t know about because they never complain. They enjoy each day as if they will live forever. They never appear to worry about their futures. They exist for our pleasure. We exist to receive their love, hope for a great many years together. I can only hope that Marley passes peacefully in his sleep, as I imagine Franchesca did. In the meantime, I am going to appreciate the gift Marley has given me with his beautiful spirit. I am going to grieve my Franchesca as the loss of a family member. I am going to wake up every morning with positivity and a smile. I think my animals have taught me to cherish what I have at this moment.

R.I.P. Franchesca
Posted in coronavirus, doctors, etiquette, freedom, guidelines, life lessons, Patience, rules, science, Uncategorized

Etiquette in the Time of Coronavirus.

 

Waking up in the morning to the sounds of the birds calling at dawn is my favorite alarm. Sometimes it is not even light yet as I hear the parrots overhead calling like a choir singing. I open my eyes and forget that the world is forever changed momentarily. I listen and stretch, and then it enters my mind. Another day of the same routine, except it is getting more stringent again in Colombia because our cases are surging. We have a holiday weekend in Colombia however we are all closed inside. No one can drive anywhere, especially into the mountains where people come to relax from city life to their country homes. Liquor is unavailable as parties are part of the reason for this new surge. It now appears that in Colombia that for so long was holding off the coronavirus is now falling victim to increased cases daily. People here are not following the rules set forth by the government while the virus thrives because of this.

My time is doing much as I did before this pandemic struck so suddenly. I don’t mind being in my Villa with my animals, nature, and the beautiful weather that is year-round here in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. However, I realize that it is a lifestyle I choose because I was surrounded for so many years by people packed inside an airplane, and I love my life of simplicity. I find myself busier than ever because I have to keep this hotel organized and clean. I am no longer hosting guests, who can know if I will in the foreseeable future, and I don’t have the help I once had. I get a day out for essentials, but I don’t enjoy myself because I am worried about contracting the virus. I wear the mask, carry the hand sanitizer, stay distant from others, and I hurry through my errands to get back to my place of peace in the mountains.

As we increase in cases here in Colombia, I am noticing parallels to the United States of non-compliance about such simple things we can all do to alleviate the spread of Covid-19. Wearing a mask is a must. It is proven to keep us safer and possibly eliminating the risk of contracting the virus altogether. In Colombia, we have rules to follow if a business is allowed to be open. As of now, hotels are not available, and flights are not operating due to the pandemic. Restaurants can deliver, or we can pick up food, but no one can enter an establishment. To shop, we have to show our country ID to the guard at the entrance, have our temperature checked, a photo of our ID, hand-sanitizer, and walk on mats to clean our shoes. These stringent measures were working until the parties started on the weekends, and the bicyclists started not wearing masks while exercising. Selfishness, impatience to return to our old lifestyle, and non-compliance are causing others to die.

Etiquette is having the decency to respect the lives of others. Every single day I see on my various social sites that someone I know has become infected. Some of these people would post pictures of themselves without masks, with others having fun without social distancing, and being deliberately defiant to the guidelines that are proven by scientists and doctors to correspond with mitigating the virus. Those of you who support these dangerous conspiracy theories are the reason the cases are surging. Do you want the world economy to crash? There are simple directives for us all to follow. I cannot understand anyone who deliberately risks their own life as well as the lives of others for any reason. The virus is apolitical. It doesn’t care who you vote for, what your lot in life is, whether you believe in these stupid conspiracy theories, and will strike without a thought if you surround yourself with someone who is a carrier. Remember, there is no way of knowing if someone has the virus until it is too late, then you have it.

Young people are particularly affected by these new guidelines that keep them so confined. My son is here with me in Colombia. He just told me that he is beginning to understand the true meaning of patience. He has been stuck in my Villa for over three months without leaving. I can’t bring him with me on errands as Colombian rules specify one person per nuclear family is allowed out on our designated days. He is learning Spanish, he is playing with his dog Cash, and the other dogs. He has learned the names of many hummingbirds and Neotropical birds, and chats with my neighbors from across the fence. I explained to him three months is not a long time. It feels that way to us right now. We all have issues with the continuous monotony of our daily lives during the pandemic. I miss making appointments that are needed to have my teeth cleaned, or to see a doctor because I have a pain in my shoulder. I can get an order for an x-ray without a problem by phone. However, I prefer to wait until it is less risky. I can get my teeth cleaned, but this can wait until the virus is gone. We need to have a mindset of compliance for the better good of our society, for the world economy, for future generations.

So I ask all of you who follow my blog to follow the guidelines put forth by the experts, the doctors, the scientists, they know what they are saying is the only thing that can bring back our world from the brink of disaster. We have been in lockdown in Colombia since March. If we look at this amount of days compared with our entire existence, it is not that much time. Toleration is tantamount to getting back to what we once knew. I implore everyone to turn off those sketchy conspiracy theories in your mind, to listen to the experts, to contribute to getting our world back to a place we can live comfortably, and interact with others again. We might not have our old lives back in the same way we once did, but we can certainly obtain a good existence that will guarantee our children and grandchildren will have a future.

If you haven’t signed up for my blog you can click on follow in the sidebar and add your email. My last blog was about letting my sweet parrot Luci have her freedom. We all desire freedom, nature shows us patience. Luci returns almost every day to say hello, and little by little she brings more parrots with her. She has found her flock but still remembers the love and care I gave her. Let’s give each other love and care during a difficult time in all of our lives. Some of us more than others are suffering disproportionally. Let us show empathy, let us show concern by honoring those we care about. Even if it means sacrificing some of your freedoms.

 

Posted in animal rights, Awakening, Birders, chaos, Colombia, Colombian life, coronavirus, country living, freedom, happiness, letting go, life lessons, Live your best life, mother nature, nature, Patience, save our planet, Signs of the Universe, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Luci is Free to Fly.

What does freedom mean?

The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

Luci was free, but I cut her wings. I have had her since she was 3 months old, she had turned 6 years old this past April. I  had noticed Luci was finding spots in the ground to try to lay eggs, which Luci could not produce. She was restless, she was damaging anything that she could, my outdoor bathroom doorframe, the cement on the wall surrounding the frame, and then she went up inside my new washing machine and chewed up cables. There went that warranty! I decided to let her wings grow. This is the last video I have of her enjoying a rain shower. You can see her wings which are almost fully grown. She had a boyfriend who came to visit almost every single day and called to her. She called back, but she couldn’t go to him. I decided she needed to be with him. I worried that she would not know how to eat in the wild. I hoped if her wings grew in and she flew off she would find her happiness and her novio could teach her what to eat in the wild. I struggled with my decision as I loved Luci like I love all of my animals, and I know she loved me back.

Hike with Beeja, Luci on tree perch 018
When Luci was a juvenile and had all of her colors

Luci started to fly recently. She flew low so I worried about my decision. We would find her almost every single day in a weird spot. She would call out for me which I would follow, find her, and bring her back to her perching area. She would enter her cage, which is always open to sleep for the night. This past Wednesday, she called for me, and I couldn’t find her. I looked everywhere. She called but with all the beautiful plants she blends in. She slept outside for the night.

Thursday morning I listened for her. I was hoping she was still at my Villa. She didn’t disappoint and called. I couldn’t find her. She was further away, her sound was distant. I knew she was higher in a tree. When the workers who are installing a new fence at Villa Migelita Ecolodge arrived I asked them to listen for Luci. She called again and one of them found her high up in a fruit tree. They ran to get the ladder, but alas Luci is smart and knew she would no longer have freedom. She flew off and down. I watched as she entered my neighbor’s yard. She would never be found now. We looked and we called her. She didn’t answer. It was around 8:30 am and I hear her boyfriend in the same tree he is always in. I talked to him and said Luci was gone. I was in tears, to be honest. I know I had prepared myself, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye like this. He squawked and squawked. Then I heard a squawk from far away in the corner of my property. It was Luci answering! He flew away immediately.

In my wildest dreams, I felt he was going to meet up with her. I wanted to believe this. I went to sleep that night telling myself this happened. I awoke and told my gardener when he arrived about what had happened. Everyone told me she would be fine, the companion will teach her to eat and we have plenty of food in Colombia for parrots. I was so sad all day, I went to rest and I hear her calling. “Luci is back my inner voice said to me!” She was and she was high in a tree on my other neighbor’s property. I called for her and she just watched. She remained in the tree. My heart was full because I realized she could fly high up and she was alive. Then yesterday my son called me, she was in the same tree with her sweetheart. She had called to show us that she is around and happy.

This morning I was up early feeding the dogs and I heard her. She was calling again, and I see her land right next to my property line with her companion. They were grooming each other. I walked over and I stood directly under the tree. They both looked down at me as Luci did a little twirl. I called her name and she cocked her head. I said I was happy she is free. I stood there and watched for around 2 minutes and then they flew away together.

To be free is something that we humans are missing right now. We are confined, we are given rules we don’t like, we are not sure about what the future will bring. Nature can give all of us a perspective on this. Luci certainly has taught me an important lesson. Sometimes, patience is necessary in life to achieve our goals. Luci communicated to me her needs, I listened. One day she may bring her babies back to Villa Migelita. I do know she loves me as she keeps showing up to see me. It might end, she could migrate, but I will know she has found her happiness.

I wish all of my followers happiness and peace during this turbulent time in the world. We need to find our peace, within ourselves, during such an undetermined world of complete and utter chaos. Nature can show this to us. The animal kingdom is so patient. They are wise and communicate their needs without being so utterly selfish. They are compliant and wait for what they want. I am missing my Luci. My heart aches when I see her cage which I am leaving open in case she wants to come back. I know in my heart she has found her peace. I wish that to all of you who follow my blog. Find your peace and live your peace.