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Animals at Play

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”

All of life reflects motion. Images imprint in our brains daily. Some reflect joy, love, and leave us in a place that gives us happiness for fleeting moments in time. I used to see these images and go on with my daily routine after acknowledging  them with a passing smile. I was engulfed in my tragedy and did not allow these moments to penetrate the pain I felt daily. Now, I let these moments engulf me, take me to a place of gratefulness, I know that these little captures by my eyes are worth so much. They sustain me when I’m sad, they lift me up when I’m disappointed, they give me hope that I will one day have relief from the heartache I harbor in my soul. My animals are my therapy from the torment that I am left with after my daughter was murdered, an affliction I carry like a disease. Watching their unfettered love of life gives me hope I will be this way once again. Free in spirit, loving the life God has given me with unconditional joy. If we could keep these flashes of action in our memory to look at like this series of one afternoon of play, we could use them to draw strength of spirit when we are down. Don’t overlook any instance that draws a smile to your lips. Images are a refreshment to our demeanor, just like a cold drink is to our bodies on a warm day.

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I have moved to Colombia, South America to find peace. Motion is part of my life whether it be my animals, hummingbirds, butterflies, or the changing views of the clouds that surround the mountains. Come visit and LIKE my Facebook page as I share moments from my life daily.

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Spanish a second language

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take That, Rosetta!.

I had a dream so vivid that I was speaking Spanish fluently, that I could finally call myself bi-lingual. Ohh I must be in heaven. Then I woke up. I woke up looking out my window at the beauty of the mountains of Colombia while thinking “if only I could rattle off Spanish like it was my first language” as I thought of the dream. Then my little puppy popped up her head and I spoke to her in Spanish as it has become my second language; although I might be on my way to fluent I am in no way bi-lingual.

11091011_830955290303872_7768723429188554386_oIf I cannot claim to be bi-lingual after living 4 years in the mountains of Colombia, then who can? I never realized a new language was so hard to learn until I tried it out. So you see I am a bit ahead of this post, as I moved to Colombia BEFORE I knew Spanish. I had always wanted to live in South America as I love the music, the food, the people and the warm ambiance I would discover every time I visited a South American country. When I moved and settled into my new life it was time to learn Spanish! I studied using Rosetta Stone, and I definitely talked a lot in Spanish….but no one understood me! What’s a girl to do? Keep trying! I try every single day even though I have many obstacles. I have an accent, those who I speak with whom are strangers look strangely at me when I speak Spanish. They have no clue what I am saying! This is a bit depressing, as I am working really hard on my language skills! I know the words and I pronounce well, ok I guess I really don’t pronounce well as my accent interferes. But I do speak it and know Spanish damn IT! Now I can relate to anyone who moves to a new country and they have a hard time because they sound strange to the natives. I get it so well that I want to shout from the mountains “hey don’t ignore someone speaking your language with an accent, just listen and you will understand!” because once I say  “please listen” or “Escucha” they do pay attention and they actually understand. You see we transplants from other countries really work hard to become fluent. We never stop, we watch movies in the language of choice, we talk daily with the locals, we read any subtitles that are supplied on any show or movie. I go to the movies here in Colombia and sometimes they have Spanish subtitles even though the actors have Spanish dubbed into their mouths. Imagine that? I get a double dose of Spanish when this happens! I don’t know where to go to first my ears or my eyes! I am reading and comprehending at the same time I am listening and comprehending. Sound confusing? Well, it is…no wonder I have Vertigo. Oh that is another story. Smile. I am happy and doing what I love. I am just doing it backwards. I am not sure I would suggest this to anyone else, but I am slowly coming into my own here in my new home. I have opened a Bed and Breakfast, I have fulfilled my dream. So take that Rosetta Stone!

Please visit my page Villa Migelita to share in my adventures. I have many and I post them for everyone to enjoy. I love living here, even though my last encounter was just last weekend at the former Hacienda of Pablo Escobar near my farm. I spoke with the young employee, I spoke the sentence right and he just stared at me. I have gotten used to that now. I accept my fate that I might always sound like a gringa, however I will continue to talk Spanish to all the animals as they do understand me, accent or not.photocat

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Pondering, Life and Friends

You go a little crazy when your child dies and that craziness brought me to Colombia. A decision many found controversial, but a decision that has provided healing to me after many years of turmoil. This journey, often messy, often wonderful, and often sad brought me to a point where I know whom and what I personally need to fulfill myself, the main discovery is I am my own best friend. My friendships with others have been involved in the shaping of my life, but ultimately I am the one who I need to count on during good and bad times. My mom would call this character if she was still alive. I call it strength to be me. No matter how many outside influences try to change my character, I am the one responsible for my life. The past is always in the forefront of my musings and brings forth the question of how our life relationships play a part in our life journey?

Contemplating while I lay sleepless some nights, I look back on friendships that played important roles in this formation of my life. The life I envisioned when I raised my children gone to the wayside, with only memories left to remind me it happened. When I was that soccer Mom, going to my daughter’s games to hear her cheer, routing for my son at basketball games, volunteering in the school cafeteria, making sure my family was well cared for, my thoughts when I envisioned the future were always about my children going to college and me encouraging them as they began their own life journey. There is no crystal ball to show us the future, but we have relationships that are part of the composition of all that develops. Did the unfolding of my life come with me in a predestined package when I was born? Did my decisions cause the problems my children encountered in their teen years or was it what we call free will which we all exercise as humans.

I have written of my first marriage and the birth of my daughter which you can read about here: I met my best friend for life when I married my first husband, she is still with me today as my confidant, cheering me on as I move forward here in Colombia, happy for me and what I have accomplished. Isn’t this the way we should be with our friends? Supportive, honest, and loving? I know nothing will come between us, as she is the sister I always wanted, the person I go to for advice about anything, and she is non-judgmental, which applies to me also.004 I really do not gossip about others, even those that have hurt me. If I have something to say, I say it to the face of the person and it is between us only. During my many years on this earth I have acquired and lost friends, some dropping from my life without notice as I raised my family, others being set aside because of treacherous behavior, and those who left from their own false judgments based on gossip or jealousy. Then there are those who have entered my life recently who are enriching me with kindness, support, and shared love for all living creatures of this world. People I have met through my website I remember watching TV on a standing television without a remote, and now I have connected with many through technology and I consider them friends in my new life of Colombian living! Lastly, the friends that I had lost contact with, finding me again (through FB) with their own tales of what occurred during the years we had not talked. What does it all mean?

I reflect on much during those nights of insomnia. I have one particular incident that bothers me constantly since my daughter’s funeral. When I was in my twenties before both of my marriages I had a friend. I considered her a best friend for many years. Her son grew up with my daughter as playmates he was almost 4 years older but we always did things together and when I married again, my ex-husband became friends with them both. They were always at our house, went on vacation with us, we called them family. The day Misha spoke of the incidents to me the sun was shining, my mood happy, my son in the car with us as we parked to go inside a store. “Mom he touched me where he shouldn’t have and had me touch him where I should not.” The air left the car, the words were inside my head but I could not believe them. The boy who grew up with both my children molested my daughter who had just turned 10, he was almost 14. He took her innocence. He did it while I was in the house with my 3-year-old son right there when he did it. These details came out during her counseling. The friendship ended. You would think that would be the end of this story but it is not. My ex-husband brought them back into his life when my daughter was killed. He brought that boy now a man to sit beside him in the front pew of the church next to my son. He placed the ex-friend in the pew behind where all my family was. My ex-husband had no one from his HUGE family attend except his sister. I stew on this question often; “Why did I not make a scene and have them removed?” I was in so much shock from her death is my only explanation, because I always stand up for what is right. It is something that really bothers me, so I am writing it down to get it off my chest. I wish I had approached the Priest and told him what this kid had done and I know he would have changed the situation. I did not and now I live with this inside me and will forever. I will never understand why my ex-husband did this. I know his motivation was to hurt me, but this was his daughter he disrespected at her funeral by bringing the young man who took her self-esteem during a time in her life when she should have been discovering who she was. He brought these people around my son again at a vulnerable stage in his life. It broke my heart, and during the whole funeral I was aware of their hateful presence. This was an act of treachery I meditate about often, and I never can find an answer to it. Sometimes there are not answers in our life journey, maybe we find out later when we are no longer living on this earth.

Many people were so wonderful during the week of my daughter’s death, I can not emphasize that enough. Then the funeral was over and they were gone. Poof, abracadabra, gone. Then me wandering the house with so many memories of my children, not just Misha, but my son, who was not with me much anymore. I remember that time vividly. It was awful. I still was going through the divorce from hell, and now had the huge stone of grief carried upon my back, carried with such sadness because my daughter left many angry about her death and I was the person they all took it out on. Now all those people (well most of them) are my friends because they realize I had nothing to do with the actions of my daughter in the year preceding her death. If anyone was asked they would say “she is not consumed with her daughter, but her death has changed her.” I actually went to a retirement luncheon the year after she died, full of much anticipation to see people I had not seen in a long while who knew what had happened. I was shocked by the reception of people I knew for years. I was barely spoken to, I was ignored by friends of many years, it was cruel. I then started putting things together and I realized that the people who supported me during Misha’s funeral and death really did not like me. It was clear. It was awful. I will never go back to a retirement luncheon again because I have enough of my own grief and sadness to last me a lifetime and I do not need other’s to place their preconceived perceptions on me also. I had a friend for years that I always notified of my arrival back in the States, who never really responded. Out of some sense of guilt I kept contacting her because she was wonderful during the divorce and the death of my daughter. Then she just changed. The last contact with her was me asking if she wanted to meet myself and another of her friends for lunch when I arrived? Her response? One word; “maybe” that was it she is out of my life.

So that is enough of the negativity, let’s talk about the good things. A very dear friend who was my maid of honor in the wedding of the father of my daughter recently contacted me through Facebook. We have reconnected and I see her and her husband as part of my life forever. They are making plans to visit Villa Migelita. Her husband still calls me “Missy” my nickname from childhood. Another friend also has reconnected, she a flight attendant with so much of the same stories of her horrific divorce. Then there are the flight attendants who admire what I have done, not knowing me well but asking to be my friend on Facebook, and the flight attendant friends who never have left my side during this journey of life I am on, never judging always supportive. They know who they are. I love them. Me, well, I am real excited about the Bed and Breakfast I will soon open, just like a new chapter in a book. It is my life; good or bad. I am struggling every day to get past Misha’s death, but I am winning.003

For those who follow my blogs, the trial for the killer of my daughter will take place starting June 2nd. My trip and subsequent publicity made a difference.