I know I should only share one photo but I never can because I have so many I want to show all my followers. This is more than just a photo challenge for me. It is my life in Colombia. Recently, I started riding my bike through the mountains again. I have had some falls. It is a lot about my Vertigo (I have balance related Vertigo), and it is also that I am riding with experts. They say “Hey Michele, you can do it!” Even when I fall so much it makes me frustrated!
I even shed a few tears the last time I rode with them. But I did it. Enjoy these photos, because I worked really hard riding around rocks, cow poop, branches, barbed wire, and cows.
With the last photo I say “hey even though I fell a lot and still have some bruising on my body, I will be doing this again soon. There is nothing like riding mountain bikes in Colombia. We all do this sport here. It doesn’t matter your age, height, weight! Just get on and ride. Oh and try not to break anything!
This photo says be you, be happy, enjoy any moment in time when you feel happy, Chat, share secrets, laugh, whisper, live in the now. Celebrate life, celebrate being unique. Celebrate you. Celebrate friendship, develop culture and travel experiences. Don’t allow the negativity of the world to undermine your happiness, nor allow any person to change the way you feel, act or think. This photo conveys to me a shared moment in time. An innocent moment that we all can achieve, if only we stopped comparing ourselves to others. We can never live perfectly, but we can try to live peacefully. This photo captures that.
Everything is shiny in my life here in Colombia at Villa Migelita. Lately, my dog Marley has become the shiny object in my life. He is old and he is still doing OK. I want to share a story from yesterday that made me realize he knows he is growing older too.
We needed to bring Orion to the Veterinarian because he has allergies. Marley came out and saw Orion in the truck. I said “Come Marley, back to your house” he ignored me and when I opened the door he jumped right in and sat in the front seat. I say “Marley we are going to the Vet and you need to get down.” He jumped to the backseat with Orion and sat down. I realized he wants to be with me every single second he can. I understand because dogs just know. I said “Ok, you can go too.” He relaxed and went along.
He was my shiny object for the day and for the rest of his life. His years are numbered. I don’t know how old he is. He has been with me since 2008 before my daughter died. He is the gentlest, most special dog in the world. According to me. I know we all have our dogs and think the same. But yesterday made my heart smile. Orion had to be put in a room by himself because Orion does not like animals not in his pack. Marley was able to explore the farm of my friend and veterinarian.
He was so happy. We went off to look at a cow that had a problem, and we left Marley to himself. He was so happy. He was with me, and he was on an adventure. He also had a little check up too. All is fine with him and he is still strong, I just can’t take him on long hikes anymore.
So my Marley is the shiny object in my life for the next years. I will treasure each moment with him, and I will listen to him when he asserts himself. He had an adventure without a hike yesterday and he was very happy for that.
So when his life comes to an end too soon, I will remember him jumping in the truck and saying in his own way ” I need to be with you more!” I will listen!
Some beautiful photos of different textures from my life in Colombia. I just adore these photos. They capture nature and happiness together. My life is perfect as an entrepreneur and tourist guide to all that Colombia is. Follow me at @Villa Migelita Instagram, or on Facebook at Villa Migelita and of course my blog. I have the most amazing friends and adventures. Enjoy!
The friendship of an animal is the best friendship one can have. I have wonderful friendships with humans but my love of animals surpasses these friendships. Animals give such unconditional love. This photo of San Francisco de Asis (Francis of Assisi in English) was taken in Silvia, Cauca, Colombia. He is the protector of animals and founded the Franciscan order of the Catholic church sometime in the 1200’s.
I brought five animals with me to Colombia when I moved here in 2011. I have two left. My precious Marley and Franchesca the cat my deceased daughter gave me as a gift. They are both old now. I also have my parrot Luci, two ducks (with ducklings on the way) and dogs. Orion is the king of Villa Migelita. Here are photos of some of the animals that live at Villa Migelita. They are part of the farm experience when visiting my Villa.
Getting a Visa is not hard in Colombia, but recently I went through some major stress trying to get my residency here in Colombia. All Visa requests now need to be done online, this is where the stress came in. I had to enlist my friends for help. A form that says takes only 15 minutes to complete took over two hours by an expert. I ended up getting several messages back from the Cancilleria in Bogotá requesting more information, different file forms which can only be a certain number of megabytes, you name it they asked for it! I ended up coming in 4 days short for the Residence Visa, but my Pension Visa was approved quickly in about two hours. That was a major relief as it took so much time for the residence application, I was down to 5 days before my current Visa expired.
Once the Visa was approved I needed to fly to Bogotá and pay the 211$ fee while getting the stamp on my passport. I was so relieved to get this process over with that I was really excited to take a short trip, visit tourist spots in Bogotá and have some fun. It was last-minute as I thought I was going to have to get an extension on my Visa. So I called my friend Monica hoping that she could come with me even though I only gave her two days notice. She teaches English here in Palmira, Valle del Cauca. She is my friend and my teacher of Spanish also. I can converse one on one with most anyone now; but when it gets complicated I need a translator. Not only is she the best at that, but she is also so much fun, I felt like I was on a layover again!
We took off at 11 am and landed quickly at the BOG airport, a short hop from Cali, Colombia. I had made reservations in a quaint hotel near the consulate and areas of interest I wanted to see. We had a short 24 hours to have fun, and arrived early despite the traffic of Bogotá, our room wasn’t ready yet. We were not concerned and just checked our luggage in, and took off to explore. The first place we went to was Usaquen, a barrio in Bogota that is so delightful and full of treasures to explore and to buy.
We were beginning a fun adventure in Bogota, and I cannot stress enough how pleasant it was. I was with my friend, enjoying myself and getting rid of the stress of over a month of trying for my residency. I want to emphasize to those who are considering Colombia for retirement, they will welcome you, but it is all about rules. If you don’t comply they don’t give exceptions..Simple, but in a way reassuring. I know that my new place of living does the homework it needs for anyone entering the country.
We were shopping and sightseeing and entered the church in the main square of Usaquen. I lit a candle for my daughter immediately. I do this often in any church I see that is open to the public here in Colombia. I was raised as Catholic, but I identify as spiritual; that being said I don’t want to identify as a specific religion. I know there is a higher power. You need only go to my Facebook page Villa Migelita to see my many videos of hummingbirds coming to visit me, while I rescue them. I believe it is my daughter showing me she is with me still. I love that I get these signs! There is no other way to explain what happens.
The actual church was not open. I sat silent for a few minutes contemplating about Misha and where my life has taken me since her death. I think I have done well. I have a Bed and Breakfast hotel and I have peace. I have the knowledge of someone who believes in the Universe. I know there is another dimension. I don’t care who would try to argue this point with me. Nor do I want to go into what your religion is. I know. I have the signs.
The photo above was taken while looking at the street art in Bogota. I see the light in this photo and the beauty of the this light, can you? It was a wonderful end to my day when I went to look at the photos I took while visiting Bogota. It is surreal. It is mystical, it is full of a presence. I know my daughter was with me after lighting candles in the churches I visited.
I know Misha heard me talk to her that day as I visited these historical churches,including the famous mountain of Bogota, Monserrate. She knew I needed this Visa to stay in Colombia. She helped me; I will admit I went through some sleepless nights, and told her about them in my prayers. I usually go to Florida to the embassy in Miami to get my Visa. This time I didn’t because it was for my residence. I learned a lot, enjoyed Bogotá, had a wonderful time and now have a year to apply and get my residence. I always say things happen for a reason and we must accept them. Even death. We must show others that we can continue, despite the sadness we might endure. We need to be strong. I am enjoying my life as an expat in Colombia. The USA needs to stop this nonsense about immigrants ( I am an immigrant in Colombia) and start accepting other cultures. Enjoy and travel..do what you need to do to love your life. Stop reacting and start welcoming others to your country , even if they don’t speak your language perfectly, or they have to learn your culture. They want to live and start a new life like I have in Colombia. I believe it should be easy for anyone to live anywhere if they have proper documentation.
We might never agree on everything, but we can live peacefully wherever we are. Peace out…and love sent to all of the world.
Why is it so hard to apologize when you are wrong? I often wonder this in my musings and meditations. I have a lot of acquaintances, but only a few I consider friends. These are friends who are with me when I need them. Some who show up out of nowhere, just because they heard I have trouble. People whom I have never had a harsh word with, nor have I ever had a snide comment from them to me or me to them. If they want to tell me something, they do. I listen. If it is not something I want to hear, I still listen. I take it under consideration and I learn from their advice. After all they are my friends and their advice is worthy of consideration. Always. I love them. They support me, even when I up and move to Colombia with a younger man. They support me because they see I am doing well. They support me because they are proud of me. They just support me. This blog is for them. I can’t put everyone here…but I will put a few. Because I appreciate all they have given me in life. I love you all very much. You know who you are. Some are newer to my life, some have been with me and my adventures since I was a mere kid…some I lost touch with but they found me because they missed me. I have found some of my old friends on my own also. I have no words to say except thank you. This blog is for all of you who have never spoken an unkind word about me, who have been there for me through my best moments and my most horrible moments. You are really wonderful friends.
So if you need to apologize you should. Life is short and apologies are sparse. If I offend someone I say I am sorry. Always. Maybe, just maybe this will change just one person out there who needs to apologize but hasn’t. Is it really worth losing a friendship, family member, lover, marriage over? I don’t think so. Apologies are a way for us to make things right again.