Lush landscapes, the sun shining through clouds upon the mountains, rainstorms at sunset, the hummingbirds that buzz by as you sit quietly watching, bananas growing on trees that surround you, Colombia is my place.
I am forever in my place, never to leave to move anywhere else. I have a property that is incomparable to most anywhere in the world at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I am in a small country with people who have huge hearts. My heart is full with gratitude. My heart is full with love, my heart is full of Colombia.
What does it take to awaken from too much reflection on our past? For me it was a fun cruise with my best friend and a chance meeting in a Latin club on the very last night.
I went to South Florida to celebrate my 60th birthday on a cruise with my son. Unfortunately, he was unable to make the cruise nor was my granddaughter, whom I spent the week before doing all the enjoyable activities she likes to do. When I asked my best friend of forty years to come along and he said yes I knew my first cruise would be filled with laughter and enjoyment. I haven’t had a little vacation for myself in many years and I was really looking forward to this cruise. I wasn’t disappointed.
That first night when I entered our dining room, my eyes feasted on the decor, the lights, the sounds of chatter of other tables. When I sat down and was handed the menu, there were items I had not tasted in a long time living in Colombia. Escargot, creme brulee, pastas with rich sauces, appetizers of such variety, and I could have whatever I wanted, not finish and try something else. Our seat mates were a variety of people but the silly Latins were a highlight of our first night and I started the conversation with them in Spanish. They then became our fun friends for the rest of the cruise.
The clubs on the ship are awesome and we had great people on our cruise. Imagine happiness emanating from every person you encounter! Bridal party dance offs, blackjack in the casino, karaoke, smiling people everywhere we went.
The last day at sea was memorable for many reasons, including finding love at 60. Gabe and I became separated but I knew I would find him. I sat at the pool bar and eventually he came looking for me. He had been with our Latin friends drinking rum shots. So I want to thank you Monica and Patricia for making Gabe so tired he went up to bed after dinner that last evening on board the ship. Everyone was exhausted but I was still enjoying the evening so I wandered into a club playing Latin music. There was a man sitting by himself, looking very handsome and I asked him to dance. I guess that is still something women don’t do that much, but he accepted and danced salsa quite well. I found out he was on the cruise with his entire family, so I gave him the card of my hotel.
He came back to find me later and I danced with him again. I continued to dance and chat with people in Spanish and thought I would never hear from the handsome stranger again.Then I saw him in a corner with all of his family and I eventually left when the music stopped and lights went on. I did tell Gabe about him when I went back to our stateroom. I did not know then I had made quite an impression on him with my attitude, dancing and a few comments I made, which I cannot share, but they delighted him. He told me later he walked the ship until 2 am looking for me.
So how did he find me? He called my Colombian number and it didn’t work because I had a sim card in for Florida. He left me messages on Facebook messenger while I was out shopping. He asked me to dinner that night and I said no I am leaving to go back to Villa Migelita Ecolodge in Colombia tomorrow, and I am packing. He persisted. Let me take you to lunch before your flight? I said yes, then he called again and put someone on the phone. We shared a friend! My friend of many years from Nova High School. Now, I was very intrigued and curious. When we had lunch it was like I had known him forever. I missed my flight because it was overbooked and had turned in my rental car so he came back and got me at the airport. My friend Cheryl from high school gave me a room on Hollywood beach boardwalk at her hotel. I want to say thank you to both her and Moses for such a kind gesture. She came by that evening to say hi. We had dinner at her house the following evening and I met her entertaining husband Moses.
Then I kept missing my flights, due to one reason or another. Avi and I kept enjoying ourselves, it was like I had known him forever. He is an Israeli Jew, and he really knows how to treat a woman right. He introduced me to family members, friends and more. I introduced him to Gabe and his partner, also my granddaughter.
He says he has found the woman he has been searching for all theses years. He is now coming to Colombia for 3 weeks in May. He speaks 6 languages including Spanish. He calls me a Jap, which is Jewish American Princess, and I say I am a Sap, Spiritual American Princess. Whichever it is, I now have a big Jewish family who have welcomed me with what I call the Israeli kiss. Such a warm, big smooch on the cheek that I can only describe, but love so much!
With that I say here is to my awakening at 60 years old from a random meeting on a ship in the Bahamas. I know that whatever happens Avi has brought laughter, joy and contentment into my life. He gives me so much attention, which I have not had in so long due to my own desire to succeed as a woman entrepreneur. The holding of my hand is strange and at first I would take my hand away, but now with his patience I allow it. I allow him to shower me with affection because I deserve it and he says to me any chance he gets that I am amazing and wonderful. With that I leave you with a few more photos and a final thought. Love can be found at any age, even when you are not looking for it. So cheers to turning 60 and who knows where the next years will lead, but for now I live one day at a time as always.
Colombia is the country to visit and buy real estate in. You need to do it now, before it becomes expensive like other Latin American countries. Colombia is still fresh, real, full of experiences you can’t imagine. A country that is beginning to flourish. The slogan “magical realism” is perfect! There are no words to describe the country, except Paradise! I am fortunate that I live in perpetual beauty at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I wake up to birds singing every morning, and I will never tire of this life in the country of Colombia. Villa Migelita is in the Valle del Cauca department. We are known for the birds, mountain views, ecotourism, hiking, and Parapente. We are also known for our love of animals. We are the perfect place to just come and read a book for 4 days and walk the passages near the Villa without doing a thing except letting us take care of you. Rest with the beauty of nature right next to you, while we make some awesome menus just for you. We have views that no one can compare in my area of Palmira, Valle del Cauca.
Or come to see the sunsets while you read. That is what I do when I do not have anyone visiting. I have my habits or “costumbres” in Colombian Spanish. I like to study and watch the bats in the sky as the sun sets at night.
Warning: If you do not like nature and animals, Villa Migelita Ecolodge is not for you. If you love adventure that includes animals, hummingbirds, bird-watching, adventure travel, luxury, personalized menus for your diet, and we include laundry which is difficult to find in Colombia, we will be perfect for you to come and see for yourself.
So consider Colombia for your next vacation. We give estimates of your stay and you will be pleasantly surprised by the price, but more than that the adventure. Our ability to give you exactly what you ask for and more. You will never see service like we provide from other places. We include more than you pay for. Enjoy some of my favorite photos, enjoy how much I appreciate the life of all creatures in these photos, disfrute!
There is so much more and I could continue to post photos, but you just need to visit Villa Migelita and enjoy time in Colombia to understand all that we offer as a country.
The Brown Violet ear hummingbird looks like it has two black eyes when you see him on a branch. The light bit of purple is picked up by the camera. I love this little guy who keeps hanging around my feeders. I have only one. Perhaps I should name him? I certainly enjoy his antics, and I love watching him primp and preen. He is beloved by me, as all of my hummingbird species are. At Villa Migelita Ecolodge we have over 30 species!
I relate to the hummingbirds at Villa Migelita Ecolodge because they are spiritual beings that bring joy to my heart. They are representative of my daughter’s nonphysical form who now flies free in peace. I truly believe I ended up living in Colombia to be surrounded by hummingbirds. They lift me up with their presence in ways I can’t describe. The highlighted sentence above can give you much information about hummingbirds and how they have represented many cultures throughout time. I am blessed to have them year round at my hotel.
I know my daughter knew how much I loved them because every year we would go to Tennessee and spend almost 3 months in the Smoky mountains. When we would spot our first hummingbird we would be delighted. So even though she is not physically present, she is with me through my hummingbirds.
I have avoided silence since January 31, 2010. The day my daughter was murdered. I have learned lessons, and I have worked hard to get to the place I am in right now. I feel free. I am free of abuse, I am free of negative energy in my home, I am free of judgmental people, free of machismo men who thought they could control me, I am free of everything that was keeping me confined to thought processes that were obsessively full of fear and sadness. When you lose someone suddenly this is normal. But what I did was not normal, I left my own country and changed my life completely. I will never regret my decision to do what I have done, I have evolved and I know another language.
I wake up to silence, not my iPad on a news station saying the same things over and over. This is how I would go to sleep since Misha died, almost 8 years now: cable news blah,blah, the same noise said again and again. Sad isn’t it? To think it took me 8 years to get to silence when I live in Paradise. The only sounds I should want to hear are the birds singing, the rain falling, the sound of music I put on when I make my coffee in the morning.
I could lay in bed on many days and not get up. I don’t allow myself this luxury. I know I need to get going and function. I have known this since the shock from the death of my daughter left me. I would not allow myself to fall off a cliff in despair. I would not allow myself to use as an excuse her death to become a sad human being, or to become filled with anger at her murderer. I used her death to better myself. But still I lacked silence. My brain would not quit.
I started this blog, I learned to take photos and use them to share the beauty I live in. To show my hummingbirds to the world, to show my flowers and a different way of life to all. It has not been easy but I have found the silence I crave inside my brain. With that all the photos and videos I take enrich me more than ever. They bring me to a place that I have been striving to find. Quiet. Pure and complete stillness of being, and sometimes that elusive happiness.
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.
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.
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.