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Colombia! Everything is Colorful.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “From Every Angle.”

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Choices, Chances, Changes. I Did It. You Can Too.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take a Chance on Me.”

The 3 C’s of life: choices, chances and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. Unknown~

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This is me on a hike in La Buitrera, Colombia on my 57th birthday. The mountains were my solace when I first arrived in Colombia. The views were my happiness. I felt a peace I had not known in a long time.

The first time I read this quote I remember thinking that I was a living example of these words. I had made a choice, to take a chance and move to a new country, and change what was wrong with my life situation. It was a very sudden choice that I didn’t really contemplate like you would think I should, and it has worked out well for me. I really didn’t think a lot about what it would entail. I am sure most people think I was crazy to move to a foreign country without knowing the language, nor the culture, but I did it. I am loving life here in Colombia 4 1/2 years later. It is a life many strive to achieve but never actually do what they need to do to get there. I think desperation drove me to a place that made taking chances not so alarming as they normally would be. I was sad, hurt, and misunderstood by many people.  Gossip and innuendo followed me and there came a point that I just wanted to escape the hell I was living in. So I picked up and moved after I visited beautiful Colombia.

It has been a journey. I have had incredibly wonderful moments, frustrating moments, and learning curves. I am a firm believer in living in the now. I am still struggling with Spanish. It is not so easy to learn a new language. I can comprehend most conversations now, I can watch a movie in Spanish and understand, but I still struggle daily with my verbal communication. Some days I can talk away like it is my second language, other days I struggle. I have always been a confident person, but speaking Spanish has made me timid. I realize it is a real feat to speak more than one language and I appreciate all who do. I also have learned to live simply. I am a minimalist. I do not have anything in my life I do not need. What a nice change that has become for me. I no longer shop unless I need something. My Villa is not cluttered. I no longer want a lot of clothes, jewelry, nor items to decorate that have no purpose. I just want simplicity in my life. I look to nature and my animals to find the love I used to seek while collecting a closet full of clothes, a jewelry box full of jewels, and a house full of the latest trends.  Nothing is trendy about my house. It is classic. I think of myself as classic too. I seek no-ones approval.

So now I continue on this incredible journey that happened so quickly with the opening of my Bed and Breakfast. It is a new exploration in entrepreneurship for me. I was always the employee and I am now the owner. I enjoy this odyssey I am on. I believe it will work out. However, I know life is one day at a time, there is never a guarantee. I struggle with that. I WANT a guarantee, but after I lost my daughter to tragedy I realize that this is just not possible. So I will keep on writing about my journey and hopefully when the reality of old age overtakes me I will have established a legacy that will show my commitment to an exploration of new beginnings.

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Sisterhood: Friendship and Fun in Colombia.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”

I just hosted two of my long time friends at my Villa in Colombia. We had not been together for over thirty years. The 1980’s were our prime, but we still feel young at heart, although many years have passed since those good old days of dancing and clubbing when we were young flight attendants. Our reunion was one that novels are written about, one where we recall all of our old adventures while living new ones. Our first day together was glorious. We spent the day in Buga, Colombia, hiking, swimming under a waterfall, enjoying a Colombian family dinner in an old hacienda, then visiting the famous church Basilica de los Milagros in one of the oldest cities in Colombia. This was a day of new memories, a day that made us feel young again, a day of delightful happiness with the sun shining and the beauty of Colombia surrounding us.

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A Shared Embrace
Michele taking a photo
Taking photos in the old hacienda

We started the night before when the three of us reunited at the airport. What a moment the three of us shared when we hugged. Tears were close as we talked over each other. Who would think our reunion would be at Villa Migelita, my Bed and Breakfast in Colombia, South America?  We awoke the next day to a beautiful sunny day as we embarked on a drive to Buga and the 150 year old hacienda that is a private residence with history. A place most tourists will never see. The waterfall and natural pool is on this property. We are given a tour of the home and then we are off for a short hike to swim under the cascade. We can smell the aroma of the food cooking as we leave. The dining table set for a meal of Vegetarian dishes, a special request honored by the lady of the house. The fun is just starting! We leave through the old doors that look out to beauty words cannot describe. You have to see it in person. It is exactly as it was many years ago…and we hear children in the family laughing as we start our hike. A sound that never changes no matter the century.

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Table is set with the Colombian flair
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The doors open to Paradise
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Pure happiness

The hike is short and not very strenuous. We pass sugarcane fields and little rivers. Butterflies are abundant, while they stop for a drink and flutter around us. We arrive and change into our swimwear right there by the natural pool. We laugh and laugh as we remember memories of our past times. We are delighted with ourselves and that we have actually reunited in Colombia of all places. My friend Janet has to coax me into the water. I am nervous as I have vertigo and everything is a challenge to me, she has to go in a few times to show me how I will enter and exit the water. I finally get in after I watch her go under the falls. I enter and am immediately refreshed. Life is good. Life is amazing. Life is what we make of it.

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That is me floating next to Elaine
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A Butterfly along the way

We spend a while relaxing and swimming and then it is time to venture back to the hacienda for lunch. More butterflies surround us. We have definitely worked up an appetite! We arrive back to this old home with only two bathrooms! We have to wait our turn to change into dry clothes. Part of the adventure! We sit down to an amazing meal! We share stories with everyone, and my dear friends experience a Colombian meal in a family situation. They talked about how they enjoyed this unique opportunity of sharing a meal with a Colombian family in their home. We left with a full stomach to venture into Buga and the church of the miracle Basilica de los Milagros.

This church is very special.  No matter your religion, or no religion it is a miracle that happened. I wrote of the miracle . I classify myself as spiritual. I believe this Jesus that is displayed behind the glass is the result of this miracle. I really do. It is like no other crucifix I have ever seen. It is a very sacred moment for anyone who stands before him. It is not important what you believe. It is a a moment to save for your memories. We leave quietly and with peace in our hearts. We wander the streets of Buga to shop and sight-see. We run into people I know and sit with them for a while. The day was perfect. It was a day made to remember for years to come. A day of friendship, laughter and fun.

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Buga the city
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Sitting with friends
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Cooking 101! I am Learning to Cook Again!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Obstacle Course.”

I have to admit I am not the best cook anymore. I have gotten lazy. That is what happens when you have a maid who does the cooking. To be honest, I am not a picky eater. I have said in past blogs that the main meal is served in Colombia between 12 and 2 pm. We eat a light dinner here. It is the exact opposite of what I knew for most of my life. I am fine with this schedule because I am my most hungry in the middle of the day. I love the food here, but I have forgotten my basic American cooking because it is very difficult to find the ingredients for the recipes I used when my children were growing up. So, I have become quite lackadaisical about cooking in general. But then I opened my Bed and Breakfast and food took on a whole new meaning. I want my guests to love the food that I serve and especially the Colombian food.

 

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People really like a lot of different options for food choices these days. I have discovered this through my Bed and Breakfast. Some eat anything tasty, some do not eat meat, some are Vegetarian and some are Vegan. I have to learn new ways of cooking. So I am. I have tried new things this entire week preparing for upcoming guests who are Vegetarian/Vegan. Cooking 101. Quite an obstacle for a gal who doesn’t get into cooking. Now I am learning. New recipes and new food experiences. I like it. I will be honest vegetarian food does not fill me up, so I am hungry in a couple of hours. However, the meals are delicious. I love the new dishes. I love being back in the kitchen. I am learning to cook again. That makes me happy.

Obstacles, they are always there in our lives. We need to overcome them. I have. I am still studying Spanish and I speak with everyone now: even those who can’t understand my accent. It has worked out because I practice. Now I need to learn to cook again. I will. I am doing the very best that I can because it is important for my guests to have the food they like to eat.. I like challenges. Cooking is a challenge that I am winning.