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

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

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 Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia, expat life, nature, Nature Symbolism, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Sunsets at Villa Migelita

I have my daily routine of studying Spanish when the sun is setting at Villa Migelita. I sit on my third floor in my sun room and I watch the every changing sky. It is magnificent. I have never enjoyed sunsets as much as I do here in Colombia at my own house. I have a clear view of Cali, Colombia which is an hour away and the Valle del Cauca.  I watch the sky change while the lights of the city of Palmira and Cali slowly burst into my skyline. It is breathtaking. I also watch the 6 little bats that live in my basement come out and eat insects with the beauty of the sun going down. So enjoy some of my favorite photos of my sunsets over the years of living in the beauty of Colombia.

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, animal rights, Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia, expat life, minimalism, nature, Nature Symbolism, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized

An Avid Photographer of Nature

Out and about at VM 003
Chacalaca bird in bamboo tree
Out and about at VM 005
A river on my hikes
Out and about at VM 013
One simple butterfly
Out and about at VM 018
a cow
Out and about at VM 019
who is very comfortable with me
Out and about at VM 021
One lone piece of bamboo

I am always hiking near my Villa . I can’t give an exact amount of days per week. It depends on my hair. Yes it does. I am after all still a woman who likes my hair and nails to be  perfect, even if I live in the Rainforest. Yes, I am revealing something about myself. I usually walk on days I have to wash my hair. OH, so you think why do we need to know this? Because you do. I live in the forest. I am not always interacting with others. I like being alone. I like reading, I love writing and I love my space. I really love being alone. I worked for years as a flight attendant. I don’t care if I hear a bunch of people complaining ever again!

“Worry less about what you want to be, and more about what you want to do.” – President Barack Obama in Chicago today. I love this quote because it describes me and my life to perfection. I want to be successful in my small business. But if I am not I can accept that. I want to be immersed in nature as an avid  photographer. I love getting up early and going out on my own with one of my dogs to walk and photograph the beauty that surrounds me. Photography is part of me. I am part of the photos I take on my hikes. I see people and talk to them. There is no such thing as a Colombian who ignores someone they pass, whether in an office, or on the street. Even if they dislike you they acknowledge you. I find that a wonderful way to live. What is the use of hurting others? With that I share some photos of my life around and about as an avid photographer and the life I lead as an expat.

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A New Bar at Villa Migelita

<a href=””>Oops!</a&gt;

Everyone who follows my blog knows I live in Colombia, South America and own a Bed and Breakfast called Villa Migelita. I opened it last year and we are doing pretty good without a lot of advertising besides my Facebook page , Twitter, and Instagram account. I never post oops pictures because of my business, all has to look great of course!

Before anything was done at Villa Migelita
Villa Migelita photos 002
Villa Migelita in 2015

Villa Migelita is adding a bar next week. I have a partner who is a designer. He has made my farm into a beautiful place. We were recently featured in International Livings Incomes Abroad 2015 ( scroll to page 8), and it was an honor! So now business is picking up and it is time to not just be a house but a real hotel! We are quaint and cozy. Guests wander the grounds and our house freely. I have even woken up at 5 AM to smell coffee being made in the kitchen by a guest. I love it! They feel “mi casa es su casa” and it is true, my house is their house. We offer very personal service to our guests. The way Villa Migelita looked when I first bought her was a place with potential. It has been four years of constant work and updates.

Yesterday we went looking for wood for the new bar. It has to be in keeping with the plan and design of my house which is  minimalist. The bar will be simple but functional. I took some pictures yesterday at the place I had bought furniture before, but they weren’t ‘post worthy’ …LOL. I stayed in the truck because it saves me money. If I am seen, gringa that I am, the price can go up significantly. I took some photos from my vantage point and they were not great, but I am going to show them.

As you can see it is not pretty nor can you tell how beautiful the furniture will be.

Therefor, I share a photo from my house of what this old wood turns into. I must add because I am a nature person and do not believe in cutting trees down for no reason this furniture is very old, thousands of years old to be correct. They dig into the ground for old tree trunks that have died and fallen by themselves. Perhaps through mudslides, or rotting but not just taken down for no reason. I see this often on my hikes here in Colombia. These last photos are a preview of the furniture and how it looks when I have a good picture.

So next up is the bar, which I will share at some later date. Just for grins I will show you the empty spot where the bar will be. It is another photo just for me, but since you want oops here it is. Empty space for new bar

No photo shop, just the beauty that surrounds me. I am very excited to see it all put together. Maybe this is the start of another venture. Not just a bed and breakfast but a place for Colombians to spend a bit of time and dance a little salsa.

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Colombia: I have never been happier than being one with nature.

Magical day in the mountains of Cali 097
Just checking out the cattle, and enjoying my view

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.” This photo captures all about Colombia and how nature lives with man so peacefully. This is an American Bald Eagle who for some reason has made its way down to Colombia. I will never forget stopping quickly and getting these photos of nature interacting.

My real love in life is animals in the wild. I love to see the birds that fly outside my panoramic view windows that surround my suite every morning. The sounds of their calls carry with me all day. My happy place is Villa Migelita. I worked my entire life to have this beauty that surrounds me. It is always there, I don’t worry it will leave me like it has in the USA. Colombia is still fresh with nature and rainforests. If they start building like I see in the United States, it won’t be for a long time. So, I leave you with a photo of my home. Come visit us here. We offer peace, nature, tranquility, luxury rooms, and wonderful food at amazing prices. I am on Instagram now too. Please follow me there for photos of my life as I enjoy my days. Life is amazing, I have found nirvana. You can too. Just give Colombia the chance it deserves. I have lived here for almost five years now without problem. Come see the Magical Realism of a country that is undiscovered by most travelers. You will not be disappointed.

Ricardo job, lake, luci and tarantula 021
Villa Migelita

My final thoughts on this little eagle, he left the USA because all of his natural areas are being taken from him. Let us appreciate our wildlife; let us save the environment.

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Choices, Chances, Changes. I Did It. You Can Too.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take a Chance on Me.”

The 3 C’s of life: choices, chances and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. Unknown~

xploring 011
This is me on a hike in La Buitrera, Colombia on my 57th birthday. The mountains were my solace when I first arrived in Colombia. The views were my happiness. I felt a peace I had not known in a long time.

The first time I read this quote I remember thinking that I was a living example of these words. I had made a choice, to take a chance and move to a new country, and change what was wrong with my life situation. It was a very sudden choice that I didn’t really contemplate like you would think I should, and it has worked out well for me. I really didn’t think a lot about what it would entail. I am sure most people think I was crazy to move to a foreign country without knowing the language, nor the culture, but I did it. I am loving life here in Colombia 4 1/2 years later. It is a life many strive to achieve but never actually do what they need to do to get there. I think desperation drove me to a place that made taking chances not so alarming as they normally would be. I was sad, hurt, and misunderstood by many people.  Gossip and innuendo followed me and there came a point that I just wanted to escape the hell I was living in. So I picked up and moved after I visited beautiful Colombia.

It has been a journey. I have had incredibly wonderful moments, frustrating moments, and learning curves. I am a firm believer in living in the now. I am still struggling with Spanish. It is not so easy to learn a new language. I can comprehend most conversations now, I can watch a movie in Spanish and understand, but I still struggle daily with my verbal communication. Some days I can talk away like it is my second language, other days I struggle. I have always been a confident person, but speaking Spanish has made me timid. I realize it is a real feat to speak more than one language and I appreciate all who do. I also have learned to live simply. I am a minimalist. I do not have anything in my life I do not need. What a nice change that has become for me. I no longer shop unless I need something. My Villa is not cluttered. I no longer want a lot of clothes, jewelry, nor items to decorate that have no purpose. I just want simplicity in my life. I look to nature and my animals to find the love I used to seek while collecting a closet full of clothes, a jewelry box full of jewels, and a house full of the latest trends.  Nothing is trendy about my house. It is classic. I think of myself as classic too. I seek no-ones approval.

So now I continue on this incredible journey that happened so quickly with the opening of my Bed and Breakfast. It is a new exploration in entrepreneurship for me. I was always the employee and I am now the owner. I enjoy this odyssey I am on. I believe it will work out. However, I know life is one day at a time, there is never a guarantee. I struggle with that. I WANT a guarantee, but after I lost my daughter to tragedy I realize that this is just not possible. So I will keep on writing about my journey and hopefully when the reality of old age overtakes me I will have established a legacy that will show my commitment to an exploration of new beginnings.

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An Emotional Triumph

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Four Stars.”

This book is the start of a journey. Part cliché; An Emotional Triumph’s main character revolves around a middle-aged woman who gets a divorce and goes out on her own genre. But then it gets interesting. The daughter dies during said divorce and the characters show flaws that are not cliché but reality to many people who live with tragedy in their lives. She lives life with gusto that cannot be matched by many. She promises her deceased daughter that she the mother will live her life for all the moments the daughter will never have. She sells everything and moves with a younger man to a foreign country. She learns a new language, a new culture, restores a house and opens a bed and breakfast. She has setbacks after the death of her daughter, but she does not allow them to diminish her goals. She goes from being a one woman train wreck to the master of her own destiny. She is living in a peaceful environment with the beauty of Colombia as her backdrop. She has learned to forgive and move on. She has sadness in her soul but beauty in her heart. She has found her way in a life that was not what she envisioned. She continues living as a free spirit in a new environment; the love of animals and nature keep her centered. She prevails with a gentle heart that looks for the best in life.Taz , farm where wedding 077 This is a worthwhile read for those who seek change. This book shows that is possible for anyone to pick up and start over. This is the happy ending we all seek at some point in our lives, but cannot get the gumption to try something different, something new. This will make you think twice about how you view life and your surroundings.

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The Hummingbird Effect

The Yupik culture of Eskimos have a belief that the soul never dies; even those of animals. They believe that the soul continues on even though the body is no longer with us. Elaborate winter ceremonies emphasized the relationship among humans, animals, and the spirit world. Hummingbirds also have that spiritual effect; Native American birds, animal symbols and totems are believed to represent the physical form of a spirit helper and guide. The meaning of the Hummingbird symbol was to signify peace, love and happiness. I have plenty of hummingbirds all around me here at Villa Migelita. My video’s are many; the most viewed is here. If any creature on this Earth represents the eternal soul I believe it is the hummingbird, with butterflies being a close second.

So what is this hummingbird effect? I believe they are little jewels of nature. There are many of us hummingbird lovers out there. We find them fascinating and mystical, these warriors with the ability to capture our hearts when they buzz around us. They can fly backwards with tail feathers spread while fighting over their territory. They seem to have no fear, even of humans who stand right next to them at the feeders. They are better than any jewelry I have owned; their sparkle in the light of the sun is better than any diamond. They are here year round at Villa Migelita. I have many at once even when it gets a bit cool during rainy season. Wherever you sit at my farm, you will hear their clicking wings beating a thousand beats per minute and then you will see them. They will be in the flowers, or at one of my strategically placed feeders. They will pay you no attention as they go about their business of drinking the nectar they need to survive while also being a sentry at their particular spot which they guard with ferocity. Such fierceness. Such independence. Such delightful antics.

I recently opened my Bed and Breakfast here in the mountains of Colombia. I was not completely ready but my two visitor’s from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico wanted to come anyway and stayed in the room that I have used for personal guests. They had seen the Hummingbird video I posted above and it drew them to my farm. Claudia, who contacted me, insisted it was not a problem that we were not actually open yet. She had to come to Colombia; she had to see for herself what a wonderful country this is and meet the girl who had a hummingbird stay on her finger and not want to leave. My first guests were like these tiny miracles; they brought their wit, spirituality, and peaceful presence to Villa Migelita. The moment I met them in person at the airport I felt a common bond of friendship that only happens when you know a person shares many of the same similarities as yourself. It is the hummingbird effect! Those lovely little jewels opened up my heart when I first moved to my farm and now they have brought me the friendship of two wonderful guests whom I celebrate in this blog.

How fast the week went; too fast as we shared adventures that I have longed to show others who enjoy nature, animals, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful solitude. Colombia is a wonderful jewel just like the hummingbird. A country of diversity, with many departments and two coasts; the Pacific and the Atlantic. A quick airline flight gets you from any of the beautiful departments in Colombia, all unique, all with much to offer. Before they visited Villa Migelita they went to Barranquilla and the coast to whale watch and actually snorkel with the whales! The first thing they did when they arrived here was wake up early from the song of a lovely bird that sings every morning to all of us at Villa Migelita. A lovely song to greet lovely people! They wandered the farm taking in the hummingbirds, but also the beauty and peacefulness that Villa Migelita offers. We have so many birds and butterflies your camera needs to be ready at any given moment! We wandered to the river and came back to have lunch and get ready for Parapente. You can see them taking off here (one of the guests Norma was already in the air) and meeting up in the sky with Claudia for a majestic journey over the beauty of the mountains. A thrilling experience, which started in the park of La Buitrera with the fun play of a baby horse and it’s mother which you can see here. I was enjoying every minute. What a wonderful first day!

The second day was a visit to El Paraiso and The Sugarcane Museum. Wonderful spots with lots of beauty and history. The hummingbirds that inhabit my adopted country are all around anywhere we go, where there are flowers there are hummingbirds in Colombia. We ended up having a really late lunch due to the time we took visiting both spots. It is difficult to leave Villa Migelita in the morning because sitting outside is so enjoyable! We would sit and watch the hummingbirds and of course Luci my rescued parrot would be outside with us also. Colombia closes early during the week and we had to see both spots, so lunch turned into an early dinner.!10479658_729687763763959_3669262712560888376_o The third day was one of spiritual unity with nature when we visited La Chorrera the waterfall famous for healing. The park was empty; it was as if we had rented it out for ourselves. I have never been with a more entertaining person than Claudia who was introducing me to new music, a lot of fun stories and a great singing voice. She actually talks more than me! We had a traffic stop which are common here and she had the police officer so entertained he did not even look at our papers and was just interested in listening to her tell him how she was enjoying Colombia! I was laughing so hard when we left; I really have never seen anyone work the police like she did that day! She just is one of these people who has this aura all around them that attracts and generates good attention. We even had a donkey horse approach our truck at the entrance into the park of La Chorrera, which was in itself delightful. You can see it here and watch to the end because you can not miss Claudia break out in song! All went under the waterfall except me because of my vertigo, it is a strong stream of water and I was afraid of losing my footing. I did swim in the natural pool and we all had a lovely lunch. This video shows everyone going under the waterfall which legend says will heal you of all problems and cleanse your soul. Once again I thought of hummingbirds and spirituality because of two butterflies which stayed with us during the time we swam and enjoyed the waterfall. One was the famous number 89 butterfly which has my daughter’s birth year on the wings. We went later to the famous San Antonio area, a very trendy area of Cali for dining and shopping. Day 3 Cali La Chorrea 062 The church which dates to the 16th century overlooks the park and town. We wandered the streets shopping and ended having tapas in a lovely restaurant that reminded me of many European towns I have visited as a flight attendant. This restaurant had butterflies on the walls everywhere, including the one I feel represents my deceased daughter with the number 89 on its wings, it was another spiritual connection. I was beginning to feel that Misha sent these two wonderful guests to be in my life! We really enjoyed this restaurant with the ambiance of another era, complete with a theater that showed old movies and had posters from long ago.Day 3 Cali La Chorrea 077 Day 4 was to be horseback riding and then Nirvana the Natural Reserve, but we changed it up to go to Nirvana first. We did not leave Nirvana until it was almost dark. Horseback riding will wait until they visit again; which I have no doubt they will. Everyone comes back to Colombia once they have experienced the magic. We hiked to the very top of Nirvana and stayed to look at the view for a long time. We ran into one of the owners and visited his beautiful home overlooking the valley. When you reach the top which is only about a one mile walk (but feels like it is 10 miles!) there is a little tienda with beverages waiting and a view of Palmira Valle that is incredible. Day 4 NIrvana 032 The walk back down goes quickly and Claudia hitched a ride on a motorcycle of one of the workers. I laughed out loud when she passed me by! The restaurant is outdoors and you can sit under the Jade Orchids where you will see more hummingbirds; I like to think of them as joining us while we dine. The wings of the hummers clicking along with the camera’s that are always nearby. That hummingbird effect goes everywhere with us!

Friday came way too fast and my guests did not want to do anything but sit outside at Villa Migelita and watch the hummingbirds. I had told Claudia she would see the exotic long-tailed hummingbird with the white tip on its tail. She saw it several times and even got a good video of it while it drank from the nectar of the Heliconia. This particular hummingbird is not a regular at my feeders; it comes to the flowering plants only. She was able to get a video in the light of the sun showing the exquisite iridescence of its feathers. All of my hummingbirds look dark but when in sunlight they sparkle like jewels when the sun catches them just right because their feathers are like little prisms reflecting the light . They can have spots on their necks with emerald on the bodies, they can have red beaks or black beaks, they can have red tails, or long green tails with white tips, they have brown with a touch of green, and some have no color until the sun hits them. There are many species at Villa Migelita, this is the long curved beak hummingbird here. This hummingbird is different and exotic, and does not fight nor mingle with the others. It is a lone breed that is all over my farm. I have seen many other long-tailed species in Colombia; but not at Villa Migelita. It is quite cool in the evenings and some breeds need a warmer climate and can be seen at many places around Colombia. I have visited a lovely restaurant on the other side of Cali that has feeders hanging while you eat and the kinds of hummingbirds they attract are much more colorful than mine here at the farm. I do have one species called the White-necked Jacobin which is always around my feeders and quite different from my darker green hummers. They are bright blue with a white neck. 738408_575209955878408_954705281_o

The hummingbird effect is a real thing that many of you share with me. We know they represent spirituality. We know they bring peace. We know they represent all that is good in the world. I believe my daughter uses them all the time to send me signs. I think the hummingbird that would not leave was her; and that video has brought me my first guests to Villa Migelita. I also believe she is following me on my journey here in Colombia and wants my Bed and Breakfast to be a success. How can I fail with these little spiritual totems that surround me? I know I will have many more of you come visit Villa Migelita, because you want to see the hummingbirds while discovering the magical realism of Colombia. Colombia a little country with so much to do and see awaits your visit. We will welcome you with warmth and friendship. Come and see for yourself this beauty that is all around me. All you need to do is sit anywhere at Villa Migelita and hummingbirds will surround you. I have found what I want to do with the rest of my life; I want to share my lifestyle with others. I want to show everyone that there is still untouched beauty in this world, and I live it every day. 464863_4195992704093_2091212189_o

You can reach Villa Migelita at
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Lessons, Learning, Loving

I have lived on my farm in Colombia, South America for over three years now, and what a learning experience it has been! When I first moved into Villa Migelita, I was not pleased with the way life on the farm was turning out. I had moved from a house in a small thriving city that I could walk down and get bread in the morning, or go to the pizza place at night. I had access to a store with fruits and vegetables, most anything I could need. I had neighbors and family nearby. My quest for the perfect farm was fun. We looked a lot; it was interesting and the farms were all beautiful, but they all had something that I did not like or not suitable for my needs. Then one day I saw Villa Migelita. I knew from the moment I set my eyes on my Villa she was the one I had searched for. She was old; close to 100 years on this earth. She was in need of lots of renovation, but her basic structure was so perfect it reminded me of Italian Villa’s that I had seen during my travels as a flight attendant. Then I took some photo’s and one photo had an orb in the picture and I knew this was my deceased daughter Misha telling me this was my farm, the one I had searched for; a clear sign from her. I made an offer and soon was the proud owner of Villa Migelita.

January of 2012 was the month I finally accomplished my life long dream of retiring in the mountains, a dream I have had since spending summers in Tennessee as my children grew up. Villa Migelita had basic renovations completed before my move. Her rooms were all painted; along with adding large windows throughout the house. All the views surrounding her were magnificent. She still needed much work, but living there would be fine; or so I thought. My first months were a learning experience. Colombia has two seasons; rainy and dry. There is no real seasonal change here in my department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia. I loved the temperature immediately upon moving in. Very chilly in the mornings and evenings; enough to always need a jacket, but then by the middle of the day comfortable without a jacket and no need of air conditioning. The doors and windows were always open with the fresh breeze flowing throughout my home. My animals were thrilled with the wide open spaces they had to wander the farm, and the dogs loved the walks they took with me while I discovered the mountains and rivers nearby. Sounds perfect; but then little things started happening that I was not so happy with. The rain would cause mud, mud would be all over the house, patio and my laundry area as my dogs would walk in it and carry mud wherever they went. One day I was down in the laundry area and there were little worms everywhere! I was horrified. My gas water heater did not work with the plumbing and would either let out scalding water or not work and the water would be ice-cold. The first week I threw a tantrum of sorts after not having a hot shower. I look back at that morning and laugh now. It was a simple fix of just buying electric shower heads. The construction was ongoing, and I knew things would get better, however I was neglecting to see the beauty around me and focusing on the annoyances. Going to get groceries or going to a restaurant seemed a far distance now. I thought to myself “Could I have misjudged my love of solitude and life in the mountains?” I started to dislike the rain, even though I have always loved rainy days. I started to feel lonely, even though I have always loved spending time without a lot of people around. I started to second guess myself. Along with that I had not been to the States for a very long time and I missed my friends and family. I booked a trip to the USA to get a taste of my old life.

Going to the States was exactly what I needed. I was not used to the big highways and hectic lifestyle of the United States,I realized this the minute I drove my rental car on I-95 from Miami International Airport. YIKES. My first big wake-up was getting used to the traffic I encountered. I had lived in Colombia for over a year and had gotten used to small towns, simple living and nature. I will admit the Colombian’s drive crazy, but the roads in the city are small and when I drive I go slow and take my time; if you do not drive slow you will hit a bicycle, horse-drawn carriage, wheelchair, pedestrian or someone pushing a cart with fruits or juice for sale! Another thing I noticed immediately was no one really looks you in the eye in Florida (and anywhere I travel when in the States), nor do they say hello when you walk into an office or store. In Colombia it is considered impolite to not acknowledge others when in offices or entering any building or business. This is a cultural difference between the two countries. I had forgotten that the people of the USA are more involved with their phones and electronic devices than connecting to the world by smiling and even just looking up from their phones. I had been just like this when I lived in Florida, my phone was always in my hand wherever I went. I have a little phone now in Colombia, it is a basic Nokia you all had in the 1990’s! I have a pre-paid phone without internet in the States. I had completely lost the habit of constantly being online, I had changed from my old ways to a new way of thinking and living. I did enjoy running to the drug store, or going to the super stores of all kinds. We do have some huge stores in Cali, Colombia along with malls and huge construction stores in both Palmira and Cali, however it is never a short drive to them like it is in the States. I found the shopping fun while I was back in Florida, but again it was so impersonal. The crowds inside all the stores would make me feel anxious. This was new to me; almost like I had never lived and grown up in South Florida. How did I change so quickly and forget the way I used to live? Colombia was my way of life now and by returning to South Florida I was able to see this clearly.

When I came home to Villa Migelita, my animals were all awaiting me with such love. I saw that some changes had taken place with a fence being constructed around the patio to help keep the mud at bay when it rained. The garbage from all the continuing construction had been burned and taken away. The little worms that had appeared never came back. The laundry room had been organized and cleaned up perfectly, and it was huge. I now had a perfect place to feed the animals and keep cleaning supplies. I will admit that I missed a dryer when I first moved up to the mountains. In the small town where I had rented before moving, the house had a laundry area inside and the clothes dried quickly on the line. During rainy season it can take a couple of days for clothes to dry on the line. I got used to it, and now I would never even consider owning a dryer. I like the way I can just take my clothes right from the line on a hanger and put them in my closet. I also realized I was a minimalist now. I have no need for a bunch of new clothes or the latest electronic device. I am so backward I have no idea how to work an I pad and am just now considering buying one. I know that sounds funny to everyone, but it is how I live. My trip to the States gave me a lesson I needed to see. I really loved the life I now was living in the mountains and I just could not see it when I first moved into a house that still needed a lot of work. When I came back I had a learned a valuable lesson; I was not whom I used to be, I was evolving and sometimes when we evolve we need a wake-up call to see just that!

So now I am almost done with the last phase of construction at Villa Migelita. Villa Migelita has been a work in progress for 2 plus years. I have become one with nature. I have made my outside farm beautiful by hiring a farm manager that keeps the flowers and plants in perfect condition. I have a huge front entrance gate that will have a sign welcoming my guests of my soon to open Bed and Breakfast. The entrance road to my house is lined with blooming flowers. I have hummingbird feeders everywhere. I have two beautiful kiosko’s that are perfect places to sit and read a book, while hummingbirds buzz by you. Hammocks are all around to take a little siesta. My lake was repaired and the landscaping is now full of plants I picked out and they are flourishing. I have acquired a menagerie of animals, and they all leave peacefully with each other. The mud problem is no longer an issue; but my dogs do have dirty feet sometimes and I don’t care. They are my loves; they are my friends. I have learned to let go of things that took me a lifetime to learn. I have learned to let go and let be. As I write this I look outside at the hummingbirds feeding and resting on the lemon tree. I have no desire to return to fancy clothes, jewelry and cars. I do not think there is anything wrong with that lifestyle, I lived it for years. I just like this lifestyle better. I have learned to love solitude. I have learned to love and appreciate seeing a butterfly land on my finger, or a hummingbird fly inside to visit me, which you can view here. 89 butterfly 002

I have realized the longer I live here in the mountains of Colombia the closer I am to accomplishing my dream of a Bed and Breakfast. This dream was always in my thoughts when I first moved to Villa Migelita. I was always considering this dream in the back of my mind as I continued to update my home. Then one day I decided to go for it. After all I had been a flight attendant for years and I love people, getting to know new friends, and entertaining in my home. What better way to do that than to bring people to see what I have accomplished in a short period? To show others you can fulfill your secret desires even when faced with crippling pain like the death of my daughter. Now I am so close to opening, it will happen soon. I am ready. I have no more frustrations or second guessing. I have only optimism for my future. I have learned to love myself for the person I have become since the past sadness I have endured. I want to show others it is not necessary to let life’s worst circumstances take you down. My future is firmly embedded here in the mountains of Colombia. I will prevail. This is Villa Migelita now. This is the view from the 4th floor balcony which looks out over the valley. Marley bite, video's from hike and pink tree 022
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Villa Migelita is a two short months from completion. My website is with all the information in the tabs. I will have more pictures soon, but you can always look at my Facebook page Villa Migelita for continuing updates on the progress of the Bed and Breakfast and more of fun videos of my life and my animalsPicMonkey Collage in the mountains of Colombia.