Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, Colombia, Dogo Argentino, Entreprenuer, expat life, family, freedom, friendship, Happy New Year 2019, hip surgery, hotel, letting go, life lessons, love, Patience, Perfection and Peace, strength, Uncategorized, Villa Migelita Ecolodge

Musings on 2018 from Villa Migelita Ecolodge. Happy New Year 2019!

 

Happy New Year
Surrounded by lights in Cali, Colombia

Some musings from the year 2018 and how I have found patience to be my most valued possession. The year 2018 started off so wonderfully as I was leaving 2017 with success in my business and starting with customers in January. I had new-found independence. I was pleased with the way my Spanish was improving after two men who worked with me had left and I was able to start working with Jazmin. I actually felt comfortable in my home for the first time in years. Working with Jazmin in my business and having her as my assistant, along with her family as a support system totally changed my life.

Then, out of the blue, I was sued by the man I had been working with here in Colombia. He had already been given a liquidation amount for his time working at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. In Colombia, apparently it is OK to sign off on a liquidation agreement as a paid employee, but then sue me again for 1/2 of my Villa.  I had paid him a lot of money already and now I had to hire a lawyer to fight this ridiculous lawsuit. In the meantime, I had hired another man to work with me. He left without notice and broke his contract. The first  man who was suing me had not done any work with my customers or on the farm for over two years and was just living here, even though I had asked him to move out. I fired him with the help of the second man and a lieutentant of police here in Colombia.  I will always appreciate them, and I didn’t mind the second man breaking his contract as this forced me to change myself and my attitude of needing help with driving, translating, and dependence on others. The first man lost the lawsuit and was forced to pay court fees, and he also had to pay me for some of his things left at my house for over a year and a half. So out of this situation I found self-sufficiency.

I began chatting with my son again this year. I have found it very frustrating that through many attempts to make peace with my son, my ex-husband has found a way to hide truth from me and sabotage our relationship. My son who is an adult now also has to accept responsibility for keeping things from me, and he is old enough to know that I have always been a good mother, and someone who has his back. We were supposed to go on a cruise together in March, I even trusted his word enough to buy tickets for this cruise which he cancelled on me out of the blue. This cruise was the beginning of another bad episode. I brought my very best friend of many years with me on the cruise and met lovely people and enjoyed all three days. Before the cruise I spent a week with my grandchild. She was different also. Before when I would visit she was a delight and filled with joy and happiness. This time she was very withdrawn, quiet and even had an episode of extreme sadness and anger, asking why she couldn’t go with me on the cruise, who did she belong to and more. I had no answers as her other family told me they didn’t have her birth certificate, which I offered to get for Amaya. It is quite simple. I was then told they didn’t know her social security number, nor did they have papers for who had custody of her. In other words, they lied to me. They also didn’t tell me they gave Amaya away to a family Misha knew from her school years. Yes, I found this out later. I didn’t realize it is legal to just give a child away. It is in Florida. It is not legal to collect my daughter’s social security death benefits and not use them for Amaya, which they are explicitly meant to go to. I found this out also.

I met someone on the cruise the very last night and he seemed quite nice. He knew my friend from high school so I gave him more trust than I usually would with a new man. I realize now this friend new he was a con man, a loser and someone who doesn’t even have his own home. He was living at my friend’s house which he said was temporary because they needed help with a hotel they own on Hollywood beach. I visited with my friend and had no reason to believe anything was untrue as my friend didn’t tell me that he was in dire straights and they were helping him out. He came to visit me here in Colombia and brought gifts, paid for everything we did, and was quite charming. I had no reason to believe he was after me because of my hotel or what he assumed I had. I made plans to visit Amaya in June and see him again. My plans to see Amaya were thwarted. I was not allowed access to my granddaughter and this man put me in the hotel on Hollywood beach in a tiny little room and said he would upgrade to another room as soon as it was ready. I was miserable. I live in a mansion here in Colombia. This room was about the same size as my office here. The internet was spotty and I was sad to be in the same State as my granddaughter and not be able to see her. I also didn’t have a car because this con man was supposed to let me use his. I was very unhappy and cried for a day off and on. He dumped me, thank God! However, I stayed in Florida and rented a car and lived at different places waiting to hear from my lawyer about an emergency hearing in front of a judge, which did not take place. So I spent money I didn’t have, and it was a total disaster. Including seeing my son, which was not a great encounter either. As I am trying to find positivity in everything that happened this year, I will say that living in Colombia is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I am at peace here and I have many great friends and my business is fun also. I meet new people and enjoy new friendships.

Meanwhile, through all of this drama I found out I had a rare condition called CAM in both hips and would need surgery. I had to live in Cali, Colombia for one month after the surgery and I lost a lot of business because I was unavailable during the best months of August and September. I also had to do therapy full-time and could not participate in the many activities we offer at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I have great insurance here, and I didn’t have a lot of medical expenses, but I did have to pay for two households. I had Jazmin with me in Cali and I had her sister staying at my place in the mountains. To say I was thinking about that disastrous trip to Florida and the unnecessary money I spent is an understatement. The positive part about my surgery is this: I am completely healed, I had the wonderful support of my friends and of Jazmin and her family, and I can now participate in all activities offered at my hotel. I find that my clients like for me to accompany them, which I really enjoy also.

I had to also have a lot of work done on my Villa this year, more hits financially. When I returned to my Villa I was so happy to be back but was still dealing with the work being done and doing my physical therapy. However, I found myself enjoying my life so much because that short time I lived in Cali, Colombia made me appreciate how peaceful my Villa is, along with being a perfect temperature year round. I found myself relishing my time writing, watching my hummingbirds, Neotropical birds and enjoying the cool breezes that pervade throughout the house. I end the year feeling exhausted from having no contact with my granddaughter, the people who have her don’t let her call me, nor does Amaya have a phone number I can reach her at. I have been speaking regularly with my son, and I was feeling positive about that, but that ended recently when my ex-husband became involved. My son was supposed to come here and live for a while. I was really happy about that. Then I had a phone call with my ex and he gave me a list of demands that CJ needed, and frankly I found this quite absurd because my son is a grown adult and in our conversations we had discussed some things he would like and I would be able to accommodate him with them. I had also discussed how we live here in Colombia. We live quietly and peacefully. We live normal hours of going to bed at night at decent times, and getting up in the morning at normal hours. We are a place of order. Even the dogs know their schedules. I explained this to CJ and he was fine with that. I wanted him to start college online and would give him some outdoor chores that my gardener would oversee. I tried to explain to my ex-husband how to get a Visa for CJ so I could put him on my health insurance. I also asked if I could send Amaya a Christmas gift to his house as I am unable to communicate with her anymore. This is when it got ugly. My ex used Amaya as a way to blackmail me and to make me listen to his demands. I am no longer married to him, nor do I approve of the way he has raised CJ. He did the same thing with CJ when we divorced, it is called parental alienation. He is doing this with Amaya now. He knows she was given away, he is the executor of her estate, so he knows that Amaya is not getting the death benefits of our daughter Misha. He should be concerned about this, and he should take action that the money is used for Amaya only. So he ended hanging up on me, my son will no longer talk with me again, and I don’t know if my granddaughter received her Christmas gift which I know arrived at their home.

So I have decided Amaya will someday contact me when she has control over her life. She must be so sad that she is not chatting with me. I can’t imagine what is going on in her mind if adults are saying bad things about me. It is so damaging psychologically. I know this because it was done to my son. Many think I abandoned my son because that is what my ex husband said to everyone, it is not true. Now my granddaughter who has loved and adored me is being kept from me. Living in Colombia has made me realize that even when I am super sad, I can find joy in the little things around me. I am starting the New Year off with a houseful of guests here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge . I am busy, my hips are healed and I have Jazmin and her family as my family. Sometimes, we just have to accept the bad things people do to us and get on with our lives. That is what I have done since my daughter died. I am filled with joy every single day because we have a sweet new puppy Kira. She has been a light in the darkness that has followed me this year.

Kira has learned quickly because my other dogs are seniors. She follows their examples, and therefore is quite calm. She sits when they sit, she sleeps with Orion when he sleeps. She eats when they eat, and is quite orderly with learning potty training. She has really surpassed all my expectations of bringing a baby into the house with older dogs. The one who accepted her unconditionally was Orion. The others have followed suit because Orion is teaching her to be calm. She has been disciplined by the other two dogs a few times and has learned to not wake them up, bite them and to sit quietly by them if she wants them to be her friends. She is an exceptionally intelligent dog, her breed is Dogo Argentino. She goes places with all of us here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. She is leash trained and loves attention from everyone.

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Kira sleeping with Orion

Orion plays with her, and is so gentle. He has taken her as his own. I am so overjoyed by this, because he is 9 years old and I wanted him to train her to be just like him. She even follows him out when he barks at noises. She is learning from a pro! He is the most patient and loving father Kira could have.

So I end this year with jubilance in my heart. I have let go of the difficult year of 2018 and have a good plan for my future in 2019. I am going to let go and let be. I have learned since the death of my daughter and even the years before her death, we can only control ourselves. What others do is their decision. We all have free will. I choose to be kind, peaceful, and forever hopeful to have my relationship returned to normal with my beloved granddaughter and my son. Amaya cannot control her situation, but someday she will be able to. She will have all of our many memories made together during my times with her. She will never forget them, even if others tell her differently. I believe my son has all those memories in his heart too. I know he knows the truth about what happened during my divorce and Misha’s death. I will be covering all of that in my upcoming book. I will leave nothing out. I am going to write it down for both my son and my granddaughter. If they have been told one thing by me it is to never lie, to be strong and to show people who you are by the way you live your life. I live my life now that I am free of a bad marriage in a way that exemplifies who I am. I am transparent and without any kind of subterfuge. I want to share this with everyone. I want my lifestyle to show who I am. The unacceptable actions of others are theirs to bear.

I wish everyone who follows my blog a very Happy New Year 2019. I wish for all who have had a bad year to begin anew, just like I am going to do. Leave the past behind and head into the future with love and peace in your hearts.

 

 

 

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Posted in Awakening, child death, Colombia, Devastating sadness, Disappointment, Entreprenuer, expat life, freedom, friendship, Grief, happiness, love, Uncategorized

Sadness

Sad.  The word used to describe me recently was correct. To be honest that’s how I live inside my mind often, but I usually never give in to it. Even when I awake in the morning feeling deep heaviness of heart. I get up and get going, my mornings include watching my birds and hummingbirds: photographing and viewing them here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. It is not always about Misha,  although she is certainly part of this sadness. This feeling is something different. It has been pushed back, hidden deep inside my being. Like a child who has been abused and has no recall until years later. As I’ve written before I get through this life after her death because I try not to think about what has happened in my life since she changed at the age of fifteen. I’ve questioned whether it is healthy to just not think about it. I certainly have found out others pick up on this side of me of which I am not aware is being projected. I let myself feel grief when I didn’t see Amaya recently and I found out the true character of someone. I was hit twice in the gut. After a few weeks of searching for why, I realized what really hit me so hard. First of all it has been almost nine years since my daughter was murdered. Why is there this constant need by those who are part of Amaya’s life to continue to persecute me about what Misha decided to do with her life? She had free will. I was her parent who did not believe the choices she was making were correct. That is being a parent! Now these same people are hurting a child. I’m used to feelings of despair, I can handle it because despite all the negativity towards me I’ve gone on to create a lovely hotel and lifestyle. Amaya is a child, she should have nothing but love around her. All love is good love, from anyone who is part of her life. Amaya is not a reason to hurt others through revenge. Again, because all of the decisions Misha made in her short life were hers, albeit she was surrounded by really bad influences in high school.  I just tried to parent her as best as I could parent a rebellious child who was doing really bad things. Look for it all in my book, and believe me I will be sharing every single detail. It is a movie in the making.

So back to this new self discovery. I discovered I am mourning happiness. Moving to Colombia was a good move for me to get away from those who continued to harass me despite what they knew about Misha. I was their person to bully. I am no longer going to allow it. I am going to tell the truth to the world, and I know there are many families who have a Misha in their lives. Hopefully, you can let yourself let go of what you had no control over. When I let myself  feel sadness after I was not allowed to see Amaya  recently I let myself cry. I don’t cry much since Misha passed. Not because I’m embarrassed or trying not to. I just don’t cry.  I can watch a really sad show and not cry, I can see awful news about children being taken from their parents over immigration, I even lost my dog Bruno Mars while I was on my homeless tour of the United States and I didn’t cry. I realize this is not normal, but this is how I cope. I have become immune to a lot of bad things. I do react when confronted with wrong, but I never confront anyone, it is really hard for me to do.

So when I cried recently about being kept from Amaya it wasn’t this hysterical crying, it was  a day of sad tears and a day of talking out loud. Just needing to speak about the positive and negative things. I talked to those closest to me during that time, and I was also very silent and reflective. I then get myself back to the place I keep my sadness inside my mind. That place of not thinking about how horrible the human race is. This is why I love my place in Colombia, I am surrounded by animals and nature. They don’t do bad things on purpose. To hurt someone without reason.

Since I’ve returned to Colombia I’m back to moving forward. I’m doing my normal routine and feeling content. The thing that is missing is that happiness I felt after so many years. My book editor wrote me I’m mourning the loss of affection, because I’ve become my own best friend after so many years. Such wise words. I haven’t felt much happiness for a long time. I have felt contentment, I have felt love from my extended family here in Colombia, I am loved by my animals. But happiness is elusive. My other mother called me last night and she said “Michele, you have never allowed yourself to grieve properly, you keep looking for that happiness, it might never be there for you again.” She is right. I might never have it again, but I will have peace and beauty. I will have the love of the people I know are by my side. That is a wonderful thing. I can live with that. So my homeless tour was filled with lessons, and my other mother Laverne  said to me what I needed to hear. “Michele let yourself grieve, you never have. You have always been defending yourself against things you had no control over. You left and that was good, but now you need to let yourself feel that grief.”

She is right. I am writing it down in my book. It is hard. I have been remembering and discovering memories that cause me a lot of pain. I will get through this phase in my life, just like I get through everything, with grace and with patience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Birders, Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia, country living, Entreprenuer, expat life, farm life, happiness, hotel, hummingbirds, minimalism, mother nature, nature, Uncategorized

Go Someplace you have never been before. Colombia!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/tour-guide/

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.

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Just come to relax and do nothing at Villa Migelita Ecolodge

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.

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Marley with the view of the Valle del Cauca as the sun sets over the mountains

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!

antbird in nest

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A rescued Roadside Hawk
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My rescue parrot Luci
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Blue tanagers eating my bananas
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A juvenile hummingbird rescue at Villa Migelita Ecolodge
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Colombia has the most butterfly and bird species in the world

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.

Posted in Colombia, Entreprenuer, expat life, freedom, friendship, strength, Uncategorized

Flying to Freedom

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/growth-2/

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I am that hummingbird above flying to freedom

Growth for 2018 means flying free to me. Slowly, I am becoming independent here in Colombia. I wrote in my last blog that I have problems with trust since moving to Colombia. It is sad but true, when you are an American living abroad in South America, people try to cheat you. This is a fact of life here. I find those I really trust never let me down. But then there are the opportunists.

These opportunists are bountiful and they are very charming. What they don’t realize is I can speak and understand Spanish now. I can answer my business calls, I can talk professionally with anyone who calls as long as I tell them to speak slower. I can check out prices and I have friends in high places who really appreciate my love of the new Colombia. I am showing to the world Colombia is a place to visit and enjoy. A place I have made my home. I won’t leave and am determined to not let anything get in the way of my success.

With that I am going to continue my journey moving forward with pride and without worries of fortune hunters and gossip not worthy of my time.

Life is about living in the now, it is about your opportunities. So when I hear the word opportunist again, I will think of all the freedom I have here in Colombia to enjoy nature and my animals. I will think of the beauty of my hummingbirds. I will think of myself. You see, I have so many reasons to be grateful. Those who try to take advantage of my kindness and trust will learn there is steel beneath my surface. A real purpose to continue on in my quest to show the world what determination is. Stay tuned, I am only doing better with each encounter that allows me advancement with my personal experiences.

This blog is for those who want to give up because it is sometimes difficult to overcome the way others may treat you. Don’t give up, keep going. Use the determination of your power and strength to help others succeed. That is what I am doing, one day at a time.

Treasure the friendships you make, and learn from the times that you found out someone was not who you thought they were. Life lessons, we can use them or we lose them.

Michele and Lucia
Friendships are priceless

 

Michele Parapente 1
It took me 5 years to try Parapente, and I loved every second of this adventure!

 

Posted in Birders, Colombia, Colombian life, farm life, friendship, Macaw, mother nature, nature, Nature Symbolism, Uncategorized

Postura who Found her Human

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Postura is comfortable with her human or in a tree

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

Postura showed up at his house and she never left. He let her be. He thought it was a fluke, a wonderful visitor who just came for the mango, and other fruit trees on his farm. She was friendly and started to live in his trees. He never bothered her, but she came to him often. Eventually, Postura made her home at his farm in Colombia. She lives free, she lives without constraint. She decided he would be her human.

She travels around the pueblo of La Buitrera de Palmira, Valle del Cauca, Colombia and is often seen perching in the trees of the park. She goes to other farms, and they tell her human they have seen her. She never lets anyone touch her but her human. She adores him so much it can only be described as unconditional love. She laughs, she talks, she says Spanish phrases. She now recognizes me when I visit. She shows off like a trained bird, yet she isn’t. She is so intelligent and without any conditions she stays on her human’s farm.

Where did this special parrot come from? She must have known humans during her lifetime.

I know animals have a spirit sense. I have many special visits from hummingbirds that I believe come from the other world none of us know for sure exists. I am certain when I get visits from hummingbirds they are a sign from the Universe and the souls I have lost in my life. They might not be there for me to pick up the phone and talk to, but they are still with me. I believe Postura is that for her human.

I have a dog who would not accept a person who came into my life to help me with my business. It is unfortunate how she could not, would not accept this person. He left recently. It was amazing the transformation in my dog! She is so happy and carefree again. I have to take the quiet and often non verbal signals of animals seriously. She was telling me something and I needed to listen. Because you know what, she was right!

All of you who follow my blog know my Orion the Dogo Argentino. He is not feeling well today. He has been bitten by a fly and has skin problems from this. Actually, he has worms under his skin in  two places. UGH and gross right? But remember I am in Colombia and he is a dog on a farm. I didn’t know about the other place on his foot. He came to me this morning and was panicked. I followed him because I thought he needed to go outside to use the bathroom, but no, he went to my truck and wanted to get in. He never goes in the truck unless to the vet. He told me in his own way “I need help!” I have the veterinarian coming this afternoon. He will take care of this and I talked to Orion and told him the same, he is sleeping peacefully now.

When we have animals and are animal lovers we understand those signs. I highlighted that video above because you should watch it. It shows the same species of hummingbird that has visited me before, and it is going to all my special old family photos and special mementos. I know we have another side besides the world we live in. We have to accept this as humans. We need to realize that the animal kingdom sees much more than we as humans do.

Follow my blog because Postura the beautiful Severe Macaw (or Chestnut Fronted Macaw) has eggs she is sitting on right now. Maybe she has a mate, maybe not. Stay tuned.

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Postura

 

 

Posted in Colombia, Colombian life, country living, Dogo Argentino, expat life, farm life, minimalism, mother nature, nature, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Uncategorized

On a scale of one to ten…I give Colombia 10!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/scale-2/

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This cow, this window, these hats.

The scale of this photo through the window of a rustic farmhouse in Colombia is a favorite of mine. Look carefully. You have the shutter, the hats and the tiny cow. This cow was huge in real life. The window shutter looks bigger than it is and the hats are perfect because the proportion is exactly as they were. Splendid meshing of all elements. I am going to use this photo in my Villa. It is like I step inside a painting when I explore, I live a 3D life. I see three-dimensional views, and sometimes I can capture the beauty and sometimes I can’t. It is impossible to describe unless you are right here with me, but these photos tell my story of life in Colombia. Simple, lovely and in real-time.

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The Andes mountains of Colombia, and one tiny branch of bamboo captured in sequence

The scale of a photo shows up without warning. This photo below was taken  from below. My Dogo Argentino Orion looks huge, His head is huge, but in this photo the angle makes it look larger.

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That Dogo Argentino head!
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Tenerife, Colombia the clouds are bigger than the valley with homes

The ratio is incredible in the Valle del Cauca, Colombia with the clouds and mountains.

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The scale of the clouds overtakes the entire picture.

On a scale of one to ten I will give  life in Colombia with nature a twenty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in chaos, Colombia, Colombian life, country living, expat life, farm life, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Hanging Bridges, Motorcycles, People Walking, Buses, Rocky Roads,Trucks, and Animals. All are Pedestrians and that’s Colombia!

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

A series of photos that will make you smile. I always tell people living life in the countryside of Colombia is like living inside a painting. Photos cannot adequately display what I see in real life. Always a lot of color and beauty, along with views that literally take your breath away. The city driving is really crazy, but moving along the country roads exploring will take your breath away with the scenes that you encounter. Here are some photos of my life as a pedestrian along the back roads in the mountains.

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Public transportation and yes they hold on to the back of these little trucks
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Motorcycles are main forms of transportation, and dogs are always in the roads
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A produce truck that comes buy to sell to the locals
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The Chiva as it is called in Colombia
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Always people watching from windows the action in town
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Truck in the way as we pass
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They were loading long onions for sale