A little about my background for the people who don’t know. I am a Mongolian, so it could technically be classified as both East Asian and Central Asian.

Objectively I would say I look mostly East Asian, and in most cases Americans or Europeans mistake me for Korean or Japanese, so this is all based on my month long travel around Russia with Trans Siberian Railway, buses, and other methods of transportation.

To cut to the chase, the short answer is, Russia feels very safe and never did I feel uncomfortable while travelling, but if you are interested in the nuances please stay tuned.

However, there are instances where you might be mistaken for minorty groups such as Kazakh, Kyrgyz, or Buryat, so depending on how stereotypically East Asian you look, it might depend.

Do Russians Treat Asians Differently?

Usually East Asian, especially Chinese tourists have the infamous reputation of being loud and rude, so if you are in a group, Russians might find it annoying.

However, since I was travelling by myself people didn’t really care about my background and treated me like everybody else.

Best advice is to be respectful and behave well just like in any other countries, then you will be fine. One of the things I think a lot of Europeans find annoying is some cultural differences East Asians and Europeans might have. Usually East Asians stereotypically have less tact and due to media and previous experiences with group of tourists, some Russians may have developed some negative views, not necessarily racist views though.

Was Taking The Trans Siberian Safe?

I’ve taken the Trans Siberian quite a few times and actually wrote a guide on getting cheap tickets, and never have I felt uncomfortable or as if the people treated me badly.

If you are taking the Trans Siberian and travelling in Russia, then you HAVE to get one of these adapters.

The people who usually take the Trans Siberian are mostly normal people who are just going about their lives. Some of them might be interested in you if you are foreigner and would like to know more about you or try to strike conversations.

Some will want to practice their English with you and also know about your culture. So my experiences with the Trans Siberian has always been positive and was lucky enough to meet people who were cool and laid back.

Are Russians Nice To Foreigners?

Depending on your background, how nice or how interested they are depends. Mexicans, Indians, and other exotic looking people get stares and have people approach them in some cases. While travelling with a group of my hostel friends, some Russian people wanted to socialize when we were at the park enjoying a few beers.

However, when I was by myself, I often felt like I was just like everybody else. People didn’t necessarily look at me differently or treat me badly. I felt like I blended I just blended in with everybody else.

Is Taking The Metro Safe For An Asian?


It’s funny because when I first got to Moscow, I was so afraid of taking the metor and even refused to go a bit outside the centre because I was sure to meet a skinhead and get beat up.

However, over time I learned how stupid that fear was and it was mainly due to brainwashing by American media and some rumores/stories that people talk about, which are blown out of proportion.

Now whenever I take the metro, doesn’t matter where in Russia, it always feels like people don’t seem to even notice I am an Asian. People are just going about their day trying to get to where they need be.

Do Russians Speak English? Do They Get Mad When You Do?

Depending on the person, sometimes the cultural barrier seems to cause problems and irritate some Russians. Since I can also pass as Kazakh, or ethnic minority in Russia there was the expectation that I could speak Russian, but since my Russian was terrible, some Russians just looked at me with surprise.

However, knowing some Russian is always good and probably it is flattering for the Russians to have foreigners and visitors trying to speak and learn their languages. Though Russians may be a bit stoic and cold on the outside, they are genuinely very helpful people and will try their best to make sure you are fine.

Did I See Nazis and Skinheads?

I was sure to come across Nazis and skinheads out on the streets of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but nothing. In fact, I don’t think I saw a person who had a shaved head. Perhaps the nationalist movement was more prevalent 10-20 years ago just before Putin was president.

Police corruption and other shady business was also more frequent, but it looks like a lot of internal affairs as well as issues with racism has seen improvement since Putin.

So Are East Asians Safe In Russia?

Don’t be stupid and have some common sense. Try not to walk in secluded alleys during the night by yourself, take note of your personal belongings and don’t be a walking target for muggers and robbers.

Aside from that, Russia relatively safe for foreigners and visitors, though I would recommend to avoid looking like a typical tourist because they are always targeted by pickpockets and muggers for easy money.

Are you looking to book a ticket with the Trans Siberian Railway but don’t know how to book the tickets? No worries because I’ve been in the same situation before, so I will be sharing the most easiest way to book them for very cheap prices.

FYI: Always be sure to bring one of these adapters with you if you want your phones and laptops working 🙂

How Much Does Trans Siberian Actually Cost?

Depending on what class you are traveling with and where you are going the prices vary. But for some understanding, the general estimate is ~2500 rubles from Saint Petersburg to Moscow vice versa.

~3500 rubles if your train ride takes about 20 or so hours of travel.

~6000 and up rubles if you are taking a long ride from Western Russia to parts of far East Russia.

You can use this currency converter to check the actual prices in your local currency.

Why Not To Book With Travel Agencies

To be honest you don’t actually have to go through local travel agencies or go through 3rd party vendors. Although they may be making it a bit of a less hassle for you, they still add their commission on top of the actual ticket fare and you are getting charged more.

What Times Are The Most Cheapest To Book?

I found usually booking tickets for late night trains which are during the weekdays to be the most cheap. It makes logical sense because most people will prefer to travel on Friday or the weekend on manageable times, which leaves more tickets for unusual times.

The closer you get to the date of travel though, it does get more expensive, so if you want the cheapest tickets available, it’s always a good idea to book one in advance.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Tickets At The Counter?

Instead of booking tickets through travel agencies, yes you can buy tickets straight at the counter when you are traveling, but you are at the mercy of your luck. Also, the ticket officers won’t be able to speak English at all so there might language barriers you will have to deal with as well.

Sometimes the tickets will be sold out and you might end up stranded worst case scenario.

The best solution is to buy your tickets through the official website online and print your ticket at the station.

Booking Tickets Through The Official Website

If you have Cyrillic keyboard, then it should be easy for you otherwise you should install Cyrillic keyboard on your computer before proceeding. Although you could use Latin script, the official Trans Siberian Railway website gets finicky with Latin and English.

However, the most easiest way probably is to use an online virtual Cyrillic keyboard and then copy and paste.

If you don’t understand Russian, use Google Translate. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Step 1. Register on the website

Go to the official website: http://www.rzd.ru/

registration on rzd web

Step 2. Enter Your Destination

Once you are done registering, go back to homepage and enter your destination.

entering in your destination on russia train

Pick a good time to travel and the class you would like to travel with. I usually recommend 2nd class it’s the best of both worlds. It’s not too expensive and somewhat comfortable.

choosing seat and berth on russia's train website.

Step 3. Login

You should have registered already and verified your account via email address.

Step 4. Enter your personal information

passenger information on siberian railway site

Take your time and be careful with this one, because if you make a typo or a mistake, then you will not be able to board your train, so double check. You can actually use the English version on this for easier understanding. There is a UK flag on the top right hand corner.

Step 5. Add any additional services you might need

It will ask you if you want any insurance and additional baggage services. Depending on your needs, choose whichever is appropriate.

Step 6. Check Out With Credit Card

russian railways checkout page

Now that you are at the final stage, check out by inputting your credit card details. Once done you should be able to download the PDF version of your ticket which you will be able to print out.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

It might be a little of an annoying process to be honest, to book on the russian railway website. But if you want to get the best prices, it’s the best way.

Just remember to use Google Translate well and try not to click on other things that don’t make sense when booking your ticket.

 

 

So you have made plans to take the Trans Siberian Railway? If not but planning on taking the Trans Siberian Railway, then read how to book cheap Trans Siberian Tickets.

Depending on the train and the season, the temperature on the trains can be fickle, so it’s best to pack clothes suited for both comfort and practicality.

Which Class Should You Book For Trans Siberian?

1st & 2nd Class

Depending on what class ticket you bought, it will vary. Assuming you got first or second class, you should get air conditioning somewhat, but don’t count on it too much because sometimes the air conditioning does not work.

3rd Class

3rd class does not have any air conditioning and you are packed in a room with many other people, so it can get a bit uncomfortable for some people who need fresh air and the cool breeze. I would advise getting 2nd class for journeys that are longer than 12 hours.

How Hot Does / Cold It Get on The Trans Siberian?

If it’s sunny and assuming the air conditioning does not work well, it can reach well over 30 degrees celcius. If you are in 3rd class, this can be pretty bad because you have a room full of people sweating and smelling funky. If you are trying to save money as much as possible and have to take 3rd class, try to book a berth close to the window.

There is a caveat however, because if you leave the window open during the night, it does get chilly and sometimes the thin blanket that is provided does not suffice. I would recommend getting one of Coolmax’s Travel Blanket, because they are thin but retain heat very well.

What Are Appropriate Clothes To Wear Then?

The list below will help you avoid getting extremely hot or cold when the temparatures do change.

  • Thin Trousers – Thin cotton trousers are great for allowing air to flow through your legs whilst at the same time keeping you somewhat warm during the cool nights. Jeans or shorts are not really recommended because you do have the risk of getting cold or hot, the median balance is thin trousers.
  • Hoodie Jacket – Since it gets cold during the night or in case you need to go outside, it’s always handy to have a hoodie jacket near you. You won’t necessarily have to wear them on the train, but hoodie jackets with zippers are easy to put on and very practical for train rides.
  • Cotton Longsleeve – Like thin cotton trousers, cotton longsleeves are a good choice, because if you only wear a tshirt, you can get cold during the night or have mosquitos bite you, but a thick shirt is not neither a good idea, so the best median is cotton longsleeve. Getting 1 or 2 sizes bigger might be better since you can have some airflow and avoid sweat sticking to you as much.
  • Slippers – And never forget comfy slippers to take with you on the train. The Train does offer their own brand of slippers they sell on the train, but if you prefer your own brand, then don’t forget to bring a pair.

Best of luck on your travels and your journey on the trans siberian! If you have not already, you should read:

How to take the Trans Siberian from China to Mongolia

How to take the Trans Siberian from Russia to Mongolia

As I wander through life, it’s interesting how you are challenged every step of the way whether it is emotionally, spiritually, and many other facets of existence. Everything you have grown to know, everything you thought was truth sometimes comes crumbling down right in front of you.

Though there can be many explanations for things happening the way it did, I would like to believe the universe or life as we call it puts certain people and events in your life for you to learn a new perspective. While I won’t deny things can just happen randomly or for no reason at all and while it very may be just meaningless, at least the latter thought is more comforting (probably one of the reasons we have religion in the world).

Living in A Selfish World

I think it’s in our nature to be selfish, to see things from a perspective of lack, and because of that lack is probably where desire and attachment comes from. If we had the power to create reality as we pleased instantly, who knows maybe we would never know what attachment or desire actually is?

Regardless, it’s the reality of the world we live in, where since birth you are conditioned to believe that the world is harsh, cold and lacking, that you have to make something of yourself to be worthy, to be loved by others, and to protect what you have.

Attachment in Our Everday Lives

Materialism:

Materialism is the most easy and common form of attachment we might experience. A lot of us accrue junk and hoard all that junk because we can’t let go. Maybe it’s that ugly sweater you bought for Christmas, or maybe that toy that sits under your shelf, you probably still keep things that you don’t need.

Friendships

Friends come and go, whether it’s because of life circumstance, falling out, or just losing touch, but sometimes we hold on to friendships that no longer serve us. Sometimes we try to maintain things as is, while knowing it will never be the same; it’s just painful and disheartening to know that you longer feel connected with people that were so important to you. Truth is people grow in different directions and sometimes who they were, who you were change.

Relationships

Just like friendships, your partner or spouse can change and you might change over the course of the relationship or marriage. For some reason, society likes to label relationships and marriages into a box, an obligation.

Selfishness & Attachements In Lifelong Goals

But lets perhaps go even deeper, even in noble intentions that are supposedly not selfish. Having dreams and aspirations and goals in life are encouraged and it’s instilled within us to fight for something, to stand for something. But at the end of the day, it comes from selfishness and our perceived thought of lack in the world, this attachment and this desire we have, most of the time.

For example: Though many of us can be passionate about justice, fairness, and peace, why is it that we are so focused on changing certain things about the world so that it fits our ideal, so that it’s to our liking? Why not seek peace and justice in the places that do exist? It seems like we are drawn to negatives to make things positives.

In a logical and a practical world it seems you need to change something in order to improve things or make things a reality, but I wonder if we are going about it the wrong way, because in the process of wanting to improve something or make things better we are creating an image, an expectation within our minds of how things ought to be. And that is where attachment and desire, or selfishness seems to come from. We want things to be a certain way while working on our lifelong goals. Most of us are not trusting the process and the joy of being in the moment of living your life’s purpose.

Act of Letting Go of Desires & Being Selfless

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.
Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.”

The most simple answer I can think of is accepting every moment as a passing feeling, something to observe, something to appreciate while it lasts without worrying of the future. Your pond of stability, depending on certain events and life circumstances, will be disturbed by outside influences, but sooner or later that pond will calm itself.

Material possessions, romantic partners, and friends all come and go whether you like it or not, but in the act of trying to possess something, we lose sight of the greatest gift of life; they joy and true appreciation of the world as is.

As much as I say this, I still hope and yearn for everlasting and timeless sense of beauty when it comes to life. I can only dream, but unfortunately it’s not the reality we live in.

Travelling by yourself can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s your first time to begin with. There are certain challenges that you might face, but the journey you will go through is well worth the effort and time.

Now I can understand why you may be hesitant about travelling by yourself. Probably they are reasons regarding:

  • Safety
  • Company
  • Expenses

However most importantly it probably is safety and being afraid of what might happen when you are by yourself. This is completely understandable, especially if you happen to be a woman.

Why You Should Travel By Yourself, Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Free to do what you want
  • Your schedule is more flexible
  • You learn to adapt and survive
  • Make new friends and connections
  • Learn to accept yourself

Cons:

  • Might be a little more expensive
  • Fear of being alone

When you are travelling by yourself, as long as you are comfortable with being by yourself and are able to adapt to your environment easily, you shouldn’t have much to worry about, though it is true that extroverted people tend to fare more better when travelling by themselves.

It’s not as bad as you think

And I mean that literally, the world is not an evil place because most people genuinely have a good heart and are curious about meeting interesting people. The media likes to take things to an extreme and rely on shock and awe to get your attention and views.

Media and what you see on the news, Facebook feed, etc does not reflect reality and is showing you an aspect of a country’s flaws through a magnified lense.

What You Fear, Is What You’ll See

We as humans are interesting. We look for things on the internet to confirm our own biases and see what we want to see. Most of us may not be conscious and aware of this behaviour, but we do it in our everyday life without realizing it. What we focus on and believe tend to get our attention more often, and this is especially true in the online digital world.

Social media, Google, and Search Engines tailor certain results and feeds according to your tastes and likes, so that you will keep using their services. If you enjoy travelling, you will most likely get ads and posts from friends who travel, hence if you have a negative view on life and let fear dictate how you see the world, that is what you will mostly see in the digital world.

It’s really important to be mindful of these things and allow yourself to look certain biases, fears, and judgments from an objective point of view.

Let go of your prior conditioning that the rest of the world is unsafe, uncivilized, and hostile. Travel really is a cure for ignorance and also racism as long as you are open minded and willing to learn the unknown.

My Fear of Getting Beat Up In Russia by Nazis

I had always wanted to travel to Russia and experience the slavic culture, however being someone who looks more or less Central Asian, I heard stories of people from Caucus region being bullied or getting beaten by skinheads for no reason while in Moscow.

While I wanted to travel to Moscow and Russia, I let fear hold me back for a long time. The more I thought about travelling there, the more I searched online about safety concerns and whether Russian people are racist towards minority people, etc.

At the end of the day, that did not help at all, because after researching for hours, I was more confused than ever. However, I decided to take a chance and booked a flight ticket and the Trans Siberian Railway.

It was one of the most eye opening experiences to realize that people were actually nice to me, interested in getting to know me, talk to me, and overall genuinely helpful. Even made some friends with “skinheads” (not really, just shaved men) during my travels.

Once you let go of the fear and the instilled idea that the outside world is bad, you will truly learn to be free and make decisions for yourself.

Habits For Letting Go of Travel Fears

When most people think of travelling, they think that it has to be perfect with exact detailed plan on what they are going to do when they are going to do it. Or in most cases, people choose the supposed “safe” options and visit the touristy places, stay in their comfort zone, and don’t don’t dare to explore. THAT IS BORING!

People might have different preferences or ideas of travel, but if you really want to travel the world, as in explore what life has to offer, you have to accept uncertainty and let go of certain rules and restraints.

Here are just a few habits that help me letting go of fears and worries: 

  • Meditation – This is simply breathing in and out while being mindful of your breath. It’s about letting go of any unnecessary thoughts and being in tune with your body and spirit. For meditation practice I recommend this book.
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  • Socializing – When you travel by yourself you will have to interact with other people and make new friends. However, why wait. I challenge you to talk to random strangers about anything and get comfortable socializing with random strangers. It doesn’t have to be deep conversations, but just simple hellos, how are you, and chit chat. If you truly want to enjoy your travel experience, you will need to be comfortable with striking conversations with random people on the street.
  • Minimalism – It’s amazing how much crap and unnecessary junk we accumulate during our lives. Take steps each day to declutter your life and focus on what’s important. In honesty, we don’t need that much. As long as we have good friends, shelter, food, and some quality clothes to wear, that meets about 80% of our needs, however in today’s day and age, a lot of people are trying to replace human connection with things we buy.

Managing Your Finances While Travelling By Yourself

Finances are of course an important topic when it comes to travelling alone. When you have a buddy or group of friends, lodging is a bit cheaper and although you might have to pay a little extra for hotels and lodging, on the upside, you have complete control over how you want to finance things.

When you get into the mentality of group think and majority vote, you might end up spending money on activities, foods, restaurants, and places you necessarily didn’t want to go to, but had to because everyone else was doing it, but when you have the choice of doing what you wish, in the end, you could perhaps travel much more cheaply relatively.

Here are just a few ways to save money while travelling by yourself

Staying in a Hostel

A hostel is sort of like a college dorm. A single room, could probably house 8 people, so privacy might be a little issue, however, it’s a very cheap alternative to hotels and renting houses. Sometimes hostels are only a few dollars per night!

It does not necessarily have to be dirty and run down, some hostels are really modern, well-kept, and tidy; just make sure to read the reviews and look at the pictures carefully, though the more expensive the hostel, the more likely better it’s going to be (but not always)

While you should keep your belongings as safe as possible, the people you meet in hostels will mostly be kind souls and interesting people from all walks of life. I still keep in touch with some of the people I met in hostels and have had amazing experiences.

Pack Your Own Food

Go to a nearby grocery store and buy food you can prepare yourself. You don’t necessarily have to eat out everyday. Most hostels will have kitchens and refrigerators. You can save a lot of money just by buying your own food.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Discounts

You would be surprised by how simply asking for a discount can save you a lot of money. Whenever you buy goods from people, it does not hurt to ask if there is a special, or a slight discount on certain services or products.

Assuming you save 5%-10% on most purchases, that can really make a difference and add up.

Be Smart About Finding Deals

If you are savvy enough with the internet, you can find some awesome deals online when it comes to booking hotels, airfare tickets, and much more.

Read this guide for finding deals on airfare and booking online.

Sometimes you can even skip the whole online process and buy it straight from the source. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy straight from the source physically rather than buying it online, because sometimes the website adds taxes and commission.

You Are Free At The End Of The Day

Ulan Ude Russia

There is something freeing about travelling by yourself and venturing into the unknown. You are free to explore yourself as a person, make new friends, and in a way reinvent yourself.

When you are in your home country, or somewhere where you interact with the same people everyday, whether you like to or not, you will have to refrain from saying certain things, doing certain things, because of the fear of judgment. However, when you are truly alone in a foreign land, even if people judge you, it won’t affect your livelihood, because well… you are a foreigner. The local rules and customs don’t apply to you in one sense.

You have many opportunities and possibilities to make choices and decisions for yourself and you only. You learn to listen to your soul and allow your soul to follow its calling; you truly learn to let go and enjoy the present moment.

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Let’s learn a few simple phrases that you can say in Mongolian. If you know these basic phrases, you will be able to get around most places within Mongolia.



Hi / Hello – Sain baina uu? Сайн байна уу?

What’s up? – Yu baina? Юу байна?

How are you? – Sain uu? Сайн уу?

Do you want to grab a drink? – Yum olj u-uh u? Pivdoh u? Юм олж уух уу? Пиводох уу?

Who is it? – Hen be? Хэн бэ?

How was your day? Sonin hachin? Сонин хачин?

What have you been up to? Yu heeged ill baina da? Юу хийгээд л байна даа?

Goodbye – Bayrtai, baka, bye. Баяртай, бака

See you tomorrow – Margaash uulzya. Маргааш уулзЪя

Talk to you later – Daraa yariya. Дараа яръя

How much? – Une hed ve? Үнэ хэд вэ?

Where is X / Where can I find X – X haana baidag ve? X хаана байдаг вэ?

Can you help me? – Nadad tuslaach? Надад туслаач?

Thank you – Bayarlalaa. Баярлалаа

You’re welcome – Zugeeree. Зүгээрээ

I am from (Insert Country) – Be (Insert Country) ulsaas irsen. Би (Insert Country) улсаас ирсэн.

Excuse me – Uuchlaarai. Уучлаарай

Go to X – X yavna. Х явна

Does this go to X – Ene X yavdag u? Энэ Х явдаг уу?

Yes – Tiim. Тийм

No – Ugui. Үгүй

I don’t understand – Be oilgodogguie. Би ойлгодүггүй ээ.

Do you speak X? – Ta X heleer yaridag u? Та Х хэлээр ярьдаг уу?

Could you repeat that? – Ta dahiad heleed uguch? Та дахиад хэлээд өгөөч?

Let’s go – Yavya. ЯвЪя

Where do you live – Chi/ta haana amidardag ve? Чи/та хаана амьдардаг вэ?

What is this? – Ene yu ve? Энэ юу вэ?

How do you say X in Mongolian – X-iig Mongolor yu gedeg ve? Х-ыг Монголоор юу гэдэг вэ?

How many are there? – Hed baigaa ve? Хэд байгаа вэ?

Are you okay – Chi/ta zuger u? Чи/та зүгээр үү?

What’s happening – Yu bolod baina? Юу болоод байна?

I’m hungry – Bi ulsuj baina. Би өлсөж байна

I’m tired – Bi yadarch baina. Би ядарч байна

I have to go – Be yavah heregtei baina. Би явах хэрэгтэй байна

Good luck – Amjilt husie. Амжилт хүсье

I love you – Be chamd hairtai. Би чамд хайртай

I like you – Chi nadad taalagddag. Чи надад таалагддаг

Next Lesson: Simple Greetings to Learn in Mongolian

Buy Mongolian Language eBook: https://orgilproductions.com/learn-mongolian/

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you could have sworn that you saw Mongolian people using the traditional script in a documentary that you watched, you are mistaking Inner Mongolians with Mongolians (sometimes wrongly referred to as Outer Mongolians). Inner Mongolians still use the Traditional Script for writing, but we will be focusing on the writing system within Mongolia.

There are many reasons why Mongolians no longer use the Traditional Script, but do know that Mongolians still learn how to write and read somewhat in Mongolian script during middle-school and sometimes for cultural/historical reasons, they are used in festivities and holidays. We just don’t use them for everyday life anymore, so let’s get into the reasons.



The Origins of Mongolian Traditional Script

Mongolian, being of Turkic origins, share a lot of commonality with Central Asian and Northeast Asian languages. While it’s still up for a lot of debate, historians say Mongolian is related to the Altaic language family and Uighur writing system.

For detailed info on its origins, you can read here on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_script

The Writings Systems and Alphabets Used in Mongolians

While Mongolians originally used the Traditional script, there were times when Tibetan Sanskrit and Persian forms of writing such as Phags-pa, Soyombo, and Square scripts were used more commonly starting from late 14th century up until 18th century.

After gaining independence in 1921, Mongolians for brief moment of time even used the Latin alphabet for day to day use, but due to economical and political reasons, Mongolia eventually officially stuck with Mongolian Cyrillic since 1946.

Why Is Traditional Script Not Adopted Again?

  • Changing back to traditional script is a very implausible scenario for Mongolia. Not only would it require almost every building, road sign, and educational book to be replaced with enormous costs, but logically there is no benefit to changing the writing system back to the traditional script.
  • There are about 10 million people who speak some version or language similar to Mongolian, and only 5 million or so Mongolians use traditional script. However, there are over 300 million people who use some form of the Cyrillic alphabet. Traditional Mongolian script also poses a lot of problems when it comes to use of computers and font support on the internet since it’s written vertically rather than horizontally. There are many filler words and in general traditional script takes up more space than Cyrillic.
  • However, most importantly, the Cyrillic alphabet is a symbol of Mongolian sovereignty from Manchuria’s 300 years of rule, present day China. Reverting back to traditional script in way would signify Mongolia giving up their sovereignty and undoing the hundreds of years of independence movement efforts. Mongolia and China relationship is still a touchy subject for most modern day Mongolians.

Buy Mongolian Language eBook: https://orgilproductions.com/learn-mongolian/

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Short answer is yes, Mongolians in Mongolia (or Outer Mongolia as some may incorrectly refer to) learn the traditional script in middle school. However, there are many reasons why Mongolians don’t use the traditional script day to day.

Now, if you’re scratching your head and wondering how come you saw traditional Mongolian script written on buildings and people actually using the script alphabet for writing. You may mixing it up with Inner Mongolia – which is part of China.



Writing Systems in Mongolian vs Inner Mongolia

Modern day Mongolia gained its independence from Manchurian colonial rule in 1921 and was recognized as an independent country in 1924 by the U.N, however, people still mix up Inner Mongolia and Mongolia. There are numerous instances where people thought I could speak Mandarin because I was Mongolian, but most Mongolians are not able to speak Mandarin.

Anyways, if we are to compare the official writing systems in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, modern day Mongolians use the Cyrillic Alphabet day to day although Mongolian script is still an official writing system, please read “Why Mongolians Use Cyrillic” for details.

However, Inner Mongolia still uses the traditional Mongolian script and Mandarin Chinese since it’s a part of China. From what I hear, less and less Inner Mongolians are opting to study or learn Mongolian for better opportunities with Mandarin Chinese, however some people do disagree and state that the Mongolian language is still preserved. From personal experience in Erlian and Xilinghot, I barely came across anyone who could speak Mongolian, so who knows…

Are Mongolians Taught The Traditional Script?

Yes, Mongolians do learn the traditional Mongolian script when in school and gain somewhat of a comprehension in reading and writing in Mongolian script. Even though I myself have spent almost half my life outside Mongolia, I was required to learn the traditional script during Middle School and to this day, I am still able to make out the general gist of a sentence, though grammar wise I am terrible.

So, most people who grew up in Mongolia are able to read and write in traditional script, though it’s very elementary and basic.

When Is Traditional Script Used in Mongolia?

If you ever visit Mongolia, especially during the holidays, you will see plenty of Mongolian traditional script around. Mongolian script is moreso of a historical tradition and culture than an actual writing system. Some buildings and ads will be written in Traditional script for a more Mongolian old/vintage feel, but day to day everyone uses the Cyrillic.

The traditional script at the end of the day is something of the past and a tradition that Mongolians still like to preserve for historical and cultural reasons.

Buy Mongolian Language eBook: https://orgilproductions.com/learn-mongolian/

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We Don’t See Our Own Faults

It’s interesting how we like to look at the faults of others and judge the things around us without considering how we affect others. Most of the time, it’s always someone else who has wronged us, made us feel bad, and behaved badly without any consideration of others.

However, we often tend to overlook our own flaws and how we interact with our surroundings. You probably had friends, family, and colleagues complain about how someone wronged them one way or another. The reality is that we all behave badly and we are not the saints we may think of ourselves to be.

I’ve had drivers complain about someone else’s terrible and aggressive driving whilst doing exactly the same thing himself. We truly are our worst critic since we lack the perspective to look at ourselves without bias. Selfishness is a funnily a paradox. As long as we benefit from our selfishness it’s not considered selfishness in our own eyes, however as soon as it’s in the interest of someone else to not bend to our will, it’s considered “selfish”.

You Are Responsible For Your Own Happiness

Ever had people believe a favour or a gesture of goodwill was mandatory or something that was expected of them? Perhaps your spouse got mad at you for being too busy with work to clean the house, or perhaps your friend said you were “selfish” for not giving him a lift to the store because you had other important priorities. In truth, you could argue your spouse or friend were the selfish ones for not being considerate of your time and your personal life.

People form unhealthy dependency on others for their own autonomy and happiness, as if we owe them something. It’s something we have to be mindful of in order to avoid becoming dependent on someone else for our own happiness and well-being, and to also avoid situations where someone might become unhealthily dependent on you for their own happiness and well being.

At the end of the day, no one owes us anything. No one has wronged us nor has the obligation to comply with our expectations. While you should have expectations for yourself to become the best you can be, expectations placed upon others and expectations placed upon life can bring you great misery and dissatisfaction.

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It’s up to you to make something of yourself and live your life happily according to your values. Don’t like where you live? Unhappy with the shitty friends who take advantage of you? Good, it’s up to you figure something out and improve your life!

 

 

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I remember the days when falling in love couldn’t be any easier. All it took was a linger that lasted a while longer. For days and nights the sweet feeling of infatuation surrounds with its blanket of warmth and romantic idealism. The sappy love songs and the cheesy movies actually made sense for a change.

What started off as mere fantasy became borderline obsession. And then suddenly, the muse I made, the idealism I held all fell crumbling down. Realizing the so called undying love was never reciprocated and that she never had the same feelings in the first place stabbed a wound deeper than any blade could.

But life goes on, as in time, wounds healed, and I felt ready for another adventure. With chest out and head up high, the world looked brighter, more optimistic, something that was missing from my life for a while. Soon enough, my stomach is churning, lips dry, and breath heavy, a feeling that once was lost but regained. Somehow this time, I actually had the courage to whisper a word, but soon enough I regretted it. I walk away in embarrassment only to mull myself over my idiocy.



However, life is forgiving and rich in generosity. I was sitting face to face, with the girl of my “dreams” finally! That sound of her laughter, her smile; if only we could freeze time and stay in them forever. Waiting for that phone ring almost felt like eternity and with slightest whisper of sound, my trembled and reached for the phone. But I still wait, perhaps she did not get my message, perhaps something happened, I thought, but slowly the realization kicked in. The sadness, the disappointment, the grief…

My guitar would take a good beating for a few days, as a means to mend yet another broken heart. Only this time around, forever it did not take; perhaps life’s responsibilities demanded a quick recovery. I dust myself off yet again, and set sail for a different horizon. Ohh how life always challenges you every step of the way guiding you.

Love at first sight? I thought such things no longer existed? Perhaps I should be careful, perhaps there’s more to it, I pondered. Down the rabbit hole deeper I went into the elusive nature of love, but the mystical forces of love could not let me off so easily as I found myself yet again at the mercy of Eros. She was intelligent, ambitious, and had a knack for challenging my assertions. This time though, I was prepared, “somewhat…”, and as fate would have it, she was under my arms staring into my soul like the starry skies at night.

Yet, it’s funny how fleeting it all can be. My heart said yes, but my mind said no. As much as I tried to convince myself into my delusions, sometimes love is not enough. The deeper I dive in love, the worse the pain, but more the growth. But life always works out for the best, it shows you that things can get better if you so choose, as those same butterflies found their way back in my stomach.

Aahhh, those big brown eyes and elegant grace of her body and voice. For once, my crazy philosophical rants, my outrageous spiritual beliefs, didn’t sound so crazy after all, as she stared into my world with amazement and excitement. At last, someone that could connect with my purest form of self, my ideals, my values…

But as if the Almighty above couldn’t make it any harder, time and circumstance never allowed for the flower to fully blossom. But life still goes on… slowly but surely your ideals of romanticism with it. New and old, they all leave their imprint on to you and they in turn take some of yours. Love no longer is the romantic movies you watch on TV, songs you hear on the Radio, nor fantasies you read in books; it becomes something more; something mature, more grounded, more real.

Yet, we still hold on to that little innocence of love, that Romanticism of our youth……..

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Thailand Travel Diary Day 2 – Let go of who you think you are

What do I exactly mean by this? To let go of who you think you are. Well, I’ll explain in greater detail.

This is day two of my solo travel in Thailand, and it’s amazing how many revelations I’ve had.

When you get used to a certain way of lifestyle and habit, you in essence let that define you. You let your job, friends, family, and everything attached to you define YOU. There is a saying “the things you own end up owning you”, which kind of relates to what I am talking about.

You are not making an identity for yourself, but you are letting outside influences define who you are and what you can or can not do.

Best advice is to never play the game if possible, though it’s hard, because communities, societies, and cultures are basically built on general consensus of our collective thinking.



My Past Experience With American Culture

Just to recount some of my experiences in American culture a few years ago, I lost track of the times I defied other people’s expectations/stereotypes of how “Asians” usually are. Mongolian culture is significantly different to what most Americans are used to since they’ve been more exposed to East Asian culture rather than Central-Asian culture.

While I had my fun messing with other people’s preconceived notions of “Asians” at first, sooner or later, how people view you kind of rubs off on you. There is a sense of being viewed not good enough or worthy enough because you happen to be an Asian.

Now there are plenty of advantages that come with being Asian such as being perceived non-threatening, smart and intelligent, but there is an underlying cultural consensus that Asians are viewed as awkward, anti-social, passive, and unattractive in some circumstances. Because of this, I’ve noticed some social barriers that made it less inviting, and in some cases harder to be accepted as just an individual instead of being labeled as that “different” Asian kid.

I do not speak any East Asian languages; some even commented that I am tall for an “Asian” although I am more or less average height in most places, and stares or looks whenever I was out on dates with American girls as if people were questioning “how is that possible?”.

No, I have not encountered any racism, but just subtle cultural influences that made me feel less and less confident in my own identity over the course of years while I lived in America, which eventually led me to believe in an identity of what other people thought of me.

If you have read my post about day 1, you’ll know that you have to lose yourself to find yourself again. Luckily, that is exactly what has happened. It’s just so freeing to be in a new environment so that you can explore yourself again.

You Make Your Own Identity

Only now am I starting to really unwind the conditioning that American culture has led me to believe. The narrative of “The Asian kid who always tried to be different or tried to defy stereotypes”. Fuck that! Looking back, I wasn’t really “trying” to be different, it was just who I was. However because people acted so surprised and because they thought I was not really being an “Asian”, I started believing their version of who I should be instead of my own.

Even if you have certain Asian stereotypes that apply to you, so what? It’s not something to be ashamed of. If you are smart, intelligent, nerdy, or geeky and enjoy everything associated with those “labels”, you don’t have to dumb yourself down to fit in. Just find people who enjoy those nerdy/geeky things you enjoy.

My parting word of advice for people wanting to explore themselves: Travel around to different countries, different cultures, and different places. You’ll soon learn that your version of “life” and “reality” or what you think is “truth” will be questioned and tested. Whether you decide to learn from it or ignore it is your own choice.

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Authentic Is Mongolian Grill?

If you are not aware of what Mongolian Grill is, in short, it’s a big round cooking “pan” where 3 or more chefs grill your food right on the spot as you watch. However, I am sure you are well aware of that and have probably been to Mongolian grill restaurants such as BDs.

But, how authentic are they really? Short answer is, not that much… but it’s not something that was completely made up as traditional Mongolian food in some ways can relate to Mongolian grill.



Is It Different From Traditional Mongolian Cuisines?

Yes, it’s very different from traditional Mongolian dishes such as Khuushuur, Tsuivan, Buuz, Khorkhog etc. The preparation methods significantly vary.

No traditional foods are fried on a big round pan like Mongolian grill restaurants, but there is one similarity.

mongolian cooking pot
Photo: caak.mn

Shirmen Togoo – A big aluminum pot is used to make soup, milk tea, boiled milk. It’s not only used for boiling stuff though, but it can be used to make foods like beef rice, Tsuivan, and other non soupy foods; different ingredients get mixed in the pot.

Should You Stop Eating At “Mongolian” Grills

If you enjoy the food, why? I enjoy going there from time to time and find the food delicious. Although it’s not 100% authentic, it opens door for many to learn more about Mongolia and its culture.

So go ahead and eat as much as you want!

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There she sit on the floor, watching a movie on the TV, with me right behind her. Her demeanor and golden blonde hair seem to suggest that it’s someone I know. She rocks back and forth as if she wants me to catch her and perhaps even hug her, but nothing from my end. Frustrated she forcefully rocks herself backwards and I have no choice but to catch her.

As she slowly turns around over her right shoulder, it’s definitely someone I know, there’s no mistaking it. The same perked lips, the same piercing eyes with a look that said I missed you. As I stare in surprise, she reaches over to kiss me, but with every inch of my willpower I turn away.

My mind racing and confused, I whisper “If it didn’t work the first time, how will it the second?” Regretful and upset, she reaches forward and sits back where she was; teary eyed, heavy in her silent mind.

That touch, that look, the same warm fuzzy feelings that I so know of. Did I really want to try again, to give it another chance? Maybe… I don’t know… Anything to make her sadness go away. I slowly muster myself the courage and reach over to hug her.



Her small tiny head fit just where it used to, her warm breath heavy on my skin with a deep longing to be close. So comfortable, so familiar, so warm, as if I could stay there forever, just like old times. But something pulls me away from this dream, this fantasy, and soon enough I find myself laying in my bed, in the dark.

Dreams scare me! 

How real they can sometimes seem? Are we dreaming so that in a way we can fix any unresolved issues? Or are we actually connecting spiritually with things beyond the physical.

It’s hard making up my mind whether our dreams are isolated from the world and we in a way are just in our own fantasy land or whether we are actually getting in touch with our higher selves and our loved ones in the spiritual realm.

If it’s just our neural signals sending electrons to different parts of our brain, is that all we are? Is our reality and “life” as we call it just in our heads/brain?

Now I am sure I am not the first to wonder of these questions, the Brain in A Vat theory by Descartes poses the same questions about reality. Since our sense of smell, taste, touch, etc are mere signals to our brains, which tell us what to and how to feel.

Then there are other people on the other side of spectrum, where it’s theorized that the heart is the most magnetic organ in our body and through our heart we connect with things in life, not our brains.

So which is it? I want to believe in the latter, the idea that we are all connected energetically and spiritually.

Ever had those moments when you suddenly think of someone or had a dream about them? When it’s out of nowhere, when your heart just feels heavy with the thought of someone you knew or cared deeply about in the past, what do you make of it?

Unresolved feelings? Mind tricks by our brains? Or perhaps are we energetically and spiritually connecting with someone we knew?

Yeah, just questions that make you confused and questions to make you wonder what it all means.

 

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Alchemist is by far one of my most favourite books. You can find many important life lessons that you can apply to your own life. The book itself is a story of a young shepherd named Santiago seeking his own personal legend, in other words, his purpose in life. While on his journey he is faced with overbearing obstacles and challenges hidden with a deeper meaning. Here are the things I found most inspiring.

FINDING YOUR PERSONAL LEGEND

The book starts with Santiago, a young Spanish shepherd’s repeated visions of a hidden treasure near the Egyptian pyramids whenever he dozes off while grazing his flock. Sensing there has to be a significant meaning to his visions, he goes to a Gypsy fortune teller for advice, in which he is instructed to go to Egypt to find his “hidden treasure”. The boy is hesitant, but after realizing he’ll never be happy if he doesn’t at least try, he finally decides to go forth in search of his “hidden treasure”.

Hidden treasure chest

We all have a sense of emptiness from time to time, as if we could be living our lives more healthily, or more happily. It’s a feeling you and I both can’t shake away despite our attempts to accept mediocrity of life. The book perfectly describes of the visions we ourselves have from time to time reminding our true passions in life, otherwise referred as “personal legend” in The Alchemist.

NO VALUE WITHOUT SACRIFICE

The boy soon finds himself in a dilemma, a) to play it safe and dibble dabble or b) trade half of his flock of sheep for valuable information. He ultimately decides to trade half his sheep; now he’s really in the game and can’t go back.

There is no value in something unless we sacrifice time, effort, and resources. People appreciate the things they worked hard for to achieve. This could otherwise be referred to as “burning your boats” so that you have no plan B; it’s do or die. It’s an extreme example, but you get the point. Without certain amount of commitment and sacrifice, you won’t keep yourself accountable to finish what you started since you risked little to nothing.

THE PRINCIPLE OF FAVOURABILITY

The principle of favourability, is the stroke of beginners luck we experience in a given instance. If you think back in your life, you might have had success with something you never thought you had any skill in or something that allowed you to pursue what you always wanted, which motivated you to learn more and do more.

Santiago comes across someone willing to buy his remaining sheep for a handsome price so that he could finance his trip to Egypt. He believes it will be smooth sailing, but he is in for so much more. Beginner’s luck doesn’t always last for long though, soon enough you find yourself facing a big block in your progress.

DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH THE DREAM

A girl daydreaming out a window

After losing everything the boy had due to unfortunate outcome of events, he decides to give up on his personal legend and go home. It was not what he had hoped for, but without money, friends, and resources, he learns that he will never be able to see the pyramids.

He must first however purchase his return ticket and soon finds himself having to work for a Muslim crystal merchant to get home. Santiago is fairly successful and after some time has enough money for his return, but his boss shares a story that sends chills.

Since I won’t be able to capture the beauty of the message in a short summary, here’s the quote from the book.

“When I was young, all I wanted to do was to put together enough money to start this shop. I thought that someday I’d be rich, and could go to Mecca. I began to make some money, but I could never bring myself to leave someone in charge of the shop; the crystals are delicate things.

At the same time, people were passing my shop all the time, heading for Mecca. Some of them were rich pilgrims, traveling in caravans with servants and camels, but most of the people making the pilgrimage were poorer than I. “All who went there were happy at having done so. They placed the symbols of the pilgrimage on the doors of their houses. One of them, a cobbler who made his living mending boots, said that he had traveled for almost a year through the desert, but that he got more tired when he had to walk through the streets of Tangier buying his leather.”

“Well, why don’t you go to Mecca now?” asked the boy. “Because it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that same horrible café. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.”

The crystal merchant had always wanted to go to Mecca for his hajj, and his business was just a means for him to finance his trip, but as time went on, it wasn’t long before his personal legend became more like an unattainable dream than a possibility.

How many of you know someone who’s in a similar position as the crystal merchant? Someone who only talks and talks about his or her dreams while never taking any necessary action to make it a reality?

THE CONSPIRING UNIVERSE

WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, ALL THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES IN HELPING YOU TO ACHIEVE IT

I don’t know what your religious background is or whether you believe in the law of attraction but this quote is one of my mantras. Once your beginner’s luck, or principle of favourability runs out, you are faced with a whole different level of challenges, but if you really want something badly enough, you will take chances and opportunities that present themselves, which may ultimately help you get where you want to be in life.

Santiago was a shepherd throughout his whole life, however he just knew he had to find the hidden treasure in Egypt. Though when his luck (prince of favourability) ran out, he still found opportunities and made decisions that helped him head towards the right direction.

MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo refers to the greatest tragedy of life as giving up control and letting our lives be run by fate. Making your own decisions sounds easy in theory, but in practice it’s more difficult than we think. Our friends, family, and mentors will always influence us in ways that may ultimately shape how our lives may turn out. That’s why choosing to surround yourself with the right people is of utmost importance.

The boy was given two stones Urim and Thumim by a king in case he did difficulty making any decisions. One representing yes and the other a no. Interestingly he never got the chance to really use the stones, and in situations he wanted to let a piece of stone decide his fate, he was either interrupted or a different thought occurred to him. In the end, he always ended up taking responsibility for his own decisions and actions.

DON’T MAKE YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER YOUR GOAL

Couple in the sunset

Falling in love is one of the greatest joys and pleasures in life, a universal language as the book likes to refer to. I’ve fallen in love many times, from simple infatuations, friendships, short flings, to something more mature; each had its unique lessons and experiences. I, at one point in my life, was willing to give up my dreams, aspirations, and passions in life for love, for “The ONE”. After all, what’s a nobler cause to signify your undying love?

As time went on, I realized a part of me was missing, that I no longer felt like myself anymore. There was a nagging feeling of being unfair to my girlfriend and to myself as I always wanted to travel and not be bound by responsibilities or obligations. It was a feeling that I couldn’t be my best authentic self for her and in life. I found myself sacrificing my friends, my hobbies, and pieces of my “personal legend” to make the relationship work; but the more I tried, the more empty and hollow I felt with no purpose.

It’s not easy letting go of love, especially when both of you want it to work but it just doesn’t. I am always thankful that she had the strength to make the decision to part ways for me. It’s something I couldn’t do as I always fell silent whenever the words made its way to my mouth.

However, do you really wish to know whether you chose the right person to share your life with, or a even a portion of it? Simple answer is if he or she is willing to sacrifice love for you to be happy. Like me, Santiago finds himself head over heels and was willing to give up on Egypt and the pyramids for “The ONE”, but he did not expect his love to share words of true wisdom.

“You have told me about your dreams, about the old king and your treasure. And you’ve told me about omens. So now, I fear nothing, because it was those omens that brought you to me. And I am part of your dream, a part of your Personal Legend, as you call it. That’s why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other. Maktub,” she said. “If I am really a part of your dream, you’ll come back one day.” (p. 97)
Fatima shows her understanding of the boy and of the world by encouraging him to pursue his dream rather than stay with her waiting for the war to end. She believes, as he does, that their destinies have been written, and if they are meant to be together, they will be. Thus there is nothing to fear in separating now, for as the word “maktub” is translated, it is written, and if fate will unveil itself, they will reunite.

In the end, true love is wishing what is best for yourself and your significant other, so that both of you may find your personal legends. Some may share the same ride throughout your whole life, some may change to a different ride, and some may hop on the same ride again. Whatever the outcome, each one of us are on our own journey to find our “hidden treasure”.

THE IRONY OF IT ALL. THE HIDDEN TREASURE

And do you know what the irony of it all is? No, I won’t spoil the fun for you, but I will give you a hint. Santiago does not find the hidden treasure in Egypt, but actually gets beaten and robbed by people who went searching for the same “hidden treasure”.

He returns home to Spain, to where he first had his visions, and with a sudden smirk on his face realizes the irony of it all. I don’t want to spoil it for you 🙂 Grab yours here!

 

 

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

GROWING UP & NOSTALGIA

It’s a few hours before my flight back home after a month or so of backpacking around the United States. It has been one of the most fulfilling and life enriching experience I have ever had. What started out as a little dabble with adventure turned out to be a life changing experience. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and learning different perspectives from millionaires, broke backpackers, ex-convicts, and internationals from 4 corners of the globe.

As I sit and type this blog here in the hostel kitchen with the subtle 2000s music in the background, each and every song takes me back to a time and space of my younger self. Ohh how things have changed and how time has passed by. It’s hard not to be nostalgic and sad despite the endless possibilities ahead in the future.



THE EPIPHANY

While Rihanna sings about her Umbrella, it’s an odd feeling to realize that as we age, we become desensitized to emotions. We forget what it’s like to love, to feel, to enjoy the moment without having to worry about what’s to come tomorrow. There is just something magical about our younger days despite its ups and downs. It was a simple life with simple people. Just remembering the days of how a 2 Liter soda drink with a few of my best buddies or staying up all night chit chatting gave me more happiness than anything else is surprising, aahhh simple times indeed.

THE WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL

If there is something I learned along this backpacking trip, it is the fact that the connections you have with people are more important than almost all things in life. In the end, we all want to love and feel loved; it doesn’t have to be Romantic love, but genuine unconditional love given and received. But what do we get as soon as we turn on the radio, TV, and Computer? Flood of images about the impending world destruction, unrealistic body expectations we’ll never achieve, reasons why we won’t be happy unless we buy X, Y or Z.

The world is not all sunshine and rainbows, but for the majority of times, people are inherently good natured at heart. People like helping others, people like connecting and bonding; we are a communal species after all. However, why do we close ourselves off to others because we got burned once in the past, leading to our mistrustful attitudes towards people. We stop wanting to receive and give, but the greatest joy in life lies in giving and receiving. The world is a beautiful place if you know where to look.

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re here to read an angry blog post about a racism in America, unfortunately this is quite the opposite. Over the last 5 years here in America, as a Mongolian from Asia, in general, I’ve had a very pleasant experience with people from various backgrounds and cultures. It mainly comes down to your belief system and how open you are to different perspectives and opinions. Some of my friends think I am a liberal since I am an international, but I can be quite the conservative too. Anyways, here’s my story.



Coming to the United States as a Freshman was a truly eye opening experience. I came not only to get my bachelors degree, but to also explore everything about the American culture. As some of you might know, I was going through a phase of culture shock; shooting stars and fireworks for a few months! Fraternities, parties, sports, college life, dating, you name it. Gradually, the newness wore off, but every has been a new learning experience!

The most important lesson I’ve learnt is how you want to view the world and how you want to present yourself. Be proud of who you are and your nationality; a mistake of mine is being embarrassed of my own identity as I didn’t mention my nationality to people as 2nd year rolled around. If you see yourself as someone who has nothing to offer and that the world is out there to get you because you look a certain way, to most extent, that is going to be true. You will fail to see the nice gestures people do for you and focus more so on the negative.

I won’t deny racism exists, but I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced direct insults or aggressive behaviour from strangers or acquaintances because I was Mongolian (I’ve seen more so reversed). Perhaps certain people have treated me differently on a subtle level because I am a foreigner, but I want to focus on the good.

Not so long ago, yesterday, since coming down to Texas, (A racist place according to a few of my friends), people have actually been very generous. A grocery store clerk saved me $2-$3 willingly with a discount, bus drivers have been helpful, and it’s the first time seeing 5-6 peoples of different cultures down in Houston. So stay positive my friends and keep your head up high; there’s a lot of love to go around!

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just Another Day

It was a day prior to Halloween. As I headed back home on a train after a long day in the office, thinking what to wear, a short Asian man dressed in hooded coat and jeans with a fancy pair of dress shoes stood next to me. I took a little glimpse and examined the man. His hands seemed rough and flaky, but I could not get a good look at his face nor make out too much of his image.

Shortly thereafter, he asked the directions to where he was headed from an old dark man who stood in front of me. Given the excuse to turn around, I looked back for a few seconds pretending he asked me the question as the true recipient answered it.



The Catalyst

I was shocked and surprised as I gazed into his bloodshot eyes, seemingly chemically burnt or exposed skin, and the ever lonely tooth that was left as he continued to speak to the other man. I quickly tilted my head back as the uneasiness settled in for both the dark man and I. The old dark man tried to be polite, but dismissed any interest in continuing the interaction out of his discomfort and displease with such an unsightly view.

As I stood there embarrassed with my prejudice and bias too, there was a strong sense of urge and a desire to ask that Asian man to sit down for some drinks or food. However, my body trembled as my mouth felt like something had glued it shut, until it was already time for me to de-board, but the man exited the train as well and walked alongside me. As much as my soul cried out to take action and have an encounter that will be remembered until the day I die, my selfish ego told otherwise, and asked why even think of such outrageous shit.

With every stride, he became smaller and smaller until he disappeared as he boarded a bus for his final destination, and there I stood debating whether I should take the final chance to ask him if he would like to get dinner on me, to understand and hear his story about what it’s like to be shunned and treated as an outcast, but there I stood. After an hour since that encounter, I was back at my apartment mulling over my indecision with ever-brewing anger at myself for being such a coward. To shift my focus, I grabbed my phone to check my yahoo emails, but another headline already took my attention “All 224 on-board killed in Sinai plane crash”.

Drowning in Luck

And there it hit me, like a hammer on an anvil, how my habits and surroundings started to mold my actions, how apathy started to settle, but more importantly, how I took my life for granted ever since moving to Chicago. All the moments I told myself “I’ll go to that meet-up tomorrow when I feel like it” “I’ll start swimming again when I have the time” “I’ll talk to that cute girl when I have enough money to take her on a nice date” “I’ll do this or that, when this or that” came rushing in. I grabbed my swim trunks, goggles, and towel to go for a swim after 2 months of excuses, attended the French group meet-up, and held myself accountable to follow through. What did I lose? A piece of paper that supposedly “signifies” our worth. What did I gain? Priceless smiles and encounters with amazing people who realigned me with my purpose to explore and share.

When we’re drifting off our course and purpose in life, the universe gives us a nice kick to the balls or “any pain that’s equivalent for the ladies reading this”, to wake us up. Comfort and complacency are the death to passion, desire, and action. You don’t hurt nor do you feel. “The opposite of love is indifference”

My question to you is, what have you been putting off? 

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s a quiet Saturday evening. I have a water bottle next to my side and a few sheets of paper. Sheets of paper that give a glimpse into the interests of the newer generation of Mongolian youths.

I have been blessed with higher level education and the opportunity to learn, which many of us take for granted or dream about. As I go through these sheets, I am amazed and inspired to see the diversity of different majors each student wants to pursue here at Albion College.

Almost 5 years ago, when I started thinking of what I wanted to do with my life after high school graduation, a prestigious university or college was all the craze. My parents and teachers, having lived through a socialist era, had a different kind of mindset. Reputation of a school name and hard work got them through life, so they advised me to apply for respectable schools and bigger universities.



Most Mongolians only hear about Harvard, Princeton, etc. Some of my friends applied and got accepted into the Ivy Leagues. It is a great feat and something to praise, but I always wanted to venture into the unknown. Albion College was barely ever mentioned there. I hadn’t even heard of it nor would have ever considered even applying had it not been for Lewis Cardenas, the former Albion College recruiter. I am forever grateful until this day that I applied. My heart has always belonged in a smaller school that challenged me to think, a school that allowed for excellence of education and creativity. The relationships that I have developed with people over the years have been wonderful.

Anyways, enough about my story, but most often in our country, majors in business, economics, and finance are encouraged when studying abroad. As a developing country it makes sense to root for practical majors that will be of use in the future for development. I don’t argue against that, but if that’s all we emphasize on, our country will crumble. What about the scientists? What about the engineers? What about the architects? Teachers? Philosophers and so much more? Where is the encouragement for the younger generation to create and to build? However, I am more than excited to realize there is a shift in paradigm!

As I read through the forms of potential Brits, I see students interested in majoring in:

Biochemistry, Biology, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Arts, History etc, and this gives me immense joy. I can’t wait to connect with them and guide them through their application process. The future of Mongolia depends on us and the younger generation. We have been fighting hard to remain as an independent nation from China for over 90 years, but if all we can do is business and sell out of our country to foreign influence, we’re headed towards a dark path.

To all my Mongolian brothers and sisters, I say go against the traditional norms and create a path for yourself. Do what you feel is right and purposeful to you and your country. Some will say there are no jobs back home where you are going to be majoring in or how are you going to make money with that degree? But, let me ask you something; something to think about. Why can’t we create those jobs? Why can’t we be the first to open doors for many to come? We need thinkers, builders, innovators; we need a diversity of people majoring in different things with higher degrees of education for the betterment of our country.

All I am asking is for you to consider the possibilities. Be rational to a point; do listen to your teachers, do listen to your family members, do listen to your friends, BUT MOST OF ALL, listen to YOURSELF even more!

What do you want to do?

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2018-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API