Posted in Uncategorized

Being Alone vs Loneliness

When I moved to Colombia I was in a place of need. I needed rejuvenation of my spirit. I needed to get away from some awful lies and innuendos that were circulated by people I knew and loved. I can…

Source: Being Alone vs Loneliness

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Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, nature, Perfection and Peace

Being Alone vs Loneliness

When I moved to Colombia I was in a place of need. I needed rejuvenation of my spirit. I needed to get away from some awful lies and innuendos that were circulated by people I knew and loved. I can never say enough about how gossip can really hurt a person, especially when the true story is not known nor shared by the one who (me) was being trashed regularly. I really cared what people thought back then. I was always trying to defend myself. I wanted the truth to be known. Guess what? No one really cares. They love a good story, especially if it makes them feel better about themselves.

Do you know what makes a difference? Your own actions. They show people who you are not what they gossiped about. Your actions show the truth. Of course when someone is at the bottom like I was, you can only go upwards, which I have. However, there are still the haters. They are miserable in their own lives and want others to be the same. To them I say this: I wish them the best that they can find in their lives, I wish for them to find what I have found out. Life is about being a leader not a follower, life is about choosing your own path without worry about what other’s might say, life is only good for you if you are healthy in your mind and your spirit. My mantra is “don’t complain about what is past, make the most of what is now” I do believe I am doing this. I am living a life of purposeful meaning.

Now, I know many still condemn me for leaving my son at the age of 16 to  move to Colombia. I want to address that because if I was a man, then I wouldn’t be chastised for this decision. A big part of my life after my daughter’s death were the selections I made based on my situation at the time. I left because I could not win. I couldn’t then and maybe not even now. Life is to be enjoyed not endured. I want to emphasize this sentence because I was enduring my life during my divorce and the death of my daughter. I was enduring my life! I repeat this for those who are doing the same. Enduring your life is not living your life. You must be a bit selfish to come out ahead with any sort of growth. You must embrace yourself to embrace others. You must show who you are to the world. If we fill our lives with our real passions and purpose, and spend less time looking for approval then we can get further along a path of self-awareness.

Some nights you may lie awake thinking about the past, I do this often. It is sad for me to remember my sweet children when they were young and my marriage was happy. Then life happens. It just happens. You can’t control it. Even when you try so hard. But I have found regret leads you nowhere. It leads you to loneliness. It leads you to stairs that can never be climbed.

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The stairs of your future are in front of you

Those stairs of regret lead you to more regret and then you are overwhelmed with what your life could have been, should have been. But who is to say what life will be? I would never in 100 million years think I would end up in a country that had such a bad reputation. A country I can relate to. A country that has redeemed itself. As have I. So maybe my path of being alone, which equaled loneliness now shows me that being alone is not such a bad thing when you come out ahead.

I am alone without a life partner, but I am not lonely. I have had two marriages and one really amazing love affair, along with a journey to Colombia with a love who is now a friend. I have known true love with all, including my children. But the most important love is to find yourself and to love yourself. To give 100% to yourself. I have done that in these past years. I have meditated and thought about so many things. One is moving to Colombia. I still pinch myself when I wake up and see the beauty I am surrounded by.

 

Posted in animal rights, chaos, friendship, Uncategorized

My Expectations Were Low

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/expectation/

Watch this video from Keith Olbermann it is powerful,well said and without undo partisanship. It is not important if you are a Republican or a Democrat, you need to watch this video if you own a pet, if you care for animals. Here is another link to what is happening to the USDA and our animals under the Trump administration. This administration is making it impossible to find out if abuse occurs in puppy mills, in laboratories, if the food you buy is safe for your pet. If you make a complaint no one will know. If you want to investigate about a breeder you won’t be able to find information.I don’t care what your political affiliation is, if you own an animal this should be a concern to you!

Before the election I did mention several times on my Facebook page  that Trump’s sons hunt wild game for trophies. I made no secret of my disdain for these offspring of Trump. It is obvious to me they were raised without compassion for living things. That is an elephant tail in the hand of Donald Jr. He is a monster to have cut off a tail of such a gentle beast and is holding it in his hand like he is so proud to have done such a deviant act.

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What causes people to become so cruel, so aberrant? I started researching this and there is very little about why these people do this. There is a correlation to children hurting animals and violence in adulthood. Also it is known that people who trophy kill have a lack of empathy, and disregard the needs of others in their lives. They also feel a need for control and find it by killing wild beasts they have no intention of eating. Narcissism is a prevalent trait in these people such as Trump’s sons. I can certainly see where they get the narcissism from.

So perhaps this is why Trump is eliminating the need to protect animals in the USA. He has no compassion for them as he doesn’t own a pet and from what I have researched never has owned one. Trump is eliminating a lot our safety nets for the environment, water, pollution, and more. These are all of great concern to me. It comes down to money that lines the pockets of corporations. They will make more money if they don’t have to apply safety for the well-being of the animals or us the people. Because the environment is our future and our children and grandchildren’s future. Animals deserve safety nets too. Every animal has two eyes, two ears, one nose, and one mouth, we all share this. We are all equal under the law of the Universe.

During the election season my expectations were low about Trump winning. I just couldn’t believe anyone would vote for a man who was caught on tape saying what he did about women, or how he mocked a disabled person, the extreme lying that was shown on past tapes of him saying exactly the opposite of what he would be saying a month later. The hate I witnessed at his rallies also shown on filmed footage. I believed in the humanity of our nation. Now, not so much. I am sure many of us have lost friends on both sides of the aisle because of this election, but I didn’t until recently when I spoke up about Trump’s latest surprise with the USDA.

I had a friend whom I have supported with much love who owns an animal rescue and sanctuary. During the election season he posted many rants, fake news and support of Trump. I never commented because he was my friend and I wanted to stay out of politics. I do live in Colombia and I am an expat, but I still vote. I just felt that I live in another country so I wanted to stay away from all the division and hateful rhetoric I was seeing in my Facebook news feed. I have a very peaceful existence and like I said earlier in this blog, my expectations for a Trump win were low to non-existent. When Trump won and all the news showed the Russians interfered, I was shocked. But not surprised. I don’t think Trump would be in the White House without this interference which I am not going to go into except to say I wish we could prosecute all who are treasonous and I do believe Trump is hiding his ties with Russia. I would love to have a do over.

So let me examine what happened with this long time friend. I kept seeing his rants about politics even after his candidate won. He would post something fake, and then he would be called out and he would take it down. He would then show his lovely animal sanctuary and his good work and it was so confusing to me. I couldn’t put the kind person I knew who loved animals with supporting a man who has sons who kill endangered animals. I did one time write one thing on a post about this and he said in response that the future of the world was more important. Now, think about that. A man who has an animal refuge ignores the brutal murder of defenseless animals. I didn’t respond and just let it go.

Then he posted a video the other day saying how lovely his sanctuary is and how much peace it brings to him. I am a passionate animal and nature lover. I just couldn’t help but post this video to his comments. I wasn’t sure if he had seen it nor knew what was happening to our animals that I though both of us were committed to. He wouldn’t even look at it and dismissed my post as political. Now, again I will say it is a bi-partisan issue as it concerns anyone who loves and owns animals. I said as much and that he should just look. He dismissed it as propaganda. The person who posted fake news for months dismissed this real news as propaganda. I called him out on hypocrisy. I lost his friendship in the process.

I hope by writing this everyone will think of their passions in life. If you own an animal rescue you should be concerned that the new President is harming animals. I don’t care who would be elected…I would not stand by this horrific loss of the safety nets for our innocent creatures. I would call it out and I would say it was wrong. But that is just me. I am a person of integrity and I thought he was too. Now I don’t. I am disappointed and  saddened. I doubt I can ever be friends with him again. I see him as a hypocrite and only caring about his world on his land with his animals.But hopefully he will read this and I have one question for him. “How will you keep saving animals if you are unaware of the fact they need saving because the one place that regulated their well-being is gone?”

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, Medellin, Colombia

I Will Always Recognize Achievment

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/recognize/

Medellin, Colombia is a city with a past. A dangerous past. A city of people with great pride, they call themselves Paisas.  Paisas feel they are different from the rest of the Colombians, because of their history that is intertwined  with Medellin. They have seen the worst and now they have seen the best. They have lived with the horror of Pablo Escobar,  the FARC, barrio warlords, gang leaders, unimaginable violence. They have a  past that lies dormant in their memories of what Medellin used to be like, something we Americans can never understand. After moving here I saw a different world view, one I hold inside my heart. But now they have stability while the tourism industry has grown 260% since 2002. They are very proud to live in Medellin, but they are still getting used to having foreign people come to visit this once very uncontrollable city.  They have those horrible memories that will never leave them.

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Poorest barrios before transformation
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Before and after transformation
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Transformation

Sergio Farjado mayor of Medellin from 2003 to 2007 started the talks about improving Medellin beginning with the poorest areas. A bottom up strategy that has worked. I had two wonderful tour guides while visiting Medellin and both were from the poorest areas, they had many stories to tell. Most importantly, they both were not old, Manny was in his mid-thirties and Camillo was around 23 or 24 years old. They both used what was offered by the government to improve their lives. Both are successful and proudly independent, not wanting to take anything more from the government. They are truly proud Paisas.

My first guide Manny was from a barrio that has been transformed with escalators to allow the poorest to reach public transportation easily. To be able to get to work without the steep climb up and down the mountains. He told stories of the area we visited. Manny remembered the army had to use helicopters to begin projects in these areas as they were so dangerous. He spoke of dead bodies being placed outside the homes planted with grenades so the police and military could not enter to help the populations of these poverty-stricken areas. They couldn’t even remove the bodies to bury them. It was quite sad to hear this from someone who actually witnessed such brutality. But with persistence the truly needy and their homes have been reinvented. Manny said many innocent lives were lost. However, now the violence is replaced with libraries throughout these areas, programs for the poor to send them to school, to give them loans to start businesses. Every public park in Medellin has free WiFi. Colombia and especially Medellin has shown you can take the people from the most needy areas and give them a reason to break the chain of violence and drugs.  The above photos show the images posted in an office at the top of the barrio I visited, before and after transformations. Here is a video I took of the ascent to the top. You will see the street art which is used all over Colombia as a way of expression to show the past and the new future. This street art is a favorite part of my love of Colombia. I love to see color, a lot of color. I also love light, not darkness. The homes are so bright and cheery in these under privileged areas.

Colombia is spending millions on infrastructure to improve all the big cities. Cali, Colombia which is closest to Villa Migelita , my Bed and Breakfast, is transforming areas also. What is really fantastic is that all the walking areas throughout the large cities in Colombia, have a strip in the middle of the sidewalk for the blind to guide them. Wonderful, thoughtful ideas are being implemented! Unlike the USA, Colombia is not using the tired line of trickle down economics of the rich vs the poor. Colombia is showing the world that improving and giving to the poor is a way to get the whole economy thriving and raising people up to achieve great things! Medellin alone went from 40,000 tourists in the year 2010 to over 4 million visitors in 2016.  I arrived in Colombia to live in 2011. It is not difficult to get a Visa to live here. The only thing that needs to be emphasized is that Colombians are super polite people. They do not want to offend anyone, but they are noticing the bad behavior of some tourists. Check out this photo.. Please, thank you and a nice greeting in Spanish really impresses all Colombians.medellin-113
Another amazing part of Medellin is the super fast metro system built during very turbulent times in Medellin, also the cable car system  is phenomenal. While in the city I used this metro and cable car system more than taxis! Wonderfully clean, because no one will destroy what they are so proud of! If disabled, older, or pregnant, a seat is offered immediately by all who are nearby. I watched and observed the behavior of everyone. I am so proud to live in this country  as an expat.

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The cable cars of Medellin

A tip to those visiting Medellin. Use the free walking tour offered by Real City Tours. My guide Camillo was fantastic. He was informed and educated. He is from the poor barrios, but has a degree in bio-medical engineering. He is bi-lingual, he is charming, and he is making money taking these tours around his city of Medellin. He is what we should strive to be in this chaotic world. I cannot say enough about his intelligence, drive and knowledge. He rose from poverty to become a part of sharing the history of Colombia’s success, and also his success. I often say to those who make fun of other’s accents, “Do you speak another language?” “Can you rise from a past that had you living in violence to having a college degree?” “Are you successful?” I think success is based on what you accomplish, not just money. I told Camillo, you must make your family so proud. He was so modest, so polite, and so intelligent.

 

Camillo would make any mother proud and I told him so. He was delightful, smart                  and fluent in English because the Colombian government gave him a chance to become all that he could be! I was so impressed with his stories and the walking tour. It is free, and a tip is your price.  Again I emphasize, be kind, be generous, and enjoy the culture of Colombia. Don’t be cheap because you can be. I had that happen with recent guests. They ignored my lovely and hard-working maid after 33 days of being cared for by her. I will never allow that to happen again. Please remember to give thanks to those that give you good service here in Colombia. We don’t tip like in the USA. However, tips are to be given to those that become part of your stay, part of your journey.

The last part of our walking tour was at a park for concerts in Medellin. This square also features the art of the artist Fernando Botero. In these last photos I will show there was a lesson present. A bomb blew up his sculpture of The Bird in the 1990’s. This bomb killed a little girl and more than thirty people. The perpetrator was never found. The Colombian government wanted the sculpture immediately removed. But the President of Colombia received an important phone call from Botero himself. He said “leave it there to remind all to fight against this terrorism” So they did. It is a reminder to all who live in Medellin of their past. One they need to remember as the future unfolds with the prosperity and growth of Medellin. Colombia is now a thriving and innovative country. A country of proud people with a past they would like to forget, but never will. We are the future. People like me, an American who lives here in Colombia and is showing the world that a terrible past can evolve to a wonderful future. Maybe that is why I feel so at home in Colombia. I know the past does not define who you are.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in child death, Children of deceased parents, expat life, Uncategorized

Thanks for the Love

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/resist/

Every year when the anniversary of my daughter’s death approaches I face the dilemma about whether or not I should remark about it on my Facebook. I then think of Misha and what she would want. She would definitely want to have the spotlight for a day. So I put a memorial to her on my feed.

This year I was overwhelmed with the lovely thoughts everyone has written, and I want to thank you for them. As the years go by I worry I will forget memories or they will fade, sometimes I even get her age wrong. How can this be? I think because I will always remember her as 20 years old: the age at which she left this world. I have so many photos of her growing up and I sometimes look through them just to refresh my mind about life moments that were special. It hurts of course when I look through past memories but they also make my heart smile.

Misha was a lover of social media, she got me started on Facebook, and Twitter. I am so inept at these things that I talk to her in my mind sometimes when I am trying to figure a new app out, when something can’t be downloaded, or is downloaded but I don’t know where to look for it. She was a whiz at all of it and as the years pass and we become more entwined with all that social media offers, such as Netflix, Smart TV’s, all the phones and more that are our lifelines I know she would be loving all of it.

So thank you all for taking a moment out of your day to send love to me and to Misha who is still with me everyday here in my beautiful Villa. She is with me when I look at the hummingbirds, or when I rescue one. She is with me when the beautiful Ibis that have made their resting spot in the Norfolk pine come to visit. She is with me because I buried her ashes in a garden made especially for her, and I see the butterflies all around her on the flowers. She is with me because she loved animals and she would love all of mine. She is with me in my heart until I leave this world and hopefully am reunited with her soul.