The moment I spotted this little treasure I felt chills. It was early morning and I entered my kitchen and my eyes were drawn to this tiny feather on the tile. It is so minute I do not know what drew my eyes to it, except Misha, my deceased daughter. She left it for me. Just one white feather, like an angel wing. I stopped and inhaled slowly because a white feather that is from a hummingbird is a sign, a sacred encounter with the ethereal. How my eyes saw this beautiful little quill; so small it is about the size of a babies fingernail. I could easily have walked past it without notice and it would have blown away as I was opening the doors of my Villa for the morning.
Open doors define my life in Colombia. Not only actual open doors but the doors that have opened for me since I left the United States on this journey to a new country. Colombia, a country that many do not understand nor have an accurate account of how life really is here in the most bio-diverse country besides Brazil in the world. Colombia is full of happy people, beautiful mountains, birds, flowers, and moments. I need moments.
Happiness, unfortunately is elusive to me. I feel happiness, but rarely since Misha passed. Happiness is a gift that we need to strive to achieve, all of us. We need to grasp the split second that we feel any form of hopefulness, and keep it in our hearts. This little hummingbird feather made me smile this morning. It was like she was giving me reassurance of her love. Confirming to me that she is with me, even though not in a physical form. So now I am going to frame this jewel and keep it nearby for those days I feel down, when I have had a sleepless night which so often plaque me. I will have it to look at forever.
I wasn’t sure how to photograph this tiny plume so I put it on a crack. The cracks represent my heart since I lost her. I doubt my heart will ever be whole again, but the magnitude of these moments keep me going on with life. A life I appreciate more than I ever did before she left this world. I know what grief is, I know that I will always feel it, but I also know that I can make a life in her memory. This Villa is all for Misha. She shows me her appreciation in small ways. The little feather of a hummingbird.
I awoke this morning early to the sound of rain. I love to hear the soothing sound of the raindrops as I lay in bed. Then I remembered that my home state of Florida is being hit by monster storm Irma. So I am waiting along with the rest of the world for the aftermath. The storm has downgraded to a Cat 3, but you have that storm surge and the possibility of regaining strength as it heads back over the ocean to the Keys. Please get to a shelter and be safe! I am watching from Colombia in my Bed and Breakfast hotel Villa Migelita. I am here for anyone who is without a home after the storm. All you need is a passport, no Visa needed for up to 3 months. I am offering my place for just my costs to anyone who needs a place to stay while repairs to your home occur, or until the electric comes back on. We have temperatures in the 50’s at night and up to the high 70’s Fahrenheit at my Villa. We do not use air conditioning at Villa Migelita. No need. If you don’t want to live in that heat of Florida without power, you can get a flight to Cali, Colombia and stay here. I remember very well the after effects of hurricanes as a native Floridian. It is hell. Literally. Also I will give food and shelter at such a reasonable cost, home cooked meals, maid service, laundry and free wi-fi. Remember I am a direct flight to Miami from Cali. I am here, I am ready and I am waiting to help. Villa Migelita has the American flag flying and the Colombian flag beause we all support the USA in this terrible time of super storms hitting without normalcy
You can have a wonderful experience in a perfect climate without stress, and I will be here to support and help in any way I can. Michele
Getting a Visa is not hard in Colombia, but recently I went through some major stress trying to get my residency here in Colombia. All Visa requests now need to be done online, this is where the stress came in. I had to enlist my friends for help. A form that says takes only 15 minutes to complete took over two hours by an expert. I ended up getting several messages back from the Cancilleria in Bogotá requesting more information, different file forms which can only be a certain number of megabytes, you name it they asked for it! I ended up coming in 4 days short for the Residence Visa, but my Pension Visa was approved quickly in about two hours. That was a major relief as it took so much time for the residence application, I was down to 5 days before my current Visa expired.
Once the Visa was approved I needed to fly to Bogotá and pay the 211$ fee while getting the stamp on my passport. I was so relieved to get this process over with that I was really excited to take a short trip, visit tourist spots in Bogotá and have some fun. It was last-minute as I thought I was going to have to get an extension on my Visa. So I called my friend Monica hoping that she could come with me even though I only gave her two days notice. She teaches English here in Palmira, Valle del Cauca. She is my friend and my teacher of Spanish also. I can converse one on one with most anyone now; but when it gets complicated I need a translator. Not only is she the best at that, but she is also so much fun, I felt like I was on a layover again!
We took off at 11 am and landed quickly at the BOG airport, a short hop from Cali, Colombia. I had made reservations in a quaint hotel near the consulate and areas of interest I wanted to see. We had a short 24 hours to have fun, and arrived early despite the traffic of Bogotá, our room wasn’t ready yet. We were not concerned and just checked our luggage in, and took off to explore. The first place we went to was Usaquen, a barrio in Bogota that is so delightful and full of treasures to explore and to buy.
We were beginning a fun adventure in Bogota, and I cannot stress enough how pleasant it was. I was with my friend, enjoying myself and getting rid of the stress of over a month of trying for my residency. I want to emphasize to those who are considering Colombia for retirement, they will welcome you, but it is all about rules. If you don’t comply they don’t give exceptions..Simple, but in a way reassuring. I know that my new place of living does the homework it needs for anyone entering the country.
We were shopping and sightseeing and entered the church in the main square of Usaquen. I lit a candle for my daughter immediately. I do this often in any church I see that is open to the public here in Colombia. I was raised as Catholic, but I identify as spiritual; that being said I don’t want to identify as a specific religion. I know there is a higher power. You need only go to my Facebook page Villa Migelita to see my many videos of hummingbirds coming to visit me, while I rescue them. I believe it is my daughter showing me she is with me still. I love that I get these signs! There is no other way to explain what happens.
The actual church was not open. I sat silent for a few minutes contemplating about Misha and where my life has taken me since her death. I think I have done well. I have a Bed and Breakfast hotel and I have peace. I have the knowledge of someone who believes in the Universe. I know there is another dimension. I don’t care who would try to argue this point with me. Nor do I want to go into what your religion is. I know. I have the signs.
The photo above was taken while looking at the street art in Bogota. I see the light in this photo and the beauty of the this light, can you? It was a wonderful end to my day when I went to look at the photos I took while visiting Bogota. It is surreal. It is mystical, it is full of a presence. I know my daughter was with me after lighting candles in the churches I visited.
I know Misha heard me talk to her that day as I visited these historical churches,including the famous mountain of Bogota, Monserrate. She knew I needed this Visa to stay in Colombia. She helped me; I will admit I went through some sleepless nights, and told her about them in my prayers. I usually go to Florida to the embassy in Miami to get my Visa. This time I didn’t because it was for my residence. I learned a lot, enjoyed Bogotá, had a wonderful time and now have a year to apply and get my residence. I always say things happen for a reason and we must accept them. Even death. We must show others that we can continue, despite the sadness we might endure. We need to be strong. I am enjoying my life as an expat in Colombia. The USA needs to stop this nonsense about immigrants ( I am an immigrant in Colombia) and start accepting other cultures. Enjoy and travel..do what you need to do to love your life. Stop reacting and start welcoming others to your country , even if they don’t speak your language perfectly, or they have to learn your culture. They want to live and start a new life like I have in Colombia. I believe it should be easy for anyone to live anywhere if they have proper documentation.
We might never agree on everything, but we can live peacefully wherever we are. Peace out…and love sent to all of the world.