Posted in Achievements, Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, Colombia, Colombian life, Entreprenuer, expat life, Grief, happiness, Thanksgiving blessings, Uncategorized

Renewal

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Colombia. I haven’t had a meal filled with turkey, stuffing, side dishes, and desserts in years. The meal is not what is important to me, the thankfulness of this life I have created and what I have accomplished is what I celebrate. Remembrance of mistakes but also blessings have brought me to the place I am at in my life. This year I am especially grateful to have my son with me here in Colombia. Observing through his eyes and words is the best part of a journey I began 8 years ago. He is engaged in living his best life, enjoying the nature that he barely noticed when he first arrived at Villa Migelita Ecolodge in Colombia. He is immersed in nature, Spanish, learning a new language, and he has his puppy Cash. I am witnessing what I have accomplished through his eyes and his delight in the little things that I have enjoyed since living in Colombia.

It is always valuable to view life, especially your own life, from a different perspective. Having my son here has made me appreciate the little things that make a huge difference in living my best life. I am sure when he first arrived it was overwhelming to be surrounded in another culture. He had to get used to being awoken by birds, the sounds of roosters and cows, my parrot Luci who takes delight in going on the laundry roof and staring at him through his window and squawking. Seeing the street dogs asleep on the road, the chickens running by as we drive down the mountain, cows grazing on the side of the road, and horses used as transportation to the high mountain farms only accessible by horse or walking. I see all I am used to in a new light and remembering my first year in Colombia. I am looking at my life again with that special renewal of the first year I lived here.

This day before Thanksgiving in Colombia is filled with the delight of decorating Villa Migelita Ecolodge. I don’t think my son has seen Christmas decorations for many years. The delight on his face as we decorated all the floors of my Villa makes my heart smile. This is Colombia and a life I live in this country filled with many small blessings that have grown into a huge blessings filled with my accomplishments. My Villa is my peace. I have found a way to overcome the sadness I experience from the death of my daughter.

I am entirely independent now in Colombia and all that I struggled with for years. Speaking Spanish was the number one hindrance. I now speak conversational Spanish without a problem. I still have difficulties with complex terms, maybe I will forever. I am grateful that I speak another language. I realize that all people should know two languages, and young parents should insist that their children learn another language. This is their future, more so than any sport or extracurricular activity! Enroll your child in a class of whatever language you want them to learn. Have them practice talking the language with someone. It will be the most valuable education you can give them. I think this could be a family activity, one that you all can participate in. Learn together, practice together. I started learning Spanish at the age of 53!

Obtain a passport for everyone in your family, travel to different cultures. Admire those who speak two languages around you, even if they are not perfect. No one should ever condemn anyone who is learning your language, it is not an easy task. I am 8 years in Colombia and I still struggle with my accent and verbiage in Spanish. I have never had one person criticize me. I have found that I am given many kudos for learning the Colombian language of Spanish. I am often told they are studying English and it is very hard to do. I always say you must speak the language to learn the language. My son is an example of this. He only speaks English with me, and Spanish with everyone else, so he is learning at a quick pace to speak Spanish.

I am grateful for many things, but I still have sadness and heartbreak about other parts of my life. I am always trying to understand why people are cruel without reason (even with a reason, I try to be kind always), and I always live what I believe. I think every person who follows my blog and my social media sites know this is true. I still suffer from sadness about the death of my daughter. Life is not fair, nor is it perfect. We have to make the best of what we are given. I think I am doing that.

When your family gathers this Thanksgiving, let go of Politics, let go of grievances, just let go and let be.

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.

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

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

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