Posted in animal death, animal rights, Colombian life, expat life, Grief, photo challenge, Spiritual Presence

That Rainbow Bridge

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

michele and Yuki
Yuki and me

The loss of a pet is devastating. I have had too many losses here in Colombia. Life is different from what those of you who have pets in your home with a fenced yard. Especially when you have a farm. The smaller dogs know how to escape even if you have a fence. Which I do. They can squeeze through the smallest spaces. This is what happened to Yuki.

I had a change in employment here at Villa Migelita . Yuki was never really my dog. He was rescued by my former employee from the street in Palmira, Colombia. I took care of Yuki. He was fed by me, he was vaccinated by me, he was living on my farm in luxury and if he needed the Veterinarian he went. He had such a will to live. He was almost killed twice by Orion my beautiful Dogo Argentino. They never liked each other.

10298264_664550060277730_969655522354568267_o
Orion the King

Yuki had a warrior spirit. He was a little dog with a big attitude.

San Cipriano 017
Yuk on a tube in San Cipriano, Colombia

He was always happy, a smile on his face constantly. He actually loved swimming with Orion in my natural pool at Villa Migelita.  

animals at play, butterflies and Luci 032
Yuk and Marley

He would get along with Orion most of the time, but sometimes he just provoked Orion and twice he almost died.  I guess his time on this Earth was ready to end when the latest situation happened. I had been keeping Yuki separated from Orion for a long time. They were fine as long as they were outside. I have a beautiful doghouse and patio area for all of my dogs on the first floor.

Yuki with his family
The whole gang

When the last employee left Yuki left too. I would go for a hike and I would see him. I would call for him to come home. He wouldn’t. He kept waiting for his rescuer to come for him. I would call for him, and sometimes he would appear and I could get him back to my house to feed him. This is the last time I was with Yuki.

Last photo of Yuki
Yuki and myself last month

He had lost so much weight. I was able to bring him back to eat. He stayed overnight, but the next day he was gone again. Then I had the veterinarian come to the house with the yearly vaccinations. I had him bring Yuki’s also. They are still in my refrigerator. I need to remove them, but I can’t. It is so final. I was always calling for Yuki when I fed the dogs. I know he heard. My pueblo is small and he knew when dinnertime and breakfast was. He would no longer come. That day I went out searching for Yuki. I knew he was now living in the street.

Yuki died of a broken heart. I know this. The last photo above is the last time I spent with him. He was sad. His eyes conveyed to me his sadness. I tried with all of my heart to get him to come home. He wouldn’t. So I feel such responsibility about this senseless death. Dogs are so loyal, they will die when they lose a person they adore and love. Yuki loved me but he loved the employee more. I couldn’t save him.

Every morning I am waking up sad. Then I remember why. Yuki. The dog that was found on the street and died on the street. Senseless. I hope he is with my other dogs in doggie heaven.

With that I say thank you again for all the wonderful messages about Yuki. I can understand a death from old age, from an accident, but this was just senseless to me. Yuki choose to die because his best friend was gone. He loved me but he loved him more.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia, expat life, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Green is more than a color, it represents life in Colombia

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/it-is-easy-being-green/

I often go on hikes in the forest near my Villa. When I lived in the USA  fast walks were part of my weekly exercise routine, but I can’t really say that is what I do here in Colombia. Walking in the forest consists of numerous stops just to take in the beauty I am encased in. Just recently while walking through dense forest I observed a woodpecker hammering a bamboo tree, a group of parrots took off when they saw me, then I watched as a beautiful hawk glided past me searching the green terrain for food. Babbling streams lift my spirit with the sounds of the rushing water, while I also take in the calls of all the birds in the surrounding foliage. Many I can’t see but know they are watching me on my silent journey in their jungle.

Studies show that living in nature and having access to the beauty of green views can do more for our stress level than any pill that can be prescribed. Light, sunshine, sounds, and the air of the outdoors can bring joy and peace to any person.

Hike photos and video 006
I just missed the woodpecker on this bamboo
Hike photos and video 001
The mountains around my Villa
Barrenquero 004
The green and blue of the Barranquero bird
Rainbow, bird photos and out and about 004
Even workers in the field have lush beauty surrounding them
Rainbow, bird photos and out and about 015
My gardens at Villa Migelita
Medellin 045
Even the street art is green and lush
Rainbow, bird photos and out and about 002
Rainbow over lush landscape

 

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Colombia, Colombian life, nature, Uncategorized

Karma is my name, and Colombia is my Karma.

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

colombia-license
My Karma is Colombia

A favorite photo of me when I first discovered the beauty of the country of Colombia. Riding the back roads on a motorcycle and exploring nature was all it took for me to want to change the lifestyle I had been living in the United States. I felt free, I felt the wanderlust hidden inside of me waiting to burst out like the flurry of the wind hitting my face as I road the little Suzuki motorcycle around the mountains.

My divorce, my advancing age, and my love of the mountains all came together to make the decision to seek an alternative lifestyle. One I do not regret. I am flourishing here in my adopted country. I find that no matter your life lessons, you can go on to accomplish great things even when you have found yourself beaten down by life. I started my new career as a hotel owner four years after this photo was taken.

Who can ever know what life has in store for us? We have to wing it sometimes, and I have. I am discovering new things about me, what I am capable of. Living my life for the moments that I encounter that bring me joy. Colombia is also coming around, being named by many prominent publications as the country to visit in 2017. A little country full of great people, wonderful nature, and inexpensive to visit.

89 butterfly 002
The number 89 butterfly of Colombia

One thing I have definitely learned is life is about accomplishments, not possessions. Let the allure of whatever is your secret desire pull you into that path, that walk, that direction. Just go for it! Life is short, a cliche I know, but true. Don’t let your life pass you by!

Posted in Colombia, nature, Uncategorized, wildfires

The Gatlinburg Fires Destroy a Culture of Life and Tourism

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

To say I’m devastated is an understatement about the Tennessee fires in Gatlinburg. As the mother of a deceased child there are triggers that bring back the pain of loss.  A song. A smell.  A place. A memory.

Yesterday a community that is so special to my heart was all over social media because it is burning. Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The beautiful Smoky mountains where I spent 12 summers with my children. A place so like where I live now; Colombia, South America. When I first came to Colombia I noticed the similarities immediately. Now that I live here, I am reminded of the lovely times in the Smoky mountains,  recollections of complete happiness. Enjoying my children’s childhood as they spent their time outside playing, hiking, learning to love nature like I do.

We had property in a plush RV resort just outside of Gatlinburg. My son learned to swim and ride a bike there. My daughter was only 4 when we first started spending time in Gatlinburg, my son a new baby just a few months old. We were there for the opening of the Aquarium that was a favored spot to visit with my children. We had my children’s friends from South Florida come with us for the summer every year. There was the 4th of July parade where they decorated their bikes while us adults watched as they rode through the RV park. The hikes on the many trails in the Smoky Mountains, the tubing in the freezing water, and the swimming in natural pools. The sadness of leaving when it was time to pack up and go home, back to our huge house after living in a trailer for a summer. Maybe this is why I’m a minimalist now. Those times in our trailer were the happiest times I remember. I could spend all my time with my children instead of  always cleaning and keeping the perfect house. I cherished my summers in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The complete freedom we felt living a life that was one with nature. I even ruptured my ACL while telling a story around a campfire. A funny remembrance that my daughter Misha loved to retell to all of her friends as she grew up. I was telling a ghost story around a campfire and slipped on a small hill that was wet from an earlier rain. The kids all thought I was acting, but I was crying out in pain! The using of dryer sheets in our hair to keep the gnats away (like in the photo above). The special places we frequented, and loved. The sighting of a bear, a deer, of nature. The visits to Cade’s Cove. The back to school shopping in Pigeon Forge, the season passes to Dollywood and the many country music concerts we attended of up and coming stars. We saw Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Sawyer Brown, Steve Wariner, and many more before they were really huge country favorites. That tiny theater at Dollywood was a place I will never forget. Yes, these memories keep my daughter alive in my mind.

Now Gatlinburg is burning. I see the places I frequented gone. The small wedding chapel that Keith Urban told a story about when he came onstage at Dollywood is gone. He was coming to play our concert : he stopped and entered the ceremony and sang for the bride and groom!

tennessee-fire-6
The Wedding Chapel near Dollywood

The Welcome Center of the Smoky Mountains. This was the first place I visited with my children when I fell in love with Gatlinburg.

tennessee-fire-4
The Place every visitor to the Smoky Mountains needs to visit before exploring the beauty of nature in Gatlinburg

 

The nature that was the most important part of these beautiful mountains.

The ride through Cade’s Cove with my daughter on bicycles and the spotting of baby bear cubs. Seeing wild Turkey’s, and deer grazing. How can I not feel sad? This was a time of my life that was joyous, without stress, and with many lovely memories.

So I wrote my ex husband and one of the children whom my kids grew up with. The ORA resort is still standing. My ex and I might not get along, but we remember these wonderful times. The memories keep us in sync, no matter where we have gone in our lives. My children’s childhood friend who is now a grown man gave me some good advice. He said “the ecosystem has had this happen before, it will grow and reproduce. The poor of Sevier county will have new jobs to benefit growth of the community. This will pass like the hurricanes that hit, or Earthquakes in other countries.” It was oddly calming to me. A man now, but I remember him as a child. He had a great way of making me feel better.

So I will let my heart grieve as I always do, a past time when my daughter was alive, when I was extremely happy. A culture, a life that I loved and still love. The outdoors. It is burning in Gatlinburg, TN. But I am enjoying nature here in Colombia. A life of freedom and peace. I need to learn to let things go, the things I have no control over. We all do.

 

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

http://wp.me/p23sd-12Q5

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

Thrive, Flourish and Live Your Life

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

Have you ever felt there is more to life than this? A cliché statement, but so true for most people at some point in their lives. You drift through life looking for, then hoping you can do something to help yourself out of the situation you are in. You feel stuck in a job, marriage, relationships that are not working. There is not a person alive who hasn’t felt this way at some point in their life. Then you are old and full of regrets about the way life passed you by. We are constantly bombarded by social media about someone who is doing well, or has changed their life for the better and you wonder “why not me?” It makes you feel down, wondering why some people achieve their dream while you can’t find yours. But actually it isn’t that way at all. Every person who has started a business, or has decided to make changes in their life knows that it starts as a concept you can envision, but you are not sure how you will go forward. It can take years and a lot of really difficult moments to achieve your aspiration. The difference between you and that person is that they have overcome fear to take a chance. Most successful entrepreneurs when asked will tell you they failed many times BUT they kept trying. That is the key to flourishing in life. Let go of fear. It is just that simple. Take a chance on your dream. See what happens. It might not work out like you expected but you will know you did the best you could to get yourself on a different path from the one you are now on; the one that makes you unhappy.

When I moved to Colombia, I had an idea in the recess of my mind..it was there in a shadowy corner ready to emerge, but I suppressed it. When asked by friends why I was expanding my Villa so much, I would say ‘Oh, I want to have a hotel.” Did I believe what I was saying? Not really. I wanted a hotel but didn’t think it would actually materialize. That being said I was still doing all the right things to make it happen, which was a subconscious way that my inner self was showing me the correct direction to take. I wrote to editors and they answered me, and then I was published(scroll to page 8) about my dream, and more than once. I just kept moving forward, even when I felt inside it wouldn’t  happen. I believe a lot of us become overwhelmed with life as we know it. I changed when my daughter died. I became a bit fearless and did things I wouldn’t have ever considered before. If we look at life the way I suddenly viewed it after her death, we do become fearless and that is when we can really move towards our dreams.

To thrive we must find our passion and follow it. I did it accidentally. I didn’t have some major business plan in mind. I just sort of fell into things as they occurred. Yes, I did all of this ‘by the seat of my pants’, as my mother used to say. It has worked out well, but again, I live in the moment so tomorrow I could regret all that I have accomplished up to this point. One thing is for sure, I have impressed myself with my resiliency, my tenacity, my inability to give up even when things look grim. Yes, things have been grim for me more than a few times. That is why I say let go of fear, let go of distractions, let go of overwhelming thoughts and just live your life the way you want to live it. Thrive and flourish by being the person you want to be, not what you think others want you to be. Always remember your joy is there inside of you, it never has left you. No matter how many horrible things have happened in your life, your intensity for life is inside of you. But you have to be the one to realize it. No one else can give you this ability to create a new life. Only you.