I have come to realize that spending time alone is my idea of perfection. Time doing what I want when I want to. Realizing I am comfortable without anyone talking, just listening to the sounds of nature that surround me. Reading, writing, studying, and accepting the simple life I have chosen as a very different alternative to my past life as a flight attendant, when I would be surrounded by over a thousand people a day when I worked domestic flights. Perfection to me is being alone and in harmony with myself.
Perfection is this photo of a simple home along a walk . A cat resting, a dog sleeping, and everything is so simple. The bamboo trees, the color of the house, the simple stables. The curtained window with the flower baskets hanging. Perfection.
Perfection is the beauty of the country with a river flowing, listening to the sounds of water rushing with my dogs next to my side. The rainforest sounds of birds and insects. Perfection.
Perfection is sharing part of my day with any of the horses or cows that greet me on my hikes. The life of a true minimalist. Perfection.
Perfection is quiet solitude when I study Spanish in the evening, or read a book that grips me immediately and I can’t put it down. While looking at the sunset, the mountains, and the home I have created here in Colombia. Perfection.
Perfection is seeing many flowers blooming at once. Something I never enjoyed in Florida. Exotic flowers, flowers that I would see for sale in the store but never live on a real plant. Perfection.
Perfection is a hummingbird sitting on a branch while I do Yoga looking out at the mountains and watching them flit right next to me. Perfection.
Perfection is a perfect sunset as a rainstorm approaches. Perfection.
Perfection is a butterfly on a branch as I walk by. Perfection.
Perfection is living my life as I see fit, not caring if others approve or disapprove, living my adventure one day at a time. In peace and happiness with my animals on my beautiful farm in the mountains of Colombia. Perfection.
My blog is about my life in Colombia plus some personal musings. I often share my thoughts on my personal problems but today I am sharing about the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. I live in a country now as an expat that has rebuilt itself from a horrible and violent past. I have also rebuilt myself in a way, not as violent as Colombia used to be, but certainly a tragic past with so much sadness I cannot get out from under some days. My daughter’s death rests with me in my soul always. I take the death’s of others really personal now. This happens when you lose a child. Every person in that nightclub in Orlando was someone’s child, sister, brother, friend and they were massacred by a man able to gain access to an assault weapon without a problem. This is when I have to speak up. I know some think “oh she left the USA and is an expat without regard to her country” which cannot be further from the truth. I left because of personal reasons and have found a better life in my pursuit of happiness. With my new life, I see a way of living which gives me so much peace and contentment. I might never get over the loss of my daughter, but I live without fear and with a great sense of accomplishment.
Why is it possible to gain access to assault weapons in the United States? I would think after the massacre of little children that legislation would have changed immediately. It didn’t. It seems the USA has become desensitized to the lives of people killed in these mass shootings. I see so many political posts from each ‘side’ about how guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Let us examine this argument. 1. Guns are designed to kill, no other reason. Way back when the constitution was written, guns are for killing our enemies. So YES guns do kill people, especially when any person can obtain one. 2. Second amendment rights: Why have assault rifles? They belong in the hands of the military, the SWAT teams, the FBI, the police, but not ordinary human beings. I truly believe a gun in your home for defense is fine, but not an arsenal of ammunition and militia to hurt others. This has to be reformed and I hope the Gay community can do it! I have never seen a better group of people in my life. I know, I grew up with them. They are harassed and persecuted for their entire lives. They live with condemnation every single day from hate filled people. They are still nice and non-violent. I started working as a flight attendant at the age of twenty. I had no one telling me anyone was ‘bad’ nor ‘good’. I decided for myself, and always have. The gay community are my very great friends. 3. We have regulations for driving our cars, for insurance on our homes and cars, for drunk driving, for living in any land including Colombia which I go to the USA every year to renew my Visa. I am now able to obtain a residency. Why not for guns? What the heck? Make the people by insurance for them at least! Why give killing machines a free pass? 4. I have a right to live my life with my granddaughter when I visit to the USA without fear. I no longer feel that way and avoid places that are crowded; such as movie theaters, any high-profile place such as Disney in Orlando, or crowded venues of any sort. Why should I adapt my life around people who want to parade their guns in public? I certainly would hightail my ass right out of any business that allows someone to open carry a gun!
My last words and not because I am condemning a culture. But I live in a controlled country that got rid of violence. They got rid of it with the help of the USA. Why then is it possible to mass murder others the way it happens every damn day in the USA? I have no idea, because I live peacefully, without fear in a lovely and very loving country now. I wish everyone could put aside political correctness, religion, racism and more an examine why they think it is OK for a terror suspect to actually buy a gun legally, even after being investigated twice by the US government? Do you really want an assault weapon that much? That innocent lives are taken? Because you know, no one has come for your guns, and your guns are killing people!
Yoga is to me what breath is to the body. It fulfills me and gives me peace. I was quite discouraged with life in general when I returned from the United States last month. I wrote about being misplaced, and apparently I find it hard to be one with the Universe when I visit South Florida. I write this with regret and want to make sure everyone understands that I have changed from what I was before I moved to Colombia, it is not really about the United States but more about who I have become. Yoga is part of my life force now, it keeps me sustained with energy and calmness. I thank God every day for my friend who came to visit me at Villa Migelita for opening my eyes to the wonders of Yoga. Yoga was very hard for me to do while in the United States, and that was my first clue that the peace I am used to here in the mountains of Colombia is not easily available to me while there. My mind couldn’t calm enough to let go during my Yoga time. Anyone who does Yoga knows this is the whole point of Yoga, besides the beneficial exercise. One must quiet their mind. When I was visiting Rhode Island, I had no problem doing my Yoga, it was when I came back to South Florida, that the drama began and I couldn’t let go of the thoughts that were whirling inside of my head.
So when I wrote my recent blog I was in a different place, a place where I was truly disgusted with people’s actions. I was sad, disturbed and really alarmed about certain things that happened in the world around me while visiting the USA. It seems people feel I have rights to change things with my granddaughter, but I don’t have a lot of rights. I DO have an agreement until my granddaughter is 18 and it is ironclad. I will fight ANYONE who tries to deny me my rights to visitation, and I can actually have them held in contempt. However, when I hear things or see things that are unacceptable to me all I can do is speak up. Which I do quite readily now, much to the dismay of others. That is where I have changed another area in my life. I have no problem saying what I mean to others anymore.
When you marry someone who used to be a good person but slowly shows they are bitter and very much verbally abusive it can make you a person that is meek, without the courage you once had in another period of your life. That is what happened to me during my marriage. I became quiet about things I should have spoken up about, and I should have left much sooner than I did. I am constantly asked by many how I ended up in Colombia. I think that I knew deep down that if I didn’t leave I would lose any semblance of respect for myself, as my ex was stalking me and watching my every move. My son would not adhere to the visitation schedule and had been alienated by my ex-husband to a very extreme extent. Friends who once really thought well of me looked and acted differently to me. I know it was because of gossip, and maybe my paranoid behavior to a certain extent. After all, I had tried to get divorced two times and the second time took almost 3 years and it was a nasty affair even though it could have been done and settled rapidly. It wore me down. I gave custody to my ex because I couldn’t put my son through anymore fighting and ugliness. Also my son would not stay with me like he was supposed to. I had therapists coming to the house to help him deal with the loss of his sister, but when he was with my ex husband they wouldn’t let them inside the house. I know that I was the better parent but my son was 15 and there was nothing I could do to make him stay with me during my visitation. He was allowed to do what he wanted and it hasn’t turned out so well for him, as I know if he had been with me his life would be so much different now. He would be in a much better place and have a much better life plan. That time of my life was so bad, I still have dreams of trying to escape all the time. Strange dreams with people in them that are chasing me, people who were really mean to me then. Disturbing, realistic dreams of the trauma I went through showing up in my psych like a horror fiction novel. I open my eyes in the morning and look out to the mountains and hear the birds singing and breathe a deep sigh of relief, and this is 5 years later. So you can imagine how going to the United States affected me this last time. It made me remember things I am trying to move on from.
I will never not go back, because of the love of my granddaughter. She is my angel that is the good in all of the bad that has happened in the past years. She is a sweet, loving child caught in the middle of a bunch of very horrible situations. Myself, and her other grandparents, along with her loving aunts look out for her well-being, but her father does not which is very upsetting as he is her only parent because my daughter is dead. He is back in jail and that happened while I was visiting this time. He violated probation and his chances of getting out again are not good. I am angry at him. I did so much to help him when he was in jail this last time. I wanted my granddaughter to have her only parent in her life, and when he served his prison sentence recently she changed. She was sad of course, and she understandably wants to have parents like other children do. So when he was arrested while I was there I was furious. He told me he made a mistake, but to me it is not a mistake when his child is left parent-less once again. He then was calling her on the phone and saying he would see her soon, which I knew wasn’t true so I told her the truth, much to others dismay. She needs to know that all adults don’t lie to her. I do hope by some miracle he gets another chance and the judge at his hearing will let him out of jail, but the odds are against that.
I wonder sometimes why my life is the way it is. I would love to be growing old with my children around me, and my grandchildren visiting. But that is not my life plan. I am never going to have that. My own son recently contacted me, but he did so to find out whom I am leaving my Villa to. It was not because he missed me as his mother, but because he wanted something from me. The only thing I want to give my son right now is good advice, love and encouragement to become a strong and independent young man. If I see that change then I will consider what I will leave to him based on responsibility and life choices. He doesn’t want me to be a mother, he wants me to be his friend and not even mention he is now 21 and should be in school or working…which he is doing neither. I love him but I will not accept his choices. I will see him always, but I won’t allow him to berate me or use very bad words to me when I say something he doesn’t agree with. So he told me I had two dead children as far as he is concerned. It hurt, but not as bad as you would think it would. I just realize that what I am made of did not pass on to him. It is sad, but I have no control over his decisions. So I just do what I always do and go on with my life and what makes me strong and healthy. That is why I chose to move to Colombia, another country, to get away from all the bad that engulfs me while in the United States. I realize that only I can bring happiness to myself and cannot count on others to do that for me. I am still sad to be without the family I dreamed of having once upon a time many years ago, but it is just not meant to be. So I accept what I do have, a lovely life filled with my animals and nature in a beautiful place of peace. A peace that is so wonderful and of much comfort to me. When I breath while I do my Yoga I take in that peace and it fills me up with gratitude for what I do have, even if it is not what I envisioned so many years ago.
Life is a journey. A journey of love, loss and endless possibilities. Sometimes the unforeseen is better than the expected. If something doesn’t go as planned, that’s OK, let flexibility become part of your path. Out of many unplanned moments I have found such joy and rewarding experiences which have brought many firsts to my life. As the years go by you might not remember exactly what happened to make a memory, but you will always remember how an experience makes your heart feel. Even the most perfectly planned out days can change and when you try to control everything you end up enjoying nothing.
This is a story about two days. The first day started after I learned I had a new neighbor from England who lives high in the mountains near my home. It is a long hike along a steep narrow path to his farm. It is the kind of hike that you need to have a lot of water, and you need to rest on the way up as the altitude is so high your breathing becomes labored. A lovely hike filled with incredible views of the mountains that surround my home Villa Migelita. On the way up there were so many butterflies, while the birds and their calls were enchanting. We passed the home of the neighbor and saw him working in the field but did not want to disturb him so we continued up further to explore.
We then started back down the path and called out to a worker to see if the owner/neighbor was busy. He was, but he took time to meet us and show us around and tell us about the plans for the farm. It was fascinating because he has no way to transport by car or truck. Everything is brought to his farm by horses. He wants to keep it that way because he wants to be free of societal norms and the constant intrusions that motor vehicles can bring. What a delightfully unplanned morning we had, which included being invited to lunch. Of course we protested, but he insisted and we sat down to a great meal and wonderful conversation. We made plans to come again the next day to ride horses to a nearby trout farm.
The next day we got up and packed a big backpack full of canteens and food. We actually felt it would be a long day, but had no idea that we would be so correct about this. When we arrived at the farm our new friend and neighbor was not there. His employee told us he is always there very early from his other home down in the valley of the mountains, which he rides by horse every morning and every night. We just did what we do, we went to explore another path we had seen the day before that takes us to a viewing area. We told the employee to tell him we would be back down in a while, and off we went. Three hours later we did get back to the farm, after such an incredible adventure. This hike took us all the way to the top of the highest point that can be reached from the mountains we were hiking. It was not easy, but we rested along the way and took in the views and the nature around us.
We rested a while at the top and watched a parpente take off and then started back down. Oh but wait, we got lost. It is easy to do this when you are so high up and everything looks similar. My partner is not the type that will not admit when he is lost and immediately noticed when we were, he located where we should be and he gave me two choices walk back up or across the fields which were a bit high with the grass and foliage. I also had to climb over barbed wire fences, two to be exact. I chose the latter. I had to step on the wire and lift my legs over and hop down. I did it. We found the correct path and we were at our friends farm in no time at all.
When we reached the farm we enjoyed conversation and some cold water while the horses were saddled for the next part of the day. We were going to the trout farm to investigate and decide if I will offer it to my guests who visit Villa Migelita. The horses were ready and we started down the path that takes us into the valley. This path is steep and rocky down to the village. The horses know it by heart as they take the owner up and down every single day. Beautiful views of the mountains, small little pueblos and their inhabitants greeted us as we rode along. It was delightful. We arrive at his home: the beauty and serenity of the homes in the countryside are outstanding, along with the peace. A lake with geese, a home that had a porch that surrounded the entire house and perfect temperatures that can only be found in the mountains. We all then walked to the trout farm to find out that on Saturdays they allow you to fish but do not cook and serve the food. Another curve ball as we all were hungry! So my friend called his mother who said she would make us food at their home. We ran into another friend and stayed and had a couple of beers and chatted. It really was nice. It was getting late by now and I was beginning to worry. This is where the big decision comes into this story. I have vestibular vertigo, it is better and I live my life with it and don’t tell people much about it anymore as I feel I have conquered it as best I can. However, I was not going to walk down the steep path from his farm to our motorcycle in the dark. I just couldn’t do it. I had to tell my friend about my disability. It was hard as his mother was making a nice meal and we needed to go right then for me to reach the farm by horses before dark. I was so impressed with his compassion and lovely solution. He served us first, along with his employee and sent us on the way with the horses. His employee would take us all the way to our motorcycle on the horses. Relief filled me up immediately, but then I began to worry about what else could happen.
I am a worrier, I admit this. This story is not over because these horses knew the path we rode to the village and his other home: but they had never went down the way we walked up. I asked, because that is what I do. I never leave anything to chance. The employee was don’t worry these horses are well-trained (they were!) and we will be fine. I pictured in my mind the path I had walked this morning with a coral snake that slithered by as we hiked. Yes, I never see snakes but I saw one that morning on the way up. I thought about how crazy narrow the path is, I thought about my horse falling with me in the saddle. I basically thought every negative thing you can think of. The alternate reality was making me feel anxious. Then we got to the farm and I looked out over the mountains and saw the sparkling lights of Palmira shining and I just let go. I gave myself into this experience of riding a horse in the light of a full moon. I loved it. I did have some spots that were a bit scary. My sweet horse would stop, she was that smart. I would direct her which way to go and she would continue. I had to duck from branches a few times, she did stumble but she corrected herself. It was an experience I will hold forever in my heart. A first in my life. One I would never have chosen, but an experience of a lifetime. I will become old someday, and I will recall that night I rode a horse in the light of the full moon down a steep path. I will never have anyone say to me I didn’t live my life to the fullest, because I have. I have fulfilled many dreams, but riding a horse down a steep rocky mountain path with no lights, just the moon would not be something I would say I would want to experience. Later though, when I was in bed falling asleep, I was filled with pride in my accomplishment. The alternative would have been to walk and there would be no way I would have done that.
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.
If 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.