Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, child death, Colombia, Entreprenuer, expat life, family, love, Signs of the Universe, Spiritual Presence, strength, Uncategorized, Waiting

The Surprises in Life

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

This blog is a follow-up to my blog about finding love when I least expected it, I was astonished by all the outpouring of support that was sent my way when I wrote about  the surprise of meeting someone special. So take a moment and read this blog first before you continue on.

Life is like a river, it flows one way and then it sometimes changes directions. I compare my life to a river often. I believe I have lived two lives in this lifetime. One was as a mother to my children, and the next life started when I decided to move to Colombia after Misha was murdered. It was not an easy decision and I carry a lot of guilt for leaving, but I have found that you cannot control destiny. Everyone has free will, even our children.  I have not stopped thinking about my past life, I really wouldn’t want those memories to be gone. Cherished memories. So I accept I have had two separate lives. Both have had wonderful times, and terrible times. We do have many chances in life, even if those chances cause pain to us in other ways. My choice to move has been wonderful for healing, but whenever I go to the United States the past rears its head. Always so dramatically. I left that, I don’t want the drama, I don’t want the pressure of trying to be the best at whatever it is anyone is trying to be the best at, I don’t want that life anymore. So I need to write about how strange I felt this last time I visited the United States after two years.

The night I met Avi was special because of things I have found out since this fateful encounter. First of all, and I mention it in the blog you need to read first, I asked him to dance. I say this because apparently it is still not a common occurrence for a woman to ask a man to dance. I have been told this by Avi and by my friends also. This shows you I live differently in the jungle of Colombia. We dance here when we have parties at our homes. I ask anyone to dance and this includes my women friends. We just dance. It is that simple. So, what do I mean by this? Avi found it delightful that I approached him and said do you want to dance? I was so amazed by that, which will show that I have become more innocent since living in Colombia. I don’t think nor know about any of the things that could be socially inept. I just live. I have deliberately isolated myself, and with that comes social incompetence. But I do have a lovely and simple existence. I am successful to a degree with my hotel Villa Migelita Ecolodge, and I am very happy to be alone with just me. I might be writing my book, or I might be photographing the nature I am so accustomed to, or I might be studying the Spanish I am still struggling with. I think many people would not like my uncomplicated life, but for me it is perfect. I like being alone. I like my own company, and I love nature and my animals. A perfect combination for me.

Let me say a bit about Avi , he is a person of great integrity. He knows what he wants in a woman and has been looking for someone for a while. I can’t say the same about me. I am flawed, and imperfect to a great degree. I have not been looking for anyone. I changed when my daughter was murdered. I just don’t care what anyone thinks, says or wants from me. I am truly and completely direct with everyone. So this probably makes me a bit unusual. Avi says it is a great thing, I am not so sure. I will say this relationship has gotten better with distance and the wonderful world of being able to talk and see each other through social media. I am way too uninhibited in my thoughts, but to someone like Avi this is a good thing. He finds it refreshing, unusual and to use a word my mother always called me : unique. I am that for sure.

That night Avi and I met we danced and I found out the next day the earring I wore of Misha’s that I had in my second ear-piercing was gone. I was devastated. I had already lost one earring from when she had passed that I took from her body before she was cremated. This earring her best friend gave me without knowing I had been wearing another earring and had lost it. I remember her saying I only have one when she handed it to me. When I woke up and I realized the earring was gone and there would not be another earring to replace it, I was sad. Here is a video of my television interview in Baton Rouge when I was trying to get a trial for my deceased daughter. You can clearly see the earring that I lost the night I met Avi, Gabrielle had given it to me the night before my interview. That morning when I left the cruise ship I felt I left a part of Misha behind at sea.

Now as time has passed and Avi is coming to see me this week, I am beginning to think there was a reason for the loss of the earring. Maybe it is time for me to move on with my life. Maybe I have a future, because I haven’t really looked at my life as having one. I have just lived one day, one step, one moment at a time. The loss of this second earring; maybe it is a message to me from Misha to allow myself to love again, to let go of her, to begin fresh.

Avi has his work cut out with me. I am surely different which he discovered the first night we met. I am also an innocent in this world now. I didn’t turn hard from the lack of justice, I turned inward. I often feel that I can never trust anything again. This man killed my daughter, yet the judge gave him the correct sentence and then she suspended it. She even acknowledged the thousands of letters she received to give him jail time. She didn’t. I felt so betrayed. I withdrew into myself even more.

I had not had a real date with a man in a long time, so when I had lunch with Avi I was nervous and socially awkward. I then had dinner with him later that evening after I missed my flight back to Colombia and I felt like an alien from outer space. I looked around and every person had their phones out and no one was interacting with each other. I don’t do that here in Colombia. I use it for communication, and some of my social media work sites. I remember looking around at a lot of noise and lights, and feeling very uncomfortable. I can’t imagine that I even kept up a normal conversation with Avi. But now since I have returned  to Colombia we have such profound discussions, and I am slowly learning to trust him.

I have made it clear to Avi I am difficult to understand, I sometimes appear cold, unreachable. That I like being alone. I don’t need to have anyone entertain me, nor do I need to be out and in crowds. I am never unkind purposely, but I am distant sometimes. It is who I am now. He accepts this about me, in fact he loves this about me. My directness.

He will be here for Mother’s Day, a day I really find so distressing. He says we shall go out and celebrate you as a mother, you are a mother and deserve to be admired as one. I hope I can enjoy the day with him. He is certainly kind and thoughtful, and I believe he truly loves me, even with my baggage.

Stay tuned, the future is in front of me, but as usual I live my life one day at a time. Some days are not so great, while others are beautiful and full of hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, Entreprenuer, freedom, happiness, hotel, Uncategorized

The Life I Have Made in Colombia. End of 2017 Reflections

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

In order to be free we have to be willing to think for ourselves, learn for ourselves, and to live our lives as our real true selves. Being free is when you are able to get past others opinions, when you are able to make decisions on what is best for you based on what is happening in your personal life, and not worry about what others may think, say or do. Being free is making choices that might not conform to a standard expected by a majority of people, but following your instincts and persevering no matter how many obstacles you may encounter. This is why some people are successful and others are not. I have found that quitting is not an option for me. The strength I have obtained because of stumbling blocks in my journey is invaluable. I thought the one thing I lost when I moved to Colombia was independence, but in actuality I have gained it. As I progress on this journey, I learn more about myself and what I am capable of. I am able to do what I need to do to secure a life filled with my passion for nature and animals.

Recently I had this lovely couple visit Villa Migelita Ecolodge.

Elaine and Marshall
My friend of many years and her husband at La Ruiza, Valle del Cauca, Colombia

The gorgeous woman you see has been my friend for almost 40 years. She came to visit Villa Migelita a couple of years ago with our other sidekick from the 1980’s Janet. She wanted her husband to see what I have done after such tremendous loss(the death of my daughter) in my life. Their visit has been another turning point for me. Before they arrived I had a lot of upheaval here in Colombia. I have handled it well, but it hasn’t been easy.

Elaine’s husband Marshall was very impressed that I had started a hotel, could speak Spanish and was accomplishing so much while still learning a new language and culture. He is the kind of person who offers sound advice and has a very kind way of saying things that I found comforting, even when it was constructive criticism. I don’t often speak about the things that have gone wrong while living in a new country, because so much has been right I don’t want to dwell  on the times I have struggled. However, I haven’t really had many people say to me ‘”hey you’re doing a great job!” In fact, hardly anyone says much as I move forward each day with my growing business. I have a proclivity to self talk negatively to myself since my daughter died. I try not to, but to be honest I do. So when someone I didn’t know said he couldn’t believe what I had done here with my life and my business,  I was delighted to have someone validate the strenuous undertaking of creating a hotel in another country. He also said the entire time I should have Netflix come and do a documentary on my life.  I have been featured in Yahoo Finance and International Living, all because I reached out to them. So maybe I will start reaching out to other venues to see if they are interested.

Hummingbirds and Cali at Christmas 046
In Cali, Colombia 2017 at the Festival of Lights in December
Michele 6years ago
6 years ago when I first bought Villa Migelita Ecolodge

 

Colombia has agreed with me. I know many still judge why I left the United States after my daughter was murdered. If you are really interested go back to the beginning of my blogs and read. It was a dreadful time in my life and I just couldn’t make any progress, I felt my personal growth was gone. I made some difficult choices. That is all we can do in troublesome situations. We should be the first priority for our well-being. If we are not, then we can’t show a good example to our children, family or friends.

I keep plugging away with my business. I have had a couple of people work with me, but I have been the one driving the business forward with my social media sites that publicize how Colombia really is. Me alone. I have done this, and I am not really that great with these things, but somehow I have figured out how to do more than I thought I could. I have created a following of people who never knew how wonderful and beautiful Colombia is. The days of old are gone, and Colombia is thriving. The government is really focusing on the tourism industry. So all the hard work I have done over the years I have been living here is starting to pay off. People from all over the world are discovering what a bio-diverse and gorgeous country Colombia is.

So with the lovely words of my friends husband inside my head still, I am feeling pretty good about my life in general. I have learned to deal with unpleasant situations without allowing them to affect my daily life. I know I can handle anything anyone wants to throw at me, I will catch it and throw it back. I will no longer allow others problems to change my way of thinking, I will continue to be the person I am. Yes, I am kind, I am compassionate, and I am strong. Perhaps, the only thing that has happened from my struggles here is that I am less trusting. I am losing that vital part of myself. I have found it is not in my best interest to be trusting, as I have been taken advantage of. Lessons learned and filed away for now.

So I will continue on with my love of Colombia being shown to all. If Colombia has changed it’s image from a turbulent past, so can I. I can become the best person I can be while living a life in Paradise. You see I know Misha is with me in every endeavor I undertake even the ones that are really difficult. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do make goals for myself that I try to follow, this year is to let go of fear. Ever since Misha died I have that fear thing inside of me. I am always waiting for another horrible situation to arise. I have to stop that. I have not allowed her death to stop me from creating what I have. I have to stop the negative talk and start the positive talk inside my head. I need to be proud of what I have accomplished and continue to achieve.

So with that I am going to do my  best to make Colombia a great tourist destination known around the world for nature lovers like myself. I am going to continue my journey of living in the now. I am going to be the free spirit I have always been, but I lost for a little while after my daughter’s death. I am going to try to say I am happy, because I really don’t say that much. I do say I love my life, but I have had trouble with that happiness thing. It seems elusive still, but I am working on it.Michele 2017 in water at Chipichape

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Birders, Colombia, Colombian life, country living, expat life, farm life, mother nature, nature, Nature, photo challenge, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Peek into the Life of Adventure Travel

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/peek/

Oftentimes people wonder what exactly adventure travel is.  According to Wikipedia “Adventure travel is a type of niche tourism, involving exploration or travel with a certain degree of risk (real or perceived), and which may require special skills and physical exertion. … Other rising forms of adventure travel include social and jungle tourism.”

This definition is true, but it can be modified to any age group wants and needs. At Villa Migelita we get such a variety who seek the excitement and experiences that are not found in many tourism spots in this world. We constantly look and find new places to bring our guests so they can see life in nature  in the Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

Hummingbird rescue and parrots el eden 007 (1)
Great Green Macaw Of Colombia in the wild
El Eden (1)
El Chalet with an 11-year-old and her mother from Canada

Yesterday we took our guests into the jungle to look for parrots. They had specifically asked us for activities that were off the beaten path and different. Above you see the parrots that flock every single day over my Villa to go down to lower altitudes and then they return to the pine trees really high in the area called Hueco Frio in La Buitrera del Palmira. We entered the jungle in my truck a 4 x 4 Toyota that is very strong, and very adaptable to climbing the great heights we obtain here in the mountains of Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Take a look at the video of just one breed of the many we have in the mountains. It was magical and extremely fascinating to watch and hear the beautiful sounds they make as they fly overhead in the hundreds and roost in the pine trees for the evening. You have to arrive right at sunset to see these beautiful Macaws, or any of the other of the parrot species getting ready to sleep until they depart early the next day to go down and eat fruit off of our many fruit trees in Colombia.

We then climbed higher to see El Chalet a house built many years ago during the war but is now a wonderful place to view the Valle del Cauca and see many other species of birds. To get to the parrots you have to travel directly into the jungle and the road is narrow and not paved. We cross streams, and one side is a the view of the Valle del Cauca and the other side is the mountain that the road winds around. Quite steep, and you have to be ready for a bumpy ride.

Hummingbird rescue and parrots el eden 015
Cali, Pradera, and Palmira Colombia at night at El Chalet

In this photo at night you can see a peek of how the chalet had beautiful arches and great design once long ago before it became abandoned and now is a place to bring tourists for sightseeing. We were not disappointed: as we drove up there was a large Fawn breasted Tanager sitting on a fence post. For your information we were at an altitude of between 7000 to 8000 feet above sea level, or around 2.500 meters.

Fawn breasted tanager
Internet photo of the Fawn breasted Tanager

I could not get a good photo because it was getting dark, but we sure enjoyed the views and sounds of all the parrots and other night birds that call each other. Then off we went in the dark through the jungle back down the winding bumpy steep mountain trail.

Hummingbird rescue and parrots el eden 014
This is what the side of the road looks like and you can see a peek of the full moon

As we slowly ventured back down we had our eyes peeled for the famous Barrenquero bird of this region. We were going very slow as they come out at night and often land right in front on the road to catch an insect. It was a full moon so we had light from the truck headlights and the beautiful moon. Then the truck just quit. No reason that we could think of because we keep the truck in tip-top shape. It had just been checked out by our wonderful local mechanic and was given a thumbs up just a week before. So there we are in the middle of the jungle, and stopped in darkness. No signal on my cell phone, my business associate did have data and was able to use Whatsapp. Then along comes our friend on his motorcycle and he quickly got in contact with our mechanic who would come up on his motorcycle. Remember, only motorcycles or 4 x 4 can travel here. As we waited I had looked at the time the truck stopped and until we would be fixed and on our way again. I was just curious as one of my last visits in the USA I had a rental car that did the same thing, and it took over 3 hours to get the help.

As we waited a truck came up with some older men. They stopped because that is how it is here in the mountains of Colombia. Everyone helps each other. They decided to try to jump-start the truck! Myself and my two lovely guests said “No, we are getting out!” Remember it is dark and we are going downhill on a bumpy road! This did not work, and the road was so narrow the jumper cables were not going to be able to be used. Meanwhile, more of my friends had been contacted including one of my dearest friends who does have a 4 x 4 also. Help was on the way! As those who are adventure travel enthusiasts know, this is all part of the experience. Also, everyone knows your car can break down anywhere in the world. But to break down in total darkness in the jungle was certainly exciting and also educational. Educational because many people think Colombia is dangerous. This story describes the actual reality of how Colombian people are wonderful, and the safety of Colombia  should not be questioned now.

The local mechanic came with a new battery to replace my battery which I had just bought not even 3 months before. He determined it was the combination of the 4 x 4, the extra headlights I have in front between the headlights called explorers and the drag on the engine. We got the car up and running in 1 hour from the very beginning. Our  mechanic  followed us down to the local pueblo Arenillo where they were having a fun festival of the fish trout, called Feria de la trucha de Arenillo. We stopped and bought carne a la llanera a specialty of this area. We bought for all the people who helped us especially the family of my mechanic. They are really good people.

Then we went on our way after my guests toured the festival bit, and my mechanic waited and followed us. My best friend showed up with his truck and we said “thank you we are on our way, gracias a dios!”  We just had a few more miles to get to at Villa Miglelita Ecolodge. 

We were going to drive the truck down first thing in the morning to get the new battery back and go on another adventure. Aiyiyi. The moment we left and started to climb the truck died again. Armando came right back and they determined a belt was broken, and he brought a member of his family to take us up to my Villa. The truck stayed with him.

Now we get to the comedy of errors. It was ok up until now. We had adventure, we had my friends meeting my guests at Villa Migelita Ecolodge, we had not much inconvenience, just a little waiting. The car that came was so old and little, I have no idea what kind it was, but all cars are older here. It made it up to the steepest part and stopped. We had to get out and walk the rest of the way to Villa Miglelita. I am still laughing from this last part, although it was scary too.

He turned around and went down the mountain as our adventure continued. The full and very beautiful moon was as bright as any flashlight. We were almost to the Villa and in the road we see three cows, alas but one was a bull. Now I know I say how friendly the cattle are here. Well, this bull was in the middle of the road head down, ready to charge. Us women ran to the side of the road next to the cows. My business associate is yelling at the bull to leave, clapping hands and more. Then a motorcycle came by. The driver asked “este tauro es bravo?” I said very loudly “si bravo y necisito tu ajuda!” He turned around and with my business associate scared that bull back to the property it lives at. Someone had opened the gate, as a prank, but it was not funny!

We arrived home and just laughed and laughed at the events as they unfolded. This is life in Colombia, this is the life I live. This is what I enjoy. Even while we were looking at the mountain and trees to climb to get away from the angry bull.

My guests are still talking of the wonderful time they had even with the all the complications that arose. They said it was the time of their life. So now today we are off on a horseback riding adventure. Remember we give you what you ask for and sometimes more than you ask for at Villa Migelita Ecolodge! 

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia, corners, expat life, friendship, minimalism, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Corners are Intersections of the Soul

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/corner/

Pacific coast festival 017
Two people converge

This photo says be you, be happy, enjoy any moment in time when you feel happy, Chat, share secrets, laugh, whisper, live in the now. Celebrate life, celebrate being unique. Celebrate you. Celebrate friendship, develop culture and travel experiences. Don’t allow the negativity of the world to undermine your happiness, nor allow any person to change the way you feel, act or think. This photo conveys to me a shared moment in time. An innocent moment that we all can achieve, if only we stopped comparing ourselves to others. We can never live perfectly, but we can try to live peacefully. This photo captures that.

 

 

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, friendship, nature, Nature Symbolism, Uncategorized

Thousands of Parrots

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/elemental/

The other day I went on a journey with friends. We explored the mountains of La Buitrera de Palmira, Colombia near my Villa. 

We drove around in my 4 x 4 Toyota truck stopping when we found beautiful views.

Look at the size of these Elephant Ears!
I can hold this leaf up so we can pass!
Hiking and viewing flora and fauna
Right before we saw all the parrots come home to the trees where they live
Height is no problem
The elements of Colombia are so intense, there is no description unless you are right there in the moment

We ended up at a farm that is filled with so much organic and biological study of nature and plants. We were given a tour. There is a weather station for our area located at this super high altitude. When I check my phone in the morning this tiny little station lets me know the weather. I found it fascinating.

Weather station
We have stations like this all over the mountains in all areas of Colombia, tracking weather and currents

But then I heard them, the chorus of parrots that sound like angels to me. It is a sound you can never imagine unless you are right there. These parrots go over my Villa every morning around 5ish and return at around 6ish. I have always wondered where they go to. I found out. It was a moment of realism for me. Because I can only describe to you what it was like. I didn’t have my camera with me, just my phone which was out of battery.

I heard this sound of such beauty and noise, beautiful noise. Then I see them all flying to the trees on this farm much higher than mine at Villa Migelita. My question of 5 years was answered in a moment of them landing together in trees that were very near to me. They were green and they looked as if they were falling when they moved to lower trees. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t take my eyes away from what I was seeing. It was a first for me in Colombia. I have many parrots visit my farm, but this, this incredible sight was something that touched my soul.

amazon parrots
Internet image, but they were just like this snuggled together or free-falling to different trees.

So I watched without moving for at least a half hour. I will never forget this amazing spectacle in my life. But it even gets better. The cover image is the trees they were in while driving back home. The sun was setting and we had left this amazing farm with so much cultural history.

Indigenous Pot
1000 year old Indigenous pot

We were all talking about how amazing the elements were on this farm. It was an experience of a lifetime! Including holding a pot made by Colombian Indigenous people and of course the thousands of parrots. I am not exaggerating this at all, because my cover photo does not show the parrots but we were driving down and there were more parrots all in the trees with the sunset surrounding them. They were flitting about, and we were just watching from my truck. They were highlighted by the sunset, but not enough for any photo. They were snuggling each other, they were squawking, they were happy. They were free. That is the way it should be for all animals and nature.

So I can only describe it to you, this sighting of where the parrots go when they fly over my Villa. It was so wonderful, so fascinating, so amazing. Always in my memory and now I know where they go and live. Where the parrots nest. I will always be so happy so many parrots fly free here in Colombia, the way it should be.

 

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, camping, Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, friendship, minimalism, nature, photo challenge, Uncategorized

The Wonder of Nature and Colombian Texture

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/textures/

Some beautiful photos of different textures from my life in Colombia. I just adore these photos. They capture nature and happiness together. My life is perfect as an entrepreneur and tourist guide to all that Colombia is. Follow me at @Villa Migelita Instagram, or on Facebook at Villa Migelita  and of course my blog. I have the most amazing friends and adventures. Enjoy!

Hacienda Guadalajara 012
Look at the reflections and the perfect color of the plant life
Hacienda Guadalajara 016
I like the shadows in this photo of me
Hacienda Guadalajara 026
Just look at the water falling, no more needs to be said
Hacienda Guadalajara 025
I find this photo full of so much texture, again it is perfect

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, child death, Colombia, Colombian life, minimalism, nature, Nature Symbolism, parents of deceased children, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Passing Moments in Time, Evanescent

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/evanescent/

This is a hard photo challenge for me because I want to say how fleeting life is, which is so cliché. How desperately short life can be, which is also so cliché. I want to wallow in the grief of my daughter’s death. How I search for memories now that it has been 7 years since she was murdered. What I go through every single day, when I open my eyes in the morning. How angry I am that the man who killed my daughter walks free due to a corrupt judge. I want to share to others how hard it is to accept a death of a child that was so senseless it leaves me weak with sadness.  All the years that have disappeared like they never existed. I want others who have never had extreme grief to understand. It is difficult to let it go. I try, but I always have it there in my heart. So I just write my feelings down and I take photos of the this absolutely beautiful country that I live in now. Colombia. We have a lot in common. Death, senseless death, which is not something people can just let go of. We survive. We continue. But we remember. These photos are for my daughter, who fades ever so slowly from my memory. I still walk and meditate for her in all the beautiful areas right outside my door. It helps but it doesn’t keep me from missing the woman she could have become.

River photos 011
The rage of the river
River photos 020
Little leaves capture my eyes
River photos 021
The cascade drips with my tears
River photos 025
The stillness of the path
River photos 027
finding peace
River photos 029
walking the natural pool
River photos 030
letting go after meditation..my shoes in the water of life