I have lived on my farm in Colombia, South America for over three years now, and what a learning experience it has been! When I first moved into Villa Migelita, I was not pleased with the way life on the farm was turning out. I had moved from a house in a small thriving city that I could walk down and get bread in the morning, or go to the pizza place at night. I had access to a store with fruits and vegetables, most anything I could need. I had neighbors and family nearby. My quest for the perfect farm was fun. We looked a lot; it was interesting and the farms were all beautiful, but they all had something that I did not like or not suitable for my needs. Then one day I saw Villa Migelita. I knew from the moment I set my eyes on my Villa she was the one I had searched for. She was old; close to 100 years on this earth. She was in need of lots of renovation, but her basic structure was so perfect it reminded me of Italian Villa’s that I had seen during my travels as a flight attendant. Then I took some photo’s and one photo had an orb in the picture and I knew this was my deceased daughter Misha telling me this was my farm, the one I had searched for; a clear sign from her. I made an offer and soon was the proud owner of Villa Migelita.
January of 2012 was the month I finally accomplished my life long dream of retiring in the mountains, a dream I have had since spending summers in Tennessee as my children grew up. Villa Migelita had basic renovations completed before my move. Her rooms were all painted; along with adding large windows throughout the house. All the views surrounding her were magnificent. She still needed much work, but living there would be fine; or so I thought. My first months were a learning experience. Colombia has two seasons; rainy and dry. There is no real seasonal change here in my department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia. I loved the temperature immediately upon moving in. Very chilly in the mornings and evenings; enough to always need a jacket, but then by the middle of the day comfortable without a jacket and no need of air conditioning. The doors and windows were always open with the fresh breeze flowing throughout my home. My animals were thrilled with the wide open spaces they had to wander the farm, and the dogs loved the walks they took with me while I discovered the mountains and rivers nearby. Sounds perfect; but then little things started happening that I was not so happy with. The rain would cause mud, mud would be all over the house, patio and my laundry area as my dogs would walk in it and carry mud wherever they went. One day I was down in the laundry area and there were little worms everywhere! I was horrified. My gas water heater did not work with the plumbing and would either let out scalding water or not work and the water would be ice-cold. The first week I threw a tantrum of sorts after not having a hot shower. I look back at that morning and laugh now. It was a simple fix of just buying electric shower heads. The construction was ongoing, and I knew things would get better, however I was neglecting to see the beauty around me and focusing on the annoyances. Going to get groceries or going to a restaurant seemed a far distance now. I thought to myself “Could I have misjudged my love of solitude and life in the mountains?” I started to dislike the rain, even though I have always loved rainy days. I started to feel lonely, even though I have always loved spending time without a lot of people around. I started to second guess myself. Along with that I had not been to the States for a very long time and I missed my friends and family. I booked a trip to the USA to get a taste of my old life.
Going to the States was exactly what I needed. I was not used to the big highways and hectic lifestyle of the United States,I realized this the minute I drove my rental car on I-95 from Miami International Airport. YIKES. My first big wake-up was getting used to the traffic I encountered. I had lived in Colombia for over a year and had gotten used to small towns, simple living and nature. I will admit the Colombian’s drive crazy, but the roads in the city are small and when I drive I go slow and take my time; if you do not drive slow you will hit a bicycle, horse-drawn carriage, wheelchair, pedestrian or someone pushing a cart with fruits or juice for sale! Another thing I noticed immediately was no one really looks you in the eye in Florida (and anywhere I travel when in the States), nor do they say hello when you walk into an office or store. In Colombia it is considered impolite to not acknowledge others when in offices or entering any building or business. This is a cultural difference between the two countries. I had forgotten that the people of the USA are more involved with their phones and electronic devices than connecting to the world by smiling and even just looking up from their phones. I had been just like this when I lived in Florida, my phone was always in my hand wherever I went. I have a little phone now in Colombia, it is a basic Nokia you all had in the 1990’s! I have a pre-paid phone without internet in the States. I had completely lost the habit of constantly being online, I had changed from my old ways to a new way of thinking and living. I did enjoy running to the drug store, or going to the super stores of all kinds. We do have some huge stores in Cali, Colombia along with malls and huge construction stores in both Palmira and Cali, however it is never a short drive to them like it is in the States. I found the shopping fun while I was back in Florida, but again it was so impersonal. The crowds inside all the stores would make me feel anxious. This was new to me; almost like I had never lived and grown up in South Florida. How did I change so quickly and forget the way I used to live? Colombia was my way of life now and by returning to South Florida I was able to see this clearly.
When I came home to Villa Migelita, my animals were all awaiting me with such love. I saw that some changes had taken place with a fence being constructed around the patio to help keep the mud at bay when it rained. The garbage from all the continuing construction had been burned and taken away. The little worms that had appeared never came back. The laundry room had been organized and cleaned up perfectly, and it was huge. I now had a perfect place to feed the animals and keep cleaning supplies. I will admit that I missed a dryer when I first moved up to the mountains. In the small town where I had rented before moving, the house had a laundry area inside and the clothes dried quickly on the line. During rainy season it can take a couple of days for clothes to dry on the line. I got used to it, and now I would never even consider owning a dryer. I like the way I can just take my clothes right from the line on a hanger and put them in my closet. I also realized I was a minimalist now. I have no need for a bunch of new clothes or the latest electronic device. I am so backward I have no idea how to work an I pad and am just now considering buying one. I know that sounds funny to everyone, but it is how I live. My trip to the States gave me a lesson I needed to see. I really loved the life I now was living in the mountains and I just could not see it when I first moved into a house that still needed a lot of work. When I came back I had a learned a valuable lesson; I was not whom I used to be, I was evolving and sometimes when we evolve we need a wake-up call to see just that!
So now I am almost done with the last phase of construction at Villa Migelita. Villa Migelita has been a work in progress for 2 plus years. I have become one with nature. I have made my outside farm beautiful by hiring a farm manager that keeps the flowers and plants in perfect condition. I have a huge front entrance gate that will have a sign welcoming my guests of my soon to open Bed and Breakfast. The entrance road to my house is lined with blooming flowers. I have hummingbird feeders everywhere. I have two beautiful kiosko’s that are perfect places to sit and read a book, while hummingbirds buzz by you. Hammocks are all around to take a little siesta. My lake was repaired and the landscaping is now full of plants I picked out and they are flourishing. I have acquired a menagerie of animals, and they all leave peacefully with each other. The mud problem is no longer an issue; but my dogs do have dirty feet sometimes and I don’t care. They are my loves; they are my friends. I have learned to let go of things that took me a lifetime to learn. I have learned to let go and let be. As I write this I look outside at the hummingbirds feeding and resting on the lemon tree. I have no desire to return to fancy clothes, jewelry and cars. I do not think there is anything wrong with that lifestyle, I lived it for years. I just like this lifestyle better. I have learned to love solitude. I have learned to love and appreciate seeing a butterfly land on my finger, or a hummingbird fly inside to visit me, which you can view here.
I have realized the longer I live here in the mountains of Colombia the closer I am to accomplishing my dream of a Bed and Breakfast. This dream was always in my thoughts when I first moved to Villa Migelita. I was always considering this dream in the back of my mind as I continued to update my home. Then one day I decided to go for it. After all I had been a flight attendant for years and I love people, getting to know new friends, and entertaining in my home. What better way to do that than to bring people to see what I have accomplished in a short period? To show others you can fulfill your secret desires even when faced with crippling pain like the death of my daughter. Now I am so close to opening, it will happen soon. I am ready. I have no more frustrations or second guessing. I have only optimism for my future. I have learned to love myself for the person I have become since the past sadness I have endured. I want to show others it is not necessary to let life’s worst circumstances take you down. My future is firmly embedded here in the mountains of Colombia. I will prevail. This is Villa Migelita now. This is the view from the 4th floor balcony which looks out over the valley.
Villa Migelita is a two short months from completion. My website is http://www.villamigelita.com with all the information in the tabs. I will have more pictures soon, but you can always look at my Facebook page Villa Migelita for continuing updates on the progress of the Bed and Breakfast and more of fun videos of my life and my animals in the mountains of Colombia.