Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, child death, Colombia, Devastating sadness, Disappointment, Entreprenuer, expat life, family, freedom, friendship, Grief, happiness, Order, parents of deceased children, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized

Without a Roof

What a week, a week of self discovery and a week of acknowledgement about the reality of my life. I’m on a journey that I didn’t expect to take. As I look in the mirrors of the various places I have stayed I’ve found a resilience that is ingrained inside the makeup of the person I am.  I myself didn’t even know how strong I am until this week of wandering from place to place, like a homeless person. I’ve rediscovered that grief I felt when Misha passed. I am right here where my granddaughter is, and I haven’t seen her. I’m her link to her deceased mother, and she is my link to my deceased daughter. We need each other.

One of my dearest friends had some people over when I stayed at her house while on this “homeless tour of friend’s houses ” and she point-blank asked me “how do you survive all of these things that are so gut wrenching awful?” She made me think about my innate character. What does get me through such pain, while others would curl up and leave life by escaping through drugs, alcohol or depressive  behavior? As I’ve moved from place to place I’ve been finding answers.

I’m really loved by a lot of people. Funny thing is they are people I’ve collected along the way on this voyage of life. The list of true friends seemed to grow smaller as I’ve grown older: while in actual fact it has grown larger. I just didn’t know because my focus was on my survival. I refuse to let the actions of other people change me. I know the difference between right and wrong, I know that it sometimes takes a lot of patience to achieve a goal, whatever that goal may be. Such as my own hotel, it is still growing and I might never see it succeed completely but I won’t give up.  I know it is wrong to give a child away, no matter your life circumstances, and I might not have seen my granddaughter Amaya this time, but when I do I will explain to her this is not normal behavior.

I’ve found out I don’t like being a vagabond, I’m a person who likes order even when traveling. I’ve been dragging my suitcases  into many homes this trip. I didn’t expect this, and because I needed to hire an attorney in this emergency situation I had to ask people for help. They all stepped up and I have reconnected with people I was long overdue to see, including my son. As I met up with everyone I was discovering they all have advice for me, and I have listened. I’ve laughed more than I have in a long time, and I’ve talked and have been given validation for my concerns. I’ve snuggled with my mother’s former caregiver who embraced me like she always did when she was at my house all the time. She made me smile with stories of CJ and Misha. Her son made the best fried chicken I’ve ever had and she pressed my shirt before I left because she didn’t want me to have on a wrinkled shirt. Little acts of love, and kindness that have brought joy back to my shattered heart.

My friend who asked me the question about how I get through life, made me giggle with memories too. Reminiscing about those memories of my children’s childhood was so wonderful. I realized and told her the same, I suppress my grief by not thinking about these bad things I can’t change. I also try not to think much about how I have a murdered daughter, and now a granddaughter who is being alienated against me. I have patience and I feel my lawyer Howard Friedman will prevail. It’s that simple and it works for me. I’m not sure if it’s healthy, but I’ve accomplished a lot even in all the adversity. So I guess my advice to others is, do what helps you. Because if you are not healthy, you will not be able to help anyone else.

My former nanny’s and my daughter’s best friend Destiny hold such special significance to me. Maybe it is my destiny that they are my children, along with my Jazmine who lives with me in Colombia. I’m certainly treated as if I’m their mother along with being given advice and a bit of typical behavior as I’ve watched them grow into lovely and loving young women. They delight my soul with the way they have chosen different life paths. They also give me something I really need, they let me feel like a mother to daughter’s. I was never able to complete my time with Misha, but I have them. I love them and love is truly what life is about. Especially, Gaby, and her little precious son. The last stop before I go back to my simple, minimalist life in Colombia. She has little chickens she hatched for her son. IMG_4721

If any of these wonderful young women are most like me, it would be Gaby. She has house chickens and she is as unique and free-spirited as I am. Look at her in her  boots! She never stops cleaning the house, just like I did for so many years. When I told her that I no longer need to do this in Colombia, she said good for you. You have found a life that is working for you. IMG_4722

She is right, I have found a life that works for me. Anyone who tries to demean or speak negative about my life and what I’ve accomplished are not worthy of an answer. I’m unique, I’m a survivor, and I will continue to share my thoughts because there are many of you who follow my blog that need to see you can get up and keep going even when life deals you blow after blow. I still have that smile on my face no matter what. The journey continues and at some point in time mine will be peaceful, without drama brought from others. Until that time, I am going to take in lessons that others teach me and use them to better myself.

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Posted in Awakening, Entreprenuer, family, friendship, happiness, love, Uncategorized

Waking Up to Love and Living at 60

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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.

Michele cruise 1
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.

michele cruise 7
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. 

Michele cruise 8
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.

michele and avi 2
First selfie
michele and avi 4
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.

michele and avi 5

michele and avi 6michele and avi 1

 

Posted in Colombian life, hummingbirds, nature

An Imperfect World

My rescue hummingbird has passed. It happened suddenly and without warning. Just a couple of days ago he was escaping through the slats of his little cage. He was so active. I had to put a mesh net around his cage so he couldn’t breakout and be killed by a predator. I am not sure why he died, but I knew he wasn’t well anymore. It happened so fast and I wasn’t prepared for it.

I have a cage coming from the USA and some additional food supply that hummingbird rehabilitation experts use. The wonderful thing that has resulted from his care is I will have a nice cage and products  anytime I rescue any  bird at Villa Migelita from this day forward. All of these products sent from loving friends in the United States  and will be in remembrance of Grigio. When I put another bird in this new cage I will have his spirit guiding me. I know this with my heart and soul.

To say I am sad today is an understatement. I awoke to a table without his cage that I have looked at for over a month. The joy of removing the towels I put on his enclosure every night to find him moving and drinking his nectar of smashed insects and sugar in the morning is a wonderful and loving experience in my lifetime. The hope I felt that maybe, just maybe he would be my miracle.

I am sad, frustrated and of course I am blaming myself. If only I had added even more insects to his water. If only I had more resources available to me here in Colombia . If only, if only. I became very attached.

He was fighting to live to the end. His last breaths were in the palm of my hand. He was still charging his wings, which gave me unrealistic hope. I felt he could pull through this with my loving care. I watched as one eye closed but the other eye was wide open and staring at me. That eye kept contact with me until it closed with his final breath inside my palm. So tiny, so precious, so magical. I will never be able to describe adequately the joy he brought to me by being able to care for him.

Posted in hummingbirds, Uncategorized

The Learning Curve

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I have had a  little hummingbird rescue for a month now. I had no idea what I was doing when I first had him in my care. I had put a towel down in the cage. That is a big NO! He has the tiniest feet as you can see and they can get caught in a towel and can be ripped off. I contacted a wonderful page on Facebook called The Hummingbird Whisperer and was given great advice, except for one rehab specialist who said I had to put him down because of his bad wing. A major drama unfolded: especially since I am not in the United States. I looked for someone to put Grigio down and no one answered me. We have so many hummingbirds in Colombia all year round, no one cares about just one little guy.

I took in all of the advice I was given and did what the experts said (except for killing him). I removed the towel and put paper towels in his cage. I added smashed up insects to his sugar-water. That is not something I enjoy at all! But we have a lot of insects in the Rainforest and he is drinking his water full of mash-up and is getting plenty of protein which is the main staple of the hummingbird diet.

Lilliana 012
Grigio the very first day I rescued him.

Grigio  is doing very well, but he is still not free. I strive to let him go to fly with his friends. He has a wing that is damaged. I carry him everywhere in his little cage. He sometimes holds on to the sides of the cage like he is in prison, reminding me of movies where an inmate grips the bars in misery.

I have a parrot named Luci whom I rescued when she was about 2 months old. Parrots are so social and always in the middle of things going on around them. She has clipped wings but has free run of my farm. She climbs the rose bushes and enters the house. She follows the dogs everywhere, and she shows off for my tourists here at Villa Migelita. She is the mascot of birds here at my Bed and Breakfast!

Luci in the window 008
I see you

With Grigio it is different.  He is not a way for me to give entertainment on my page Villa Migelita. Luci is a rescue, but she lives a very happy life. I am not so sure with Grigio. Seriously, hummingbirds are not really social birds. Hummingbirds fight each other constantly, and none seem to have any bond with others. Perhaps he is fine in his cage with his personal feeder. I can’t tell except when he does that prison break-out move that really freaks me out! I can’t let him go, he cannot fly!

He has become a part of me. I know that is probably not the correct way to view things if you are an actual rehab specialist with birds, or for that matter any animal. I just identify with him so much. He is broken but trying to mend himself. I understand that. I am broken inside. I have been a cracked, collapsed, busted mess for years … ever since my daughter was murdered. I know about feeling imprisoned. I feel that almost everyday of my life. I struggle many days with sadness…but I make myself go out and walk, exercise, Yoga, write, read, study! You name it, I try to do it. So Grigio is a piece of me. His will to live is exactly like my will to live despite horrific life circumstances. So I say “You go Grigio, I have your back! You have a home in my Paradise here at Villa Migelita always”

Every night I put this special ‘gift’ to bed. He sleeps like we do…who knew? He goes to bed at 7 pm and I hear the little whir of his wings at 6 am. I always smile to myself. I wonder if he is a gift from beyond. He is certainly defying all odds. With that I say he is with me now, and I am letting him live each day in the moment. I do the same. I realize that is all we have in life, and so does Grigio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

I Can See His Eyelashes

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Maybe he will live, maybe his wing will heal, maybe I will find redemption in his perfect little being. Maybe none of the above will happen. But I do know he wants to live. I have never cared so long for a hummingbird, except for one that was a tiny baby and you can read about that experience here.

This is Grigio and I am obsessed with his eyelashes. I never realized hummingbirds have them. He does. They make me melt with love. They move my soul. They are why I didn’t listen to the ‘experts’ and did what I wanted to do to help this young hummingbird. His eyes with those tiny eyelashes.

He was dead yesterday when I went to his cage in the morning. I am serious. He was dead. I pulled his lifeless body out from behind his little nest. He was on his back, legs in the air. He was not living anymore. I stroked his head. I told him he was a fighter, and then I detected a small movement. I was sure I was imagining it. I put his tiny beak to the feeder and he moved again. I knew he was coming back to life. One minute more and he would be gone, along with the hope that I attached to him. I will admit he means more to me than I can explain: but I will try.

To me Grigio represents a part of me that will never give up. He is me, I am him. He continues to live despite all the odds. I am like that myself. I am thriving despite the obstacles that are in my way.

Cage
Grigio in his cage until I can release him

I thrive despite the sadness of my past, I thrive from the lessons I have learned from life, I thrive from the delicate balance of life I have lived and the life of my future. I thrive despite all that is thrown at me. Just as Grigio continues to flourish. I do too. It is not something I think about, nor does he. It just is who I am. I am a fighter, so is he. Perhaps, this is a message to me from beyond. I believe in signs.

Grigio is pervasive, he is right there by me in the morning..he is my sign to fight for what I want to achieve. He is my symbol of life and perseverance. He is my light at the end of the tunnel, he is what I believe to be real. He is a miracle. I want to be a miracle to myself. Maybe, just maybe he will be that for me.

Grigio on Misha angel
The angel that sits where my daughter is buried

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in friendship

Apology to Spare?

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Gabe and Michele photo
My best friend for 38 years. A friend is always by your side and supports you. Gabe personifies this and more.

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.

Misha and I with Marley
My daughter was always my best friend, no matter what we went through
Posted in Uncategorized

The Tsunami of 2004: One Woman’s Story

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I am sharing with all of you a post from a dear friend who was in the Tsunami of 2004. Below are her words.  I have not edited them at all because this is from her heart and English is not her first language. Read this and remember how precious life is. I am also including photos she has from that time. The cover photo breaks my heart…but this is what happened and she is very blessed to be alive. As all of you know my daughter was murdered. The bravery and courage in this story will give you chills.  This is why we must live each day as if it is our last. We must give out love to others, not hate. Not one person on this planet is different from another. We all love and care for our families the same way whether we are rich or poor, the color of our skin is not important. We all bleed the same color.  Be kind, be thankful and be aware that you might not live to see another day when you least expect it. This is one woman’s story. Her son is an up and coming artist and this song is appropriate for the rest of this blog https://youtu.be/LtURTzkiHP4 May God Bless all of us. We can never know what the next day will bring.

 

My Story
I’m a travel agent and I’ve never been a great believer… I adored luxury… a lovely house, a great car, parties, travelling first class… I wore a mask and felt completely empty!
Everything started on 26th December 2004, when my son, partner and I were in the middle of the sea in a small boat in Sri Lanka when the tsunami was about to swallow us whole…
We were unable to reach shore due to all the hundreds of thousands of vortices that were opening up around us and getting bigger and bigger by the minute. They were swallowing up everything in their path including small fishing boats and, as I stood there wide-eyed and watching everything fall apart around me, I saw a huge oil tanker being taken down within minutes. I was devastated, my whole body shook, and I felt the heat of my urine running down my thighs. I felt death and gloom approaching. Fear took a hold of me and froze me to the spot. I felt unable to move or speak.
On that little boat where hope no longer existed, with the worse pain a mother can ever suffer, I asked my son Lorenzo to throw himself overboard and try to swim ashore – he was only 10 at the time but he refused and said “No mum. I’m not going to leave you. You can’t swim very well and if we have to die I’d rather be with you.”
I didn’t know of any way out… I was dead… and I could feel the chilly hands of death inching forever closer, way too close. I wanted to save my son. I would have given my life for him but he stubbornly refused to throw himself overboard. Thus we waited to be swallowed up by the immense and dark sea, as dark as night. My partner who was with me at the time was in the same state of fear as me.
We stayed on that boat all day – alone – with no food, water or fuel or… very little. That night, totally worn out and with the little fuel we had, we decided to try and attempt to find a way back to shore.
The sea was full of all sorts of debris: fridges, mattresses, lorries.
A sea of lifeless children floated over the top of the water. We finally touched land but it wasn’t over yet. More waves were coming and we decided to escape to the mountains. Our only route of escape at the time. Escaping without shoes, or having drunk anything all day.
I stole shoes for my family from the corpses we found on route… may God forgive me.
But we still couldn’t walk… the ground was covered…. corpses, glass everywhere…
Human parts were scattered everywhere and lots and lots of small dead bodies. I swear to you, that day I witnessed hell.
Having reached the bottom of the mountain, we found hundreds of people waiting at its base. The mountain was full of thorns, impossible to climb… but we had to do it. The wave was behind us and was about to reach us so we had no choice. Everyone was so scared that they were jostling each other… nightmarish screams from heartbroken mothers who were carrying their children’s lifeless bodies begging for a miracle… it was HELL.
I needed to do something!
My job has led me to be a natural born organiser, and I therefore started shouting at the top of my lungs and organised all the children in a row. Then older women and men and finally women then men. I had divided my own family apart! My son Lorenzo was up front with the other kids, then me and finally my husband last of all.
I wanted to die… I kept asking myself how could I be the one to make all the decisions dear Lord? That was the first time I spoke to Jesus.
Fortunately, at the top of the mountain was a fisherman who launched his nets down so that we could climb. Having reached the top I asked my husband to bring up with him some wet rags… they were needed to wrap up bloody feet torn, cut by all the debris and glass strewn on the ground. Once I got to the top I started bandaging everyone’s feet.
The night was freezing, cold.
Women still held their dead children in their arms
And their screams tore the dark night apart
And the cold, hunger and thirst were making us ill
Hundreds of thousands of people were trying to sleep on humid and cold ground.
A horrific scene.
The fisherman that had thrown us the net had a small wooden cabin and a drinking well.
So I ask the fisherman to boil us some water which I shared with each and everyone present.
Then I noticed that the fisherman had some wooden boards leaning against the cabin and I put all the men to work.
I ask them all to lay the boards down on the ground.
We spend the night sleeping next to each other trying to keep our bodies warm.
It was freezing cold. I was tired and exhausted.
We placed Lorenzo between the two of us to keep him warm.
He asks us to give thanks to Jesus for saving us and to our disbelief we begin to pray the Our Father .
But something happens just as soon as we finished the prayer.

Leaning against the fisherman’s cabin, I see an old man sitting all on his own.
A gaunt face, worn by misery and poverty. He had no teeth and wore and old jacket, dirty and torn.
He beckons me over. I wasn’t sure I understood but yes, he was definitely asking me to go over.
I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he just kept staring at me and asking me to go over.
I get up to walk towards him and in order to reach him I had to climb over those who were trying to sleep….
I reach him and he shows me that I need to kneel.
I kneel down and
With his rough aged hands, he reaches into his jacket pocket
And offers me a sweet pointing that I should give it to my son!
My heart fills with immense happiness, joy and wondrous peace despite all the hell surrounding me.
I finally understood! The man was Jesus.
The next day we started walking towards Colombo – 200 kilometres away approx.
We walked and walked. Every now and then someone would stop to give us a lift: on donkeys… horses… lorries full of people, then we went back to Italy a few days later.
Upon my return my personal drama starts
I went back to work to my travel agency
When clients walked in asking for 5 star accommodation and Business Class travel, I felt sick and out of place. This was not my place… and I kept asking myself what am I doing here???
I know… I have seen!
A period of darkness began for me
I didn’t believe…
My parents would tell me to go to a psychologist
But I never went

Then one day Daniela, my sister, who was a believer said to me “Why don’t you go to the Divino Amore” a sanctuary here in Rome.
I had never been to church before then bar at Christmas and Easter time… I decided to go. I desperately felt the need to find that peace, love and happiness I had felt approaching the old man when in hell.
I go to take confession.
And burst into tears right there and then whilst confessing in front of the cross.
And at the top of my voice I scream at the priest and ask him “Why? Why? Why did God save me and my family? Why didn’t he take me… he could have saved all those children!!! Why???”
There was silence.
Then the priest answered
“My dear. God has a plan for you and maybe one day you will have to tell lots of people…”
After that meeting I felt deep down in my heart that it really was Him who had created

me and who had shed tears for me, because no one could have talked to me so deep down in my heart.
After a few days of praying, I felt a great weight lifting from me and I started to feel the presence of God! I felt the greatest and most unimaginable peace.

Later in 2011 my trip to Medjugorje and that’s where my faith is strengthened again and again …
And there is so much more… but we would need many more days to go over it all.

This is a true story of bravery that can only come from the soul. This is one woman’s story. I am not promoting anything about religion, just sharing her words…it is up to everyone to decide what it is they believe in. As for me I believe in the Universe. That is my religion. We are all one with this Universe.