Here in Colombia we have dinnertime at 1 pm. We have a light meal in the evening, and all of nature is continuously grazing. So why not us humans? I am a grazer, I admit that. I have never been one to sit down and eat all that is on my plate. So I relate to the cattle or horses I see wandering the roads here in the mountains of Colombia. I never finish a meal, never … something is always left on my plate! So I relate to grazing animals, and wish I could graze forever. Thank goodness I have someone who finishes my meals for me. LOL! I leave whatever I don’t want to eat, always. I am not a person to say ‘finish your meal’ never ever! Grazing is my dinnertime.
This blog is about life, my life in Colombia. Sometimes I bring in the past, sometimes I am in the present time. I have a lovely home here in the mountains of Colombia. I had no idea when I invested here that Colombia would be moving into its own as a major economic presence in South America, nor that Colombia would be featured in Forbes as a wonderful place to retire(http://money.msn.com/retirement/best-countries-to-retire-to-in-2014-1). My friend and author John Lundin is writing a book that is in development to be a movie that will be filmed here in beautiful Colombia (http://www.prlog.org/12270412-sundance-is-colombia-the-new-hollywood.html). I do know that I have really settled into my life here in South America while enjoying myself everyday photographing nature, making video’s for all to see in real time on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/VillaMigelita) and living amongst the world’s happiest people according to recent article’s written about Colombia. These polls say the people of Colombia have a 75% happiness rating. I would rate it higher, because of my own experiences, but I will definitely agree that this is the place to live and be happy!
Alas, in my last three blogs I shared unhappy stories of recent life experiences, which can happen to anyone in any place. Life is not always beautiful photo’s and happy postings on Facebook. Real life is a mess sometimes. That is why I really give thanks for my surroundings in this beautiful land of Colombia and the blessings I do have. I take photo’s to document daily occurrences in my life that make me smile and hopefully make other’s smile too. I write to help me with a pain I have in my heart from losing my daughter, also the pain I have from difficult situations that can just pop up out of nowhere. I write for healing, I write for my peace inside of me, I write to help anyone who has been following my blog realize we all have difficulties in life. Most people keep the misery of life’s terrible times inside themselves without letting on they are sad, angry, tired, wanting a divorce, recovering from an illness, a lost pet, mean people, death, unkind gossip, disease, family problems, job problems, not having a job, abuse, addiction, I could keep going but you get the point. I have had most of these things at some point in my life affect me in some way but kept the façade of a perfect life to the outside world. Now I no longer want to do that, I want to be authentic to myself and to use that authenticity as a way of helping others to be authentic too. It seems this world is one without a lot of authenticity anymore, not just from people in our lives, but from products we eat, to the need to impress others with possessions we do not need, to worrying about what other’s think, to living a life we can not afford, to spending more time worrying about what other’s are doing than focusing on what we can do to make ourselves better. One thing I do love about life in Colombia, the people are unaffected. They do like drama and can go on and on about the latest community saga, but they forgive and love without reservation. This is what I strive to do. I strive to forgive all the past hurts in my life, and to use this pureness of a heart without hate to live in peace.
Recently I had to become more independent when my partner went through a breakdown and was arrested. I was frightened to be alone, even though my life with him during the prior months had been less than ideal. However, I picked myself up like I always do, trusting myself and my determination to succeed. I used a friend as an interpreter for a month, but realized I could do OK by myself and we parted ways. I hired an outdoor worker full-time and a new maid who has organized my house wonderfully. I started making my own phone calls, I also was receiving phone calls and I realized I could speak Spanish well enough to get on with life just fine by myself. When my battery died on my truck I called my mechanic that lives in La Buitrera and he came up to start my truck, we then drove my truck to town, his wife and 9 month old son came along. He left me at the grocery store while he searched for a good price on a new battery. I had a lovely day with him and his wife, and dropped them back off at their home in the evening after we had done a lot of errands. He not only helped me get my battery but drove me to get my food for the animals and a few other things I needed. You see, this is how Colombian’s are, they do more than is expected, and show what human kindness is about through their actions. I knew after this day I could always count on him for any help I might need. I did not realize I would need his help again so soon. What happened on my short ride back up the mountain to Villa Migelita was the basis for the title of this blog.
It had just turned into night when I left his family to drive home, my mountain road was really dark. I turned on my bright lights and went very slow. We are fortunate enough in my community of El Meson to be getting a paved road right now. The construction of this road is to say the least ‘a bit hazardous’ and I am always nervous when I drive, but nighttime is very scary. I was taking deep breaths and telling myself “just go slow, you will be fine” when I went through the first area of road construction. They are building one side at a time, and the other side is left open for traffic. The road itself is really just the size of one way, and all driver’s have an unwritten rule those going up the mountain have the right of way which means those coming down have to pull over to the extreme side or even back up if they encounter another car on the way up. I got through the first area of construction ok, when I encountered neighbor’s needing a ride up near my house. They had one motorcycle with a young man driving and two women with large full sacks which they tossed in the back of my truck. I became distracted as the ladies started talking to me, and was not concentrating like I had been before. We came to another area of construction, I was on the paved side now, the other side was the rocky original road and there were large metal wires sticking out from the newly cemented road I was driving on. My truck tires are large, the paved road is very small when cut in half. Imagine half of one lane to drive on. It is dark, there are no lights except mine from the truck. I am trying to not hit the wall on one side, shadows making it appear closer than it was, so I over compensate and go a little to far towards the center and next thing I know my tire just barely goes off and then the back tire goes off and I am on those metal wires! I was smart enough to stop immediately and call my mechanic friend who said he would be right there. I get out of the car with my passengers to see where I am, and make sure my tires are alright. I look around and am happy to see I am right in front of a home with a long driveway, but as I am looking another truck comes down the opposite way and stops less than a few feet in front of my truck! I then look behind me and there are at least 6 cars waiting with headlights on to go up the mountain, along with a bunch of motorcycles! The moto’s all had stopped and they stayed to help even though they could have passed by me and been on their way. I have never seen this much traffic ever on my little mountain road, and realize it is because it is the day before New Year’s Eve and all the people who own farms come from the city to spend the holiday in the tranquility of the beautiful mountains. I become very overwhelmed, and just a bit dramatic myself! I guess being in a Spanish country has affected me a bit, as I was speaking Spanish and talking with my hands “Lo siento, esto fue un accidente!” Everyone is out milling around and talking about what they can do to get my truck into the driveway without hurting the tires. No one is mean, no one honks their horn, no one thinks it is my fault. The guy who is driving the other truck speaks some English and talks to me to calm me down. He gets behind the wheel of my car, as my outdoor worker arrives on his bicycle to help too. There are at least 20 men helping at this point. The women are holding my hand, and telling me all is “tranquila”. I watch as these men get hammers and hit the wires down and into the ground, then place a board under my tires and start backing up and going forward little by little. I wonder where the hammers, the board the tools they use come from? This is the way of Colombian men, they have everything and can do anything. It was harrowing, it was unbelievable, it is my life in the mountains of Colombia. Slowly they get my truck backed into the driveway of the house, but then we have his truck that is right there blocking all of the traffic that needs to go up the mountain. Again, very slowly he got his truck into that driveway too, by backing up with the other men helping. Whew. Done. Now I stand there as all those cars drive by, feeling foolish. Do you know every single one said “Happy New Year” and greeted me nicely? Not one person was annoyed or angry.
After the traffic left, my mechanic gets in my truck and drives me home. His brother and the wives are on the motorcycles or in the truck with me and everyone follows me home. I have a car full of groceries and big bags of food. My worker is in the back of the truck with his bicycle along with the original passengers who I had given a ride to. Everyone is smiling, talking and laughing. We all are happy to have gotten me out of that situation without damage to my tires. When we arrive at Villa Migelita, it reminds me of a procession or a parade. Moto’s and my truck all laughing and festive. we enter and everyone pitches in to unload my truck. Then before they leave my mechanic told me he would pick me up for New Year’s Eve if I wanted to stay with his family for the celebration. I say I will call, but know that I want to spend New Year’s alone because of the loss of my dog Taz. I could never celebrate not knowing what had happened to him. So although this is not a Disney movie, I want to say I had a very happy ending that night. I also learned to appreciate that things that happen in the night can also bring new friends into my life and perhaps I should not drive again when it is dark. That my new life in my small pueblo of El Meson has heartache just like my life did in the USA, but I acknowledge all I am learning about myself and the people who live here. Mostly, I enjoy that I am able to use my writing to tell the world of just how sweet it is to live and discover a new culture, a new language and new simpler lifestyle. May God Bless all of you with a very blessed 2014 and may we all have a joyous year with new beginnings and happy endings.
The photo above is me burning the 2013 calendar. This is a tradition here to let go of all the bad things of the past year. In an update to my past blogs, my ex-partner is recovering and I have forgiven him. He has been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder and is taking medicine that has changed his life. He has been ill for several years, and started using drugs to self-medicate. He is grateful to have his life back, to feel good, and to rehabilitate. We are friends again, and will see what the future holds by taking things one day at a time. My sweet dog Taz was run over by a car. I am still grieving him but at least I know what happened. I am working on trying to forgive the woman who let him go out into the streets of Cali, Colombia on Christmas Eve.