Posted in Colombia, Colombian healthcare, exercise, expat life, friendship, hip surgery, Journal of surgery for hips, life lessons, strength, Uncategorized

Fast Healing

There is something resilient about me, and it is a quality that I like about myself. When I decide I’m going to do accomplish something, I do it. Sometimes it might take me awhile but I do what I say I’m going to do. I also don’t dwell on negativity, bad energy, or the mistakes I’ve made in my past. I just get on with my life. We should always put ourselves first before anyone, so that we can enjoy healthy relationships with others. To love oneself, to respect oneself, and to achieve respect from others are great gifts in life. I have suffered, but through my suffering I have become very wise.

I have realized since I started writing my book that I cared too much about what others thought, and not enough about  what I need. Now, when I encounter situations that are unexpected, I figure out ways to fix the problem if there is one, or to embrace good news wholeheartedly with joy in my heart. I also have found what real friendship is since moving to Colombia. My friends in my tiny little pueblo have been contacting me every single day to see how I am. Some of the people who have contacted me I didn’t even know they knew I was having surgery.  I love this quote “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” Maya Angelou. I believe that I have people who truly care for me here in Colombia and I also believe I’ve earned the respect of many with what I have accomplished and continue to accomplish.

I don’t necessarily believe that the goal in life is to have unconditional happiness. I believe that life is about learning and growing. I don’t seek out anyone with persistence, in fact I like being alone with my contemplations. I allow myself to have space and time when I’ve made mistakes to ponder what I can do differently the next time. Oftentimes, it is listening to yourself and not letting others influence you in decisions that should be yours alone.

I wrote about being afraid before my hip surgery in my last blog. There is one thing I’ve counted on all of my life and that is exercise. I envisioned not being able to hike  nor do Yoga because of the rare hip condition I developed. Exercise is sanity to me. It is healing to me. Exercise is a habit I can’t imagine being without. As I write my book, l realize it is integral to everything that is part of my history, both good and bad. So I had a basis for my fear. Once again, I needlessly worried and my results have been spectacular. I have steadfastly done what the doctors have asked, including taking a lot of medication that makes me sleepy, and exercises that physical therapists showed me while I was in the hospital. I’m free of the pain in my hips and I have not even started my 20 days of special therapy ordered by my surgeon.

Yesterday l walked two blocks down the road to the hairdresser with my crutches, and of course Jazmine was with me. I was slow, it was a bit nerve wracking because I thought maybe I’m doing too much, then I walked back up the hilly road. Today, I could walk without crutches if I wanted to, but I’m not going to. I’m following instructions. I’m certainly surprised by my progress. I am hoping that perhaps I won’t have to stay as long in Cali, Colombia when my surgeon sees me next week. That perhaps he will release me after a short time of therapy here to finish physical therapy in Palmira and I can be back to my Paradise and my animals. If he won’t I am ok with that too. Oh, and this morning a hummingbird came to the feeder I put outside on the patio. If that isn’t a good sign I don’t know what is.

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My quiet little neighborhood 
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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 Awakening, Entreprenuer, family, friendship, happiness, love, Uncategorized

Waking Up to Love and Living at 60

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

What does it take to awaken from too much reflection on our past? For me it was a fun cruise with my best friend and a chance meeting in a Latin club on the very last night.

I went to South Florida to celebrate my 60th birthday on a cruise with my son. Unfortunately, he was unable to make the cruise nor was my granddaughter, whom I spent the week before doing all the enjoyable activities she likes to do. When I asked my best friend of forty years to come along and he said yes I knew my first cruise would be filled with laughter and enjoyment. I haven’t had a little vacation for myself in many years and I was really looking forward to this cruise. I wasn’t disappointed.

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Yes my hair is pink and I am loving it.

Michele cruise

That first night when I entered our dining room, my eyes feasted on the decor, the lights, the sounds of chatter of other tables. When I sat down and was handed the menu, there were items I had not tasted in a long time living in Colombia. Escargot, creme brulee, pastas with rich sauces, appetizers of such variety, and I could have whatever I wanted, not finish and try something else. Our seat mates were a variety of people but the silly Latins were a highlight of our first night and I started the conversation with them in Spanish. They then became our fun friends for the rest of the cruise.

The clubs on the ship are awesome and we had great people on our cruise. Imagine happiness emanating from every person you encounter! Bridal party dance offs, blackjack in the casino, karaoke, smiling people everywhere we went.

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OK it is fake but I love this photo so much and that beautiful girl on the very far right is a supermodel in real life!

The last day at sea was memorable for many reasons, including finding love at 60. Gabe and I became separated but I knew I would find him. I sat at the pool bar and eventually he came looking for me. He had been with our Latin friends drinking rum shots. So I want to thank you Monica and Patricia for making Gabe so tired he went up to bed after dinner that last evening on board the ship. Everyone was exhausted but I was still enjoying the evening so I wandered into a club playing Latin music. There was a man sitting by himself, looking very handsome and I asked him to dance. I guess that is still something women don’t do that much, but he accepted and danced salsa quite well. I found out he was on the cruise with his entire family, so I gave him the card of my hotel. 

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Me, Monica and Gabe

He came back to find me later and I danced with him again. I continued to dance and chat with people in Spanish and thought I would never hear from the handsome stranger again.Then I saw him in a corner with all of his family and I eventually left when the music stopped and lights went on. I did tell Gabe about him when I went back to our stateroom. I  did not know then I had made quite an impression on him with my attitude, dancing and a few comments I made, which I cannot share, but they delighted him. He told me later he walked the ship until 2 am looking for me.

So how did he find me? He called my Colombian number and it didn’t work because I had a sim card in for Florida. He left me messages on Facebook messenger while I was out shopping. He asked me to dinner that night and I said no I am leaving to go back to Villa Migelita Ecolodge in Colombia tomorrow, and I am packing. He persisted. Let me take you to lunch before your flight? I said yes, then he called again and put someone on the phone. We shared a friend! My friend of many years from Nova High School. Now, I was very intrigued and curious. When we had lunch it was like I had known him forever. I missed my flight because it was overbooked and had turned in my rental car so he came back and got me at the airport. My friend Cheryl from high school gave me a room on Hollywood beach boardwalk at her hotel. I want to say thank you to both her and Moses for such a kind gesture. She came by that evening to say hi. We had dinner at her house the following evening and I met her entertaining husband Moses.

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First selfie
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Cheryl, me, Avi and Moses

Then I kept missing my flights, due to one reason or another. Avi and I kept enjoying ourselves, it was like I had known him forever. He is an Israeli Jew, and he really knows how to treat a woman right. He introduced me to family members, friends and more. I introduced him to Gabe and his partner, also my granddaughter.

Amaya and Avi
My grand says to Avi, I am happy Glamma found you I don’t want her to grow old alone. LOL!

He says he has found the woman he has been searching for all theses years. He is now coming to Colombia for 3 weeks in May. He speaks 6 languages including Spanish. He calls me a Jap, which is Jewish American Princess, and I say I am a Sap, Spiritual American Princess. Whichever it is, I now have a big Jewish family who have welcomed me with what I call the Israeli kiss. Such a warm, big smooch on the cheek that I can only describe, but love so much!

With that I say here is to my awakening at 60 years old from a random meeting on a ship in the Bahamas. I know that whatever happens Avi has brought laughter, joy and contentment into my life. He gives me so much attention, which I have not had in so long due to my own desire to succeed as a woman entrepreneur. The holding of my hand is strange and at first I would take my hand away, but now with his patience I allow it. I allow him to shower me with affection because I deserve it and he says to me any chance he gets that I am amazing and wonderful. With that I leave you with a few more photos and a final thought. Love can be found at any age, even when you are not looking for it. So cheers to turning 60 and who knows where the next years will lead, but for now I live one day at a time as always.

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

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

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

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.

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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 Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia, corners, expat life, friendship, minimalism, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Corners are Intersections of the Soul

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

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Two people converge

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.

 

 

 

Posted in animal rights, Colombia, Colombian life, Dogo Argentino, friendship, nature, photo challenge, Uncategorized

The Friendship of an Animal

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Orion

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

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.

Francis of Assisi
The love between animals and humans go back many hundreds of years

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.

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, nature, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Danger! Look Closely. You Might Miss It.

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

What are the dangerous things I encounter living in Colombia? What to do if a cow escapes the fence? Or a goat approaches me while I hike? What should I do when the water is so high in the rivers? Or the rain causes a mudslide? Maybe I should really be scared when the ground shakes at 5AM! That is the most danger I encounter in Colombia. I love my simple life. I love it so much I am willing to risk the only real danger I have ever experienced while living in Colombia, tremors from Earthquakes deep inside the Earth. To be honest, I don’t know an Earthquake has happened until it is over. I guess if it was really bad, I would be crushed because it takes me, this woman from Florida awhile to comprehend. By the time I do if it was bad, I would be dead. I would die happy in my paradise.

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Looking down from the road at the river
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The river from above
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A dangerous goat LOL
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The expression of the cow on the right
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Such a dangerous butterfly in Colombia