Posted in Colombia, Colombian life, Color and Colombia

The Color of Colombia

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I often say there is no other country as colorful as Colombia. I am an amateur photographer with a desire to photograph all that is colorful in my newly adopted place of living. As an expat in a country that is full of joy and happiness I try to capture real life here in Colombia. I am a casual observer of all that is around me, camera ready always. Colombian people are found to be the happiest people in world online polls. I think you will see why in my series of photographs. Colombia was just named number two by Lonely Planet as one of the places to visit in 2017. Enjoy my photos, there are so many it was hard to choose them for this blog. Let me know what you think of my choices. Enjoy and come visit Colombia. A wonderful country full of culture and vibrancy. A country known for a dark past that it has overcome. A country of great history. A country I now call home.

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One handsome guy
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Admirers
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This gorgeous horse!
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The Parade
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Laughing
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Flirtation

The above images and the main cover were taken while watching a parade of horses ridden by their owners in Buga, Colombia. These parades can be found almost any weekend in most cities of Colombia. The horses are Paso Fino and very well-trained. The fun includes drinking aquardiente the Colombian drink done as a shot.

The Colombian pueblos are full of life and action. The area of Buenaventura, Colombia in the Valle del Cauca is a coastal seaport city. This is where the ships bring packages and cargo that are sent from other countries. The bustling life of this area is fascinating. Then there are areas that are far from the coastal town deep in the jungle.

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Concentration

The beauty of the Pacific coast of Colombia. Colombia has two coasts the Atlantic and the Pacific. I try to capture the subsistence of regular life in Colombia in my photos.

Reality is present in all of my photos. I am showing all of my blog followers how I live. It is always the present, I capture the essence of Colombia. I show how you can just buy fruit from a stand on the side of the street. I show how it is presented. How multicolored Colombia is. No matter where you visit. You will find such beauty. I always say Colombia is eye candy to those that enjoy life in the purest form.

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The clarity of the water with a gorgeous smile
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Decor in a local restaurant
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Buy an avocado to bring with you to a restaurant in Cali

Cali, Colombia is full of Salsa dancers. I was wandering  the area of San Antonio barrio when I caught these photos on film. I always pinch myself when I enjoy a special moment in time. This was one of those times.

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Their daily routine had some excitement
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The dancers taking a break
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Looking down from above in the park of San Antonio barrio

If you want to consider Colombia as a vacation, I have a Bed and Breakfast in the Valle del Cauca department. Consider staying with me at Villa Migelita.

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Posted in child death

Truthful Words About the Death of My Daughter

Yesterday was just lousy. By that I  mean really damn horrible. I actually cried for most of the afternoon, until I fell asleep, it was that kind of lousy day. It was a day I want to erase from my memory. But just maybe this post will show others about proper etiquette when dealing with the death of a child.

I had someone tag me on Facebook about finding a dog almost dead on the side of the road and trying to save it. She wrote that all she could think of was me and what happened with my daughter who was left dead on the side of a highway after she was murdered by a hit and run driver. I know she meant well. I actually answered that I was glad the dog had someone to hold it while it died..because I was. In actuality, I should have said ” please take me out of this post as I can’t handle the image you just sent to me that I pictured as my daughter instead of the poor dog”. She wrote of blood coming out of the dog’s mouth, and of it taking its last breath. All I could think of was my daughter and what she must have looked like laying there on the side of the road when she was hit. Was she still alive? Did she suffer? The questions that I have worked 6 years to overcome, and in one moment this ignorant post brought them back. It was horrible to envision, especially at 6 am in the morning when I first awoke.

It doesn’t matter if it was just last week or 6 years later, parents of a deceased child are not any better than they were when they first heard the news that their child is dead, they have just learned to live with their grief. Some such as me have made positive changes in their lives, while others struggle daily to just get up in the morning and go on with life. We parents of a deceased child know about letting go of certainty, and a willingness to embrace life as it is. That is what happens when you finally are starting to adjust to the death of your child. The biggest obstacle to overcome is your mind, and it is important when you respond to others you use control as your response is your power.

So, let us explore my reaction to this awful but totally well-meaning post. I handled everything wrong. I should have written a nice message to her to take it down, as it was very upsetting to me. But, I didn’t. I answered the post honestly about how hard it is for me to still live with the murderer of my daughter free on probation, but I was happy she was able to be there to comfort the dog. A few more comments and it was over. I know she did not know how severely she had affected me. People are oblivious about the way grief can paralyze a person. I went on with my day but was very sad. My companion kept asking me “what is wrong Michele?” I couldn’t really put it into words as I knew I should have shut down the post immediately…then I kept getting notifications from others commenting and I went to stop the notifications and the post was gone. I was relieved and wrote my friend that I knew she meant well and I felt happy that she had thought of Misha. I didn’t say anything unkind, nor confrontational because I am not that way. But then, I am tagged again with the same post. She took it down and put it back up. That made me angry. I try to embrace a way of living that is not argumentative but it vexed me when it went up again. I had felt incredible pain answering the first post and now I had to answer again? Once more I will accept the blame as I should have ignored this second post. This pressure of social media is truly intense at times, especially when my name is mentioned and I am the reason for the post. So I commented that I had said something earlier and that I was very pleased with my life in Colombia with hummingbirds, butterflies and nature. That I felt her with me and I had gone on to create Villa Migelita in her name  and put my website along with my answer.

This is when it got ugly. Not in a horrible way, but let’s be honest, it was not nice, because I show that I have gone on to create a life my daughter would be proud of…which I also said…and I got a response from someone who was just being mean. Seriously, shouldn’t this person have written, “good for you to have created this dream in your daughter’s memory?” Instead I’m reprimanded for putting my website on the post!  If it was inappropriate to put my website there ‘oh well’ ! The post was about my daughter who was left dead like the dog at the side of the road and I was showing people I have moved forward! When it comes to social drama, letting go of other people’s rude remarks is the best step forward.  Most haters don’t really hate you; they just hate where they are in life, and you’re a reflection of what they wish to become.

My heart is bruised from yesterday, and is still bruised today. I have a good life now. I have maids, they see me crying. They become upset. They come to me to ask what is wrong and I tell them the truth; that I was reminded of a picture I saw in the newspaper the very morning after I found out about Misha’s death because of someone who is my friend. She was lying on the side of the road covered by a black bag, but I knew it was my daughter. I don’t want to picture her that way. I want to see her like the cover photo on this blog. I know I will continue to heal until I die. Life is always changing, when something ends or leaves something new happens. I know my sad crying jag will soon be gone, but I won’t get over it quickly. It is just not possible when it is my child I am talking about, and she is dead.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Bar at Villa Migelita

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/oops/”>Oops!</a&gt;

Everyone who follows my blog knows I live in Colombia, South America and own a Bed and Breakfast called Villa Migelita. I opened it last year and we are doing pretty good without a lot of advertising besides my Facebook page , Twitter, and Instagram account. I never post oops pictures because of my business, all has to look great of course!

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Before anything was done at Villa Migelita
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Villa Migelita in 2015

Villa Migelita is adding a bar next week. I have a partner who is a designer. He has made my farm into a beautiful place. We were recently featured in International Livings Incomes Abroad 2015 ( scroll to page 8), and it was an honor! So now business is picking up and it is time to not just be a house but a real hotel! We are quaint and cozy. Guests wander the grounds and our house freely. I have even woken up at 5 AM to smell coffee being made in the kitchen by a guest. I love it! They feel “mi casa es su casa” and it is true, my house is their house. We offer very personal service to our guests. The way Villa Migelita looked when I first bought her was a place with potential. It has been four years of constant work and updates.

Yesterday we went looking for wood for the new bar. It has to be in keeping with the plan and design of my house which is  minimalist. The bar will be simple but functional. I took some pictures yesterday at the place I had bought furniture before, but they weren’t ‘post worthy’ …LOL. I stayed in the truck because it saves me money. If I am seen, gringa that I am, the price can go up significantly. I took some photos from my vantage point and they were not great, but I am going to show them.

As you can see it is not pretty nor can you tell how beautiful the furniture will be.

Therefor, I share a photo from my house of what this old wood turns into. I must add because I am a nature person and do not believe in cutting trees down for no reason this furniture is very old, thousands of years old to be correct. They dig into the ground for old tree trunks that have died and fallen by themselves. Perhaps through mudslides, or rotting but not just taken down for no reason. I see this often on my hikes here in Colombia. These last photos are a preview of the furniture and how it looks when I have a good picture.

So next up is the bar, which I will share at some later date. Just for grins I will show you the empty spot where the bar will be. It is another photo just for me, but since you want oops here it is. Empty space for new bar

No photo shop, just the beauty that surrounds me. I am very excited to see it all put together. Maybe this is the start of another venture. Not just a bed and breakfast but a place for Colombians to spend a bit of time and dance a little salsa.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunsets at Villa Migelita

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Every single day my sunsets change at Villa Migelita. If you look at a map of the Equator you will see the line goes through Colombia. The shifting of where the sun goes down is small, but occurs daily. I took these photos in a succession one day. From around noon to the night-time sky looking out over the Valle del Cauca, Colombia. If you look up the weather systems in Colombia you will see that we do not have seasons. We have rainy and dry times. The same with the sun, it shifts like nowhere I have lived before in my life. At certain times of year the sun goes down right in the center of my balcony, but then as the days and months change it goes to the right little by little. It is fascinating. It is living in the tropics. It is Colombia. Watch this video I took at night one evening. This sunset personifies peace.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Revelations

It has taken me some time to write my latest blog because it is about my daughter’s final resting place and not a topic I thought I would write about, nor one you might want to read about. I have never given much thought about where I will be placed after I die, as I really loathe the thought of a graveyard, or an urn in my house that is displayed on a shelf. I prefer beloved photos set around my home that remind me of good times. I have had my daughter’s ashes for a long time, even shipping them to Colombia along with all my beloved possessions. I did throw some of her ashes in the Intracoastal waterway before I moved, along a path where we would sit and talk while taking my granddaughter for a stroll.46319_10201682425288406_520618800_n

One day my partner started becoming a little upset that I still had her ashes,reminding me that they could no longer stay in a suitcase in the basement. I know! Please understand I was avoiding the reality and permanence of doing something, anything with them. My partner reminded me of the legend that goes along with Villa Migelita, a legend repeated often by the natives of El Meson. I am the third owner of this Hacienda,the first owner is said to be still roaming around the grounds. This is an often repeated tale around my area, one that is fascinating because of the history and the folklore that are combined.

Native Indians that lived in El Meson long before the colonization buried their loved ones in the best, flattest spots they could find. El Meson is so named because it is a beautiful flat area in the mountains. La Mesa translates to the table in English. So this explains the name, we are the table in the mountains. The first owner of Villa Migelita owned all the land of El Meson, but his home was called La Casa Blanca (The White House). He started this pueblo, and was a humble man who loved his privacy. He also was innovative, as he built a basement in his home that was unheard of at the time and the main house was high to keep out insects and predators, but to also bring in the cool breeze that floats through the house like air conditioning. It is said he spent most of his time digging for gold left behind from the ancestral native Indians. They buried gold and valuable artifacts with their loved ones, in flat spots of utmost beauty. It is also repeated in the folklore that he did find some gold and used it to better his home and help the community. So, because he wanted privacy to dig and hunt for gold, he gave an area where the people of the town congregated and parked their horses and wagons a space of land to build a church. The church they used before was located on his land near the house La Casa Blanca. It was an outdoor church, very simple with an overhead structure that included chairs and an alter for the priest. The locals of El Meson gladly accepted his kind offer and he supplied money for them to build the church.

As time went on he got old and still continued his lifelong quest of the search for treasure. He dug a huge lake while looking, he made stables while looking, he continued to work on his home. It is said he died always hoping for that buried treasure, and still roams the grounds as a spirit looking for bounty.

I am sure you are wondering how this ties into my daughter’s final resting place. My partner had a suggestion, he said take the urn and bury it in a place of your choice on the property, then fill it with flowers and trees. I remember thinking “why did it take so long for me to do this, what a perfect idea!” He did not direct me to a specific spot, but it was so easy for me to find the perfect place. I have a beautiful office that looks out onto my front balcony and the mountains. I also can see the area I buried her almost anywhere from the house that looks out towards the Valle del Cauca. I see the mountains and the Valle below. It is a place of supreme beauty. I have bought all kinds of plants, flowers, and even a tree that will grow over time. I placed an angel beside the tree, and have hung a hummingbird feeder on a branch. I find a lot of comfort watering her place of rest. It brings peace to my soul. The really interesting part of this story is it is the place of the original church of El Meson, and I did not know this until after she was buried. Misha is buried in holy ground. I also know if there are any spirits at Villa Migelita, they are good, kind souls.

I recently found out I still own the church of El Meson and I am in the process of giving the church back to the community. I have donated paintings and a cross in the memory of my daughter Mikel Cara Carson. She has still not had justice in her death, and a trial is scheduled for this March with a disclaimer that it could change. It will be 4 years on Jan 31st. church 014