It’s funny reading through the book The Way of The Superior Man and realizing everything you have been doing wrong in the past. I guess things are 20 20 in hindsight, but it’s the choices we make when it comes to the future that we really learn to be the masters of our destiny.

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  • David Deida
  • Publisher: Sounds True
  • Edition no. 0 (02/01/2017)

Who Should Read The Book?

Basically anyone can read it, because it gives such a good insight into the workings of a masculine man, which most of men are. If you are a female and want to understand why men do the things men do and perhaps salvage your marriage or relationship, you could read the book to be more self aware of not only your significant other, but yourself as a female as well.

This is also good for same sex couples because, it’s not classified by male and female, but more about masculine and feminine energies and how that affects relationships between people. But please have an open mind of some unscientific approach to some of the reasoning the author might have.

A Man’s Purpose Comes First

The workings of feminine nature is really interesting. Because feminine nature as the book descibes wants love and committment while at the same time, knowing that the masculine has the capacity and the option of leaving them.

Hence, if you are a masculine man at your core, you can never stray from your goal and purpose in life. Whatever your purpose is, whether it is teaching, to racing cars, you have to live your purpose day in and day out.

But you might be wondering, what the heck is life’s purpise?

I won’t deny that it takes some time to figure it out, and some people never do, but the answer lies in trying different things in life and following that which gives you pleasure and joy, something that just clicks within your inner soul.

But you will sometimes also realize that you can complete/finish your purpose at a point in your life and have to find a new one. So there are layers of them where you slowly unfold each one.

The Fallacy of The One and Soulmate

Now this is the idea that has been sold to us by Hollywood and the media. It takes a while for us to get free of the conditioning of the notion of romantic or idealistic love, because in practice, the idealized version of love we see in most movies does not have any application in real life.

In fact, the more you try to apply those beliefs into the real world, the more damaging in can be to your relationships. I can’t count the many times I thought chasing after someone and confessing my undying love would make them change their minds. Predictably, things did not work out the way I imagined.

Reason being, feminine nature does not trust the core of the masculine if it is not grounded in something greater beyond just idealized love.

Feminine nature in fact wants to feel your strength that you do not put anyone on a pedastal and that you actually fearlessly go after what it is you want ouf of life. Now of course, you probably know a lot of couples who are in happy relationships where the masculine does not have much ambition, but sooner or later, the infutuation wears off, and that’s when things are really tested.

Do You Want a Friend, Business Partner or A Lover?

This part of the book was the most mind blowing piece ever. Because if you are masculine man who wants a satisfying relationship with a feminine woman, you can’t have it all in one.

Because different energies are in play here, and the things you discuss with your friends about philosophy, history and other topics are neutral in sexual energy, so you can indeed really like someone as a person and their mind, but often times you can also find yourself not particularly sexually attracted to someone.

There needs to be polarity of masculine and feminine energies for greater sexual attraction. So wanting a best friend, who is also a business partner whilst at the same time being your lover is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Which goes against everything I’ve been lead to believe, because in modern day culture, we are told to find someone who we can talk to about anything, communicate, whilst being each other’s best friends, but sadly you can’t have it all. Looking at most couples, it is now making sense why some people lose that sexual attraction they once had for one another over time, because with the shift of their sexual energies, the polarity between the feminine and the masculine does not exist anymore.

Prepare To Be Tested Each Step of The Way

If you are a masculine man at your heart and core, then you must be prepared to deal with a shitstorm of everchanging emotions and uncertainty from the feminine. As the masculine energy, we are the stable, rational, and centered confidence the feminine needs to feel comfortable and secure.

Whenever you doubt yourself, whenever you lose confidence and direction, the more the tests will come your way to see whether you are still the masculine energy the feminine can trust and follow.

So whenever, you are faced with resistance from your partner or feelings of unappreciation, it is not that they don’t appreciate your accomplishments or the things you do, but as the masculine you must know deep within that you don’t need the approval of the feminine to feel appreciated and worthy.

The reaction of your partner should not determine how happy and accomplished you feel about your successes in life, because you must have the capacity as the masculine to feel successful and proud even without the approval of your partner.

The more you know your worth and value from deep withing from your inner core, the more you will be appreciated and loved oddly.

We are taught and conditioned to believe that our partners are the people we must trust and rely one when things get tough, and while a good partner will raise you up and challenge you along the way, remember that it is not the nature of the feminine to lead your way and cradle you.

As the masculine, we have to light our own way in the times of darkness and challenge.

The Masculine Gives, while the Feminine Receives

Ever wonder why as men, we have more of a tendancy to be violent aggresive, and on a grander scale, the builders of civilizations and empires?

Well, because as the masculine, our energies are made to come from our core, from the within to be released into the world. We are basically in a sense fucking the world. We are fucking the world and releasing parts of ourself into the world.

Ever wonder why women have more of a tendancy to like finer and nicer things in life? The feminine on the hand is made to receive and behold the beauty of their surroundings.

Looking back now, it makes a lot of sense why I had not trouble with the most basics of living. Everything I had served a purpose and had a practical reason for being there, from the clothes I wore, to the furniture I had, but my girlfriends always found a reason to decorate things that no rational or practical value.

However, this does not mean that we are always 100% masculine or 100% feminine in our energies, because we have different levels in different areas of life. It’s about finding our inner core and accepting that inner core if we are to live a truly a satisfying life with satisfying relationships.

If you have not already, The Way of The Superior Man is a must read for most men.

 

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When we are growing up, we all go through certain experiences that leave their imprint on us. From friends, lovers, to relatives, people around us influence in ways we can’t just explain in a few sentences. We soak their beliefs, their ideas, and their behaviours when we are young.

However as we grow up, we start to develop our sense of independence. We rebel against our parents and start to listen to what we think is true within our hearts, but this is soon met with opposition from friends, parents, and people who supposedly know better than you.

Not to mention how the environment affects our way of thoughts and beliefs. Before we know it, we basically become the byproduct of the people that had the most influence on us and the environment we were exposed to.

These beliefs and ideas somehow end up subconsciously imprinted within our minds and we end up doing certain things not based on our own free will, but our previous programming.

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  • Rhonda Byrne
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The Secret by Rhonda Byrne however, teaches us that we have the power, that we are in charge of our destinies.

Have you ever had a thought that occured to you and somehow that thought became more and more intense, which soon thereafter ended up becoming true? Well that is what the law of attraction is basically about.

The feelings we feel, the thoughts we have, and the things we repeat to ourselves, most importantly our fears end up manifesting into the real world, and if we are not aware of it, we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Love is not hard, it’s easy – What The Secret Teaches

It is fascinating how my childhood and teenage years look so clear in hindsight, because the thoughts I had and the beliefs I held during that time all became true when it came to matters of love.

During my late childhood years, girls used to chase the cool Orgil, full of confidence and swagger. Personally, I wasn’t interested in relationships nor love since I found no point in experiencing it, but there was a shift once I hit puberty and started to go through hormonal shifts.

Growing up listenting to melancholic music such as My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, and other emotionally angst songs, to watching romantic movies where love is a struggle, a battle, that’s essentially how my love life came to be.

The people I loved/cared about, all resembled the poems, the love stories, and the movies I watched. Even if things started out well and great, it soon turned into a melodrama of emotions and struggles that the other person was not willing to deal with.

This went on for years and years, until my early adulthood years. It wasn’t until the person who I thought was perfect for me in every aspect turned out to be someone else I was not expecting. I had been fantasising, dreaming, or idealizing all people I came to like or fall in love with.

This stems from our inner void of feeling not good enough for something, that we have to prove something to people, which is very unhealthy because life is not about proving something to other people; it’s about sharing fun filled moments without expectations and attachments to what may happen. It’s playful, it’s fun, and people should feel free to come and go as they please.

However, realising that I’ve been coming from a very fearful and scared space, it was like a moment where it all made sense. All of previous experiences when it came to the matters of love failed due to my sense of low worth despite the objective and realistic opposite.

You have to know your worth and you have to learn to love yourself fully before someone else can love you back in return.

Making money is not hard – Using The Secret

Another area of life a lot of people struggle with is making enough money to make ends meet. How many of you know people who are working harder than ever but just can’t seem to have enough money to start doing the things they love or live the life they want?

Again this all comes down to their belief systems of what they have grown up with. Now in certain cases outside influences and circumstances do have a role in someone’s financial well being, but in most cases non financially literate people make small choices and decisions that negatively affect their financial future.

How many people freely spend their money on needless things because an advertisement told them so? How many of them spend their money on books or valuable courses that could help them make more money?

Most often, people tell us college and work is the way to living your life, but a lot of us fail to understand that life has many more opportunities. We think hard work only will get us success, but we also have to learn how to make luck work in our favour.

Coming from a somewhat poor background during my early childhood, as a nomad, there wasn’t much to go around. Everything I thought was based on lack of resources, that I need to hoard all the good things that come to me. Up until I graduated college, that’s how it has always been for me financially.

I worked at certain jobs to save save save and not leave much to treat myself. In certain cases, not buying food because I needed to save. However, I learned to never be stingy on spending money on your well being. A healthy body and mind is priceless.

What is interesting though however is that, I’ve always imagined myself traveling the world and having work I could do with my computer. Sooner or later, I learned to let go of the mentality of always having to save and save but investing your money into other endeavors that will make you more money.

You can make money work for you and make more money with money, and that’s essentially where my life is at! Though it’s not fully to the level I hoped, it’s getting there.

What’s really important is to act as if you already have it all. To go to the places you always wanted to go, to dress in a way that makes you FEEL like you are already living that lifestyle. Sooner or later you will find ways to make that happen if you so choose.

Life is not hard – It’s Easy with The Secret

One of the things I always disagreed with my parents was how everything is a struggle that we have to work hard for everything we have. While to some degree that’s true, it’s not the full truth. There are people who did not have work hard for much, but because they saw opportunities or saw things from different perspective, they made a life of their dreams.

Life can be easy if you choose to live an easy life. We just don’t know where to beging. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is taking on responsibilities that they don’t want to burden themselves with. This means becoming a parent when they are not ready, getting married because that’s what other poeple are doing etc.

We follow the usual path, what everyone else is doing to perhaps fit in or to perhaps not feel ostracized, but the important thing to remember is that, your life is your life. You choose how to live it; other people can’t choose the life for you.

Even if it means upsetting a few people and breaking their heart, your life’s path is something you have to take yourself. Life truly can be easy and effortless if you believe it is and make choices that will make it so. We just need to see it with a different lense.

It’s All About THE FEELING – You ARE A RADIO SIGNAL/FREQUENCY

Much like a radio signal or tv channel, your mind and your thoughts are a signal emitting radio tower. What you think, what you feel, you will attract certain experiences and people into your life.

Sometimes it’s so freaky how what you are strongly feeling and thinking about can manifest in the world. One of the most recent experience personally for me was when I was walking through a street full of people feeling upset about walking all lonely but hopeful that I will come across someone that will make feel not so lonely.

Surprise surprise, a totally random stranger walks up to me asks me if I am alone, he tell me he is alone as well and just walks away. It’s an experience I will never forget. It made realize that I am not alone that there are people in the world who go through certain life struggles just like I do. Soon thereafter, one my old flames who I really liked reached out to me.

It’s freaky how your thoughts and feelings can have such a profound effect on your reality! So live your life in joy, happiness, and health because the more you allow yourself to feel that way and the more you allow yourself to be open to such experiences, the more your life will fill with the wonders of life!

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Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Not sure what types of food you should bring on the Trans Siberian? Should you even perhaps bring food on the train? Today we will be answering those questions in greater detail, based on my first hand experience.

Should You Bring Food On The Train?

trans siberian 2nd class compartment

This comes down to your personal preference. If you don’t want to pack your bag with a lot of things and prefer to travel light, then it is recommended not to bring any food with you because for reasons I will explain below.

However, if you have certain diet restrictions and food allergies, then yes, you can bring your own food onboard the train.

The only thing you have to be very mindful and vary of is during the border control process. For example if you are taking the Trans Siberian from Mongolia to either China or Russia, certain animal products are prohibited, so you will have to end up throwing them away.

If you do want to bring food on the train:

  • Sausages
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Tea
  • Bread
  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Fruits
  • Candy

These are perhaps the best types of foods to bring with you on the train, because they don’t go bad too easily and they’re great selection for train travel.

What Types of Food Can You Buy On Trans Siberian Train

The conductor on your train section will be there in case you have any questions or want to buy anything. If you are taking 3rd class, there will be people going back and forth from time to time selling pirojki, ramen noodles, and other types of snacks. However, you are at the mercy of those sellers and might find yourself hoping they come by.

On 2nd class and 1st class, just go to your conductor and ask what they have. Usually they have ramen noodles, water,drinks, tea, candy bars, chips, etc. Nothing that will make you feel whole and full like a complete meal, just minor snacks to curb some of your hunger.

Is There A Restaurant on The Train?

However, if you are willing to pay some hefty premium, you can go to the restaurant. Depending on whether the train is long haul train or short voyage train, in some cases you might not find any restaurants, so be mindful of that.

In case there is a restaurant, you have options of choosing from breakfast, lunch, and dinner at okay prices, but the food is not that great.

There are other choices of foods you can pick from, but the it’s pretty pricey and expensive. I paid 150 rubles just for some salmon on a piece of bread! You will find yourself spending 2-3 times the amount you usually would on normal restaurants or places to eat.

Can You Buy Food On Train Stops?

irkutks train stop on trans siberian

If you decide not to bring any food with you, then this is the best option for you, because you have good selection of choice on train stops. There are small kiosks that sell a lot of products, from drinks, bread, pirojki, to sometimes full meals packaged in cartons.

If you are lucky, some people will be waiting on the train stations to sell actual meals such as steak, hot dog; foods that will actually fill you up. It’s a hit or miss though, so you can’t really count on those people being there on the train stops, so depending on your luck, who knows whether you will come across those people?

So Should You Buy Your Own Food Or Not for Trans Siberian?

Short distance trains:

For train rides that are less than 12 hours, it’s recommended to have some snacks with you in case you do go a bit hungry during your ride, otherwise, if you think you can hold out, it’s your choice whether to not bring anything with you. Sometimes if you just go to sleep, you will find yourself at your destination 🙂

Long distrains trains:

It is highly recommended that you bring something to eat. Whether it’s just a few slices of bread with salami; if you don’t bring anything with you, YOU WILL go hungry on long distance trains because on certain occasions they will go half a day without stopping.

You can buy ramen, and other types of snacks from the conductor, but it’s not fully filling foods, you will be left waiting for train stops, and on some train stops they might not have what you are looking for.

So take it from a minimalist who tries to pack as lightly as possible, it is a bad idea not to bring anything.

If you have not already, read: What to wear on the Trans Siberian

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Thinking of travelling via the Trans Siberian? Well hold on to your hats because it will be long journey and you will need to be well prepared if you want to enjoy your trip.

What you will need to pack

If you travelling by train via the Trans Siberian, you need to bring a few things with you to keep yourself from not getting bored and hungry.

Food:

Bring something to eat, because if you are taking a short route train that goes from Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk, there won’t be any restaurants and the only foods the train will sell will be ramen noodles and a few other snacks, so it’s recommended to bring your own food.

There will be a few short stops in nearby towns and villages, so you could buy some snacks from there.

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If you don’t want to go through the hassle of taking your shoes off and putting them back on again whenever you enter your compartment, a pair of slippers will make it so much more convenient to take bathroom breaks or when you just want to walk around the train.

Things that are provided on the Train:

Blankets:

Don’t worry about blankets and sheets, because they will provide you with blankets and sheets for you to use. They are very clean. However, I do recommend getting one Coolmax’s travel blanket for extra comfort and future use.

Read: Best travel blankets for 2018.

Coffee & Tea

You will be given coffee and tea during your trip, but it’s a small packet, so if you are an avid coffee or tea drinker, it’s better to bring your own tea, because they will only give you one or two each day.

How Big Can My Luggage Be?

You will have space to put your luggage under the bed and overhead. It’s best not to exceed 65 cm in length and 40 cm in width, because it’s not like you have a special room for keeping your luggage.

At the border, your luggage will be inspected by officials so keep it small if you prefer not to exhaust yourself with moving around big luggage.

If you want to learn how to become a minimalist read this on what you will need to get started.

What is The Border Control Process Like?

Mongolian Border:

At the Mongolian border in Selenge, you will be inspected by Mongolian officials. You need to provide your passport and state your purpose of visit. If all is good you they will give a stamp on your passport.

Depending on how fast the process goes, it usually takes about 30-40 minutes.

Russian Border:

At the Russian border, you will be inspected by officials as well. You will need to show your passport, state your purpose of visit and stand up so that they can make sure that your face matches your passport photo.

After that, your luggage and room will be inspected for any illegal items, so you need to have them ready to show the officials. As long as you are not carrying animal products, illegal substances, and firearms you should be fine.

Once inspection is done, the train will move briefly and stop for a few minutes to stretch.

The whole process should take somewhere around an hour or two depending on the people and the officials. Remember, stay in your rooms when officials are present.

How Much Are Tickets?

Ticket prices vary based on season and how much demand there is and also it depends on what route you are taking and what time.

The best way to check for prices is on Mongolia’s and Russia’s official website.

Though I found that it’s much cheaper on the Mongolian website for some reason.

Are The Toilets Clean?

The tiolets are fairly clean, but it’s rudemantary and basic. However, how clean the toilets are can vary what kind of train you are on. If you are on international trains, then it’s maintained better, whereas local railway trains are dirtier.

Are There Chargers And Adapters?

Make sure to buy a universal adapter, because the train only supports 220V. There are a few outlets in the hallway, so you will have to go out of your room to charge your phone or computer.

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Can You Drink Alcohol?

Though it is not recommended, you could sneak your alcohol drinking in, but it will smell and the conducters won’t be too happy about it.

There are signs that say no smoking nor drinking, but how much it’s enforced depends on the conductor and the train.

What Kinds of People Travel Via Trans Siberian Train?

You will find all sorts of people taking the Trans Siberian, however unlike Greyhound and other bus services that I’ve taken in the U.S, at least from my experience there weren’t any sketchy people.

Usually they’re always fellow travellers, family on holiday, backpackers, and normal individuals who just need to get somewhere.

Are the Beds Comfortable?

The beds are okay. Nothing fancy about them, but if you are used to soft plush beds, you might feel a bit uncomfortable, but most people don’t seem to mind and are able to sleep alright.

They are however very short and comparitively small. So for people that are 180cm+ and a bit heavier, having enough space might be an issue. Most likely Dutch people will have the hardest time with this 😛

Is There Hot Water?

The toilets don’t have hot water, but there is a boiler in the hallway “kitchen”, so you can get hot water from there.

How Is The Window View Like?

Though it’s not as pretty and picuresque as some Amtrak Trains, you will still be able to see some cool things while taking the train from your window.

Should I Get Top Bed or Lower Berth?

This depends on your preference. If you would like to have your luggage and bags close, and if you don’t like climbing up and down, the lower birth is the better choice. However do know that you will most likely have to sit upright on certain occasians and offer your berth to fellow passengers to play cards, eat, etc.

If you have the upper berth, it’s a bit of hassle to get up there and taking things in and out from your suitcase, but you can lay down and do as you please without having other people disturb you.

How Safe Is It?

It’s very safe. There are conducters and officials on the train keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, but the screening process to get on the train is not that great nor do they check passenger luggage before they board the train.

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking back at my experiences here at Albion College, it’s both sad but yet full of optimism to think of graduation. There have been so many wonderful memories that will stay within my heart forever, and as much as I don’t want to grow up, it’s a part of life everyone has to accept. It’s the most important time of the year; a year when you start figuring who you are and where you want to go.

Coming to grips with letting go is a difficult thing. I remember my first day in the U.S; everything seemed so new, people, technology, legal system, etc. With time, I got used to them and learned how to cope with the cultural differences. I don’t know exactly how, but some things just happened naturally.

Creating friendships and relationships with people were always exciting and with every new encounter, each individual taught me an aspect of myself that I never knew that even existed. However, thinking about never seeing some of these people ever again scares me and shows how cruel life is.

Being a foreign student makes it even more difficult to comprehend with since I will have to live thousands of miles away as I go about life, never to see some of my closest friends. I like to believe that people come into our lives for a reason though, otherwise how could I’ve ever discovered my strengths, weaknesses, and my ambitions? An analogy I can think of is a train ride. I am headed towards my final destination, some will leave the train at a certain point, some will enter the train at a certain point, and some might stick around throughout the whole trip. Things come and go in life. Accepting that fact and remaining optimistic about the things to come has freed me from immense grief and despair.

Sometimes enjoying your undergraduate years as a foreigner can be difficult. I used to party like crazy the first moment I got here, but sooner or later, I grew apart from it. I used to dedicate myself fully into my sports, but I never saw myself being a professional athlete. I used to hit the books studiously, but I saw my relationships with people deteriorate.

I focused all my energy onto just a single point, but I always ended up being unhappy with the consequences. Maybe it took a longer time for me to figure it out compared to other people, but now I realize there always had to be a balance between everything. Being a silly freshman to a mature senior had it’s ups and downs, but looking at the bigger picture of my life, I notice everything flows in harmony. For whatever reason, things come so easily now. From meeting new people, getting good grades, to enjoying myself. With age, I certainly believe inner wisdom and clarity come.

Graduation is coming! I am scared & yet excited! Where do I see myself 5 years from now? 10 years? I don’t know. Although I wish I knew, I don’t want to know because things always change and the Orgil I am right now will not be the same Orgil 5 or 10 years from now.

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Difference between Chi & Ta: When you want to say “You” to someone, make sure it’s appropriate. They both mean you, but Chi is used when talking to someone of your own age, Ta is used when talking to someone who’s older, has higher social status, or if you just want to be polite.

Introducing yourself:

You’ll notice that gedeg (гэдэг) is often used. It just means “is” There are formal and informal ways of introducing yourself and others to people. Formal is most often used when you are presenting yourself in a serious manner or when addressing a crowd, informal is used in other occasions.

Informal

I am Orgil – Be Orgil (Би Оргил)

You are Orgil – Chi/ta bol Orgil (Чи/та бол Оргил)

S/He is Orgil – Ter bol Orgil (Тэр бол Оргил)

We are Orgil – Bid bol Orgil (Бид бол Оргил)

They are Orgil – Ted bol Orgil (Тэд бол Оргил)

Formal

My name is Orgil – Namaig Orgil gedeg (Намайг Оргил гэдэг)

Your name is Orgil – Chamaig/taniig Orgil gedeg (Чамайг/таныг Оргил гэдэг)

His name is Orgil – Teriig Orgil gedeg (Тэднийг Оргил гэдэг)

Our name is Orgil – Bidniig Orgil gedeg (Биднийг Оргил гэдэг)

Their name is Orgil – Tedniig Orgil gedeg (Тэднийг Оргил гэдэг)



Introducing Your Age:

You can say it in two ways. Formal literally means, I have X numbers of age. Informal literally means I have X age. Formal version can be used in informal situations just fine, but most often it is used when giving presentations to a crowd of people. Unless you are addressing a crowd, you should just use the informal version.

Formal

I am 24 years old – Be horin durvun nastai (Би хорин дөрвөн настай)

You are 24 years old – Chi/ta horin durvun nastai (Чи/та хорин дөрвөн настай)

S/He is 24 years old – Ter horin durvun nastai (Тэр хорин дөрвөн настай)

We are 24 years old – Bid horin durvun nastai (Бид хорин дөрвөн настай)

They are 24 years old – Ted horin durvun nastai (Тэд хорин дөрвөн настай)

Informal

I am 24 – Be horin duruvtei (Би хорин дөрөвтэй)

You are 24 – Chi/ta horin duruvtei (Чи/та хорин дөрөвтэй)

S/He is 24 – Ter horin duruvtei (Тэр хорин дөрөвтэй)

We are 24 – Bid horin duruvtei (Бид хорин дөрөвтэй)

They are 24Ted horing duruvtei (Тэд хорин дөрөвтэй)

Asking People’s Names:

When asking someone’s name, it’s best to use the formal version. Informal way of asking is mostly used when you are confused or somewhat angry.

Informal

Who am I? – Bi hen be? (Би хэн бэ?)

Who are you? Chi/ta Hen be? (Чи/та хэн бэ?)

Who is s/he? – Ter hen be? (Тэр хэн бэ?)

Who are we? – Bid hen be? (Бид хэн бэ?)

Who are they? – Ted hen be? (Тэд хэн бэ?)

Formal

What is my name? Namaig hen gedeg ve? (Намайг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is your name? – Chamaig/taneeg  hen gedeg ve? (Чамайг/таныг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is his/her name? – Terniig hen gedeg ve? (Тэрнийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is our name? – Bidniig hen gedeg ve? (Биднийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

What is their names? Tedniig hen gedeg ve? (Тэднийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)

Asking People’s Age:

Formal is often used when you are talking to strangers or when you are genuinely curious about someone’s age. Informal is used to ask someone’s age without making a big deal out of it in a social setting.

Formal

How much age do I have? Bi heden nastai ve? (Би хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age do you have? Chi/ta heden nastai ve? (Чи/та хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age does s/he have? Ter heden nastai ve? (Тэр хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age do we have? Bid heden nastai ve? (Бид хэдэн настай вэ?)

How much age do they have? Ted heden nastai ve? (Тэд нар хэдэн настай вэ?)

Informal

How old am I? Bi hedtei ve? (Би хэдтэй вэ?)

How old are you? Chi/ta hedtei ve? (Чи/та хэдтэй вэ?)

How old is s/he? Ter hedtei ve? (Тэр хэдтэй вэ?)

How old are we? Bid hedtei ve? (Бид хэдтэй вэ?)

How old are they? Ted hedtei ve? (Тэд хэдтэй вэ?)

Next Lesson: Simple Mongolian Phrases

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

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mongolians don’t always use the Cyrillic alphabet when talking with one another online via chat or sms, sometimes a converted Latin alphabet is used to communicate for convenience. Depending on the people some letters are switched here and there but mean the same thing.




А а – A a

Б б – B b

В в – V v or W w

Г г – G g

Д д – D d

Е е – E e or I i

Ё ё – Yo yo

Ж ж – J j

З з – Z z

И и – I i

Й й – I i

К к – K k

Л л – L l

М м – M m

Н н – N n

О о – O o

Ө ө – U u or V v

П п – P p

Р р – R r

С с – S s

Т т –  T t

У у – U u or Y y

Ү ү – U u or Y y

Ф ф  – F f

Х х –  – Kh kh or H h

Ц ц – Ts ts

Ч ч  – Ch ch or J j

Ш ш  – Sh sh

Щ щ  – Shts shts

ъ – I i

ь – I i

Ы ы – Ii ii or Ee ee

Э э  – E e

Ю ю  – Yu yu

Я я – Ya ya

Example: I want to go to the shopping mall is Би худалдааны дэлгүүр руу явмаар байна. In Latinized version it would be Bi hudaldaanii delguur yavmaar baina.

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

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A lot of people tend to have the misconception that Mongolians speak Chinese or Russian, however, the official language in Mongolia is Mongolian and the writing system is Mongolian Cyrillic.

The language itself is completely different from Russian and Mandarin Chinese. The Mongolian language shares a lot of similarities with Northeast Asian and Central Asian languages, however, there are many borrowed Russian and Chinese words.

For example: Mashin, means car in both Russian and Mongolian. Shivgua means watermelon in Mongolian and Mandarin Chinese. You will most likely notice these shared words in nouns and things that were introduced to Mongolians. A lot of food names have Chinese origins while a lot of technological inventions have Russian origins.



Asking if Mongolians speak Chinese is Offensive

Most Mongolians are proud of their historical achievements and their culture, so asking a Mongolian if they speak Chinese (while innocent and genuinely a reasonable question) it is taken as an offense by Mongolians.

When I say Mongolians I am talking about Mongolians who live in Mongolia. Most Inner Mongolians who live in China wouldn’t probably take much offense and a lot of them would be able to speak in Mandarin.

Do Mongolians learn Chinese or Russian?

Before the 21st century, most Mongolians were taught Russian as a second language because USSR and Mongolia were very close allies. There were many exchange students, and summer camp exchanges when there was still a Soviet Union.

If you ever meet a Mongolian in their 40s and 50s, he or she will be able to at least know basic Russian and get by if necessary, but nowadays, not a lot of people learn Russian anymore and instead opt to learn English for better future prospects since it’s a more commonly used language around the world.

Mandarin Chinese is surprisingly not a favourite among Mongolians even though Mongolia and China are close trading partners, perhaps there is historical and cultural stigma attached to it. However, students who are seeking to study abroad in China do learn Mandarin Chinese, but a majority of international Mongolian students decide to apply for American, European, or Japanese/Korean schools.

Will Mongolians learn Russian or Chinese more often in the future?

Who knows, as Western influence declines perhaps Mongolians will opt to study Russian or Mandarin Chinese more. The Chinese economy is growing day by day, so Mongolians might have to learn Mandarin or Cantonese in the future for logical and practical reasons.

If Russian economy grows and has more of an influence in the world as it did back during the Soviet Union era, then Mongolians will probably pick it back up again. However, Mongolia today is influenced by Korean, Japanese, and Western cultures so English is currently the second language of choice.

We will just have to wait and see.

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

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are around 7-8 million ethnic Mongolians with varying degrees of physical and facial features. Historically and culturally being a nomadic type of people of Turkic origins, it was common for Mongolian tribes to intermarry within Eurasia. Hence, a small minority of Mongolians can have blue, grey, green eyes, and blonde or red hair.

However, to most people who are not aware of Mongolian culture and its people, your average Mongolian could be mistaken for other Asians, such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. It’s pretty understandable because we tend to associate similarly looking kinds of people together in one group and label or categorize them.

For someone who has extensively traveled through Asia as a whole though, it’s pretty easy to tell who is whom and sometimes even distinguish their ethnic roots in a more detailed level.

Regardless of whether you are reading this for fun or plan on traveling to Mongolia soon, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the different types of Mongolians since mistaking them for other East Asians can sometimes be taken as an offense.



Nomads

mongolian nomads wearing deel

Due to the harsh climate and weather, nomads tend to have rougher features with blushed red cheeks and heavily tanned skin. They don’t have the luxury of moisturizing their faces, applying sunscreen, so naturally they adapt to the environment.

Sedentary Mongolians

As of 2018, there are about 1.5 million Mongolians living in the capital, and about 1.8 million Mongolians (60% of the population) are living in urban cities.

Depending on the individual’s roots, your average city dweller can look very different from one another. However, if we’re talking about the majority and stereotypical city dweller look, usually they are more fair than nomads who live out in the countryside and generally taller due to better nutrition. While most simply look “Asian” there is still some admixture of Eastern European, Central/Western Asian features.

Some of my friends think I sometimes look slightly Russian and some strangers have commented that I could pass as half Asian, but as far as I am aware, none of my family have Eastern European roots and I consider myself a very average looking Mongolian and overall just Asian in appearance.

Minority Mongolians

Lastly you have people with pronounced Eurasian appearance. This is very common the further west you go in Mongolia, where Kazakhs and other minority Mongolians live. It’s not surprising to see Mongolians with blonde, red hair with green or blue eyes within those regions. While they are not as common and prevalent compared to people such as myself and sedentary Mongolians with moreso Northeast Asian appearance, it’s still considered normal and nothing out out of the ordinary.

Now hopefully that gives a good insight into the different kinds of look Mongolian people can have, so please stop saying Mongolians are dark/tanned nomads who ride horses 😛 You have people who look somewhat similar to Korean Japanese and Northern Chinese, to very Eastern European and Central Asian to slightly Persian looking.

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

People look at most wealthy people with disdain, and with a negative point of view. However, I would like to challenge you guys to look at that them from a different perspective.

Now I know money is not the answer to everything and that money does not necessarily make you any happier, and there are some superficial rich people who are not good role models, but we can learn so much from people who’ve dedicated themselves into their passion to be where they are at.

Most Wealthy People Are Not EVIL!

Successful people and wealthy people create the opportunity for us to have jobs, education, and healthcare etc. Without people who have a vision, such things would not exist, and we wouldn’t have many of the comforts and the innovations we have today. Their determination to succeed has brought so much boon for advancement of society in general.

Thomas Edison, sure he was an asshole, but he allowed us to enjoy electricity. Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P Morgan etc, they all were rich people who lived extravagant lifestyles, but they built the U.S nation that we know of today. They sacrificed many things in their lives to achieve success so that we could benefit from their works.

People can argue rich people are evil, corrupted, and pose harm. I don’t doubt there have been affluent people who abused their wealth and power, but that’s a possibility we can’t avoid if we want to advance as a society and a race. Just like everything in the world, there are the good & bad.



Wealth is A Product Of The Value We Provide

People assume success is a product of climbing up the social ladder over the years, and for some, it is, but for individuals such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Obama, Ed Sheeran etc, they had to bust their asses day and night without the promises of certainty that they’ll succeed. They probably failed more than you can think, but they had the tenacity to believe in themselves to continue.

They probably couldn’t care less about money; it’s not that important to them. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wanted to make our lives easier with computers; they wanted to connect people from all around the world with technology, and it was their passion to make the best fucking product out there that people could enjoy.

Many successful people have charities and donor organizations that support education, social advancement, and environmental sustainability, etc. The average Joe does not even come close to the amount of good deeds they perform every year. Us average people are selfish with our time, money, and attention, myself included.

Why Do You Desire To Be Wealthy?

I personally want to be wealthy, not because to live an extravagant wasteful lifestyle of cocaine, sex, and luxury (although some do; it’s their choice), but so that I can provide people with more opportunities for their growth, so that one day they can provide the same to others.

The more wealth I have and the more wealth I create for myself, the more I can share with people who are not as fortunate as me, and the more I can help with making the world a better & safer place for our generations to come.

Money & Wealth is not the problem, but it is our actions and choices in how we choose to look at Money & Wealth that determine whether it is good or bad.

Think and Grow Rich
6,404 Reviews
Think and Grow Rich
  • Napoleon Hill, Ben Holden-Crowther
  • Publisher: Ben Holden-Crowther
  • Paperback: 176 pages

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Misconception About The Writing System in Mongolia

Most people who are not aware of Mongolian culture would assume the writing system in Mongolia is either Mandarin or somewhat related to other East Asian languages. It is an understandable misconception as Mongolia was a former colony of Manchuria until 1921 and is a neighbor of China, however it still is a misconception as Mongolia today uses the Mongolian Cyrillic for its writing system.

Do Mongolians use “Russian Letters”?

Mongolian Cyrillic, while very similar to other Slavic writing systems, has 2 extra letters and is actually a language that’s completely different from Eastern European and Eastern Asian languages. The root of the Mongolian Language is believed to have originated in either Siberia or Central Asia.



The Cyrillic Alphabet itself was introduced by Cyril, an orthodox missionary and philosopher, who migrated from Greece to Moscow during the reign of Byzantine Empire. Slowly over the years his teachings spread throughout Eastern Europe and his writing system came to be the most popular. For more in-depth history of Cyril specifically, you can read at Blazing Bulgaria.

Mongolians previously used The Traditional Mongolian Script, Tibetan Sanscript, and even Latin at one point as an official writing system. However due to Soviet influence during the 1940s it made more economical sense to change to Cyrillic. As a close ally and trading partner of USSR, it allowed for improved political relationship and economic growth over the decades. With the aid and help of the Soviets during the 19 hundreds, Mongolia industrialized from the feudal ages to a modern country.

What about Inner Mongolia?

Inner Mongolia, a province of China, still uses the Mongolian Traditional Script as an official writing system.

This is probably the root of the confusion or the misconception that most people seem to have. While Inner Mongolia and Mongolia used to be one country during the Mongolian Empire, series of inner strife as well as the independence movement in 1921 led to their separation.

Ethnically and culturally Inner Mongolians and Mongolians share many similarities however due to political reasons, Mongolia is becoming more Westernized while Inner Mongolia more Sinicized. While they both share similar cultural roots, with time the differences will become more apparent.

Why doesn’t Mongolia change back to Traditional Script?

  • 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.

Do Mongolians use or learn the traditional script though?

Most middle schools teach the traditional script for a few years and a lot of people would be able to make out the general idea when reading in Mongolian script. Traditional script is still a part of Mongolia’s cultural identity and history, denying it would be a sacrilege to Mongolian ancestors. During holidays, festivals, and exhibitions you will also come across Mongolian script for cultural and aesthetic reasons.

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Crossing the Mongolia – China Border on a Budget

If you are travelling through either Mongolia or China, it’s always good to know some cheap ways to methods to get around. As a Mongolian traveler who prefers adventurous experiences, I’ve had my fair share of bargaining, negotiating, and finding good deals.

For newcomers to Mongolia, it’s recommended to read this Lonely Planet Guide and to learn the basics of the Mongolian language.

Read recommended gear for backpackers and travelers in Mongolia

Transportation Methods

As of 2017, there are 2 common ways to travel to/from Mongolia and China via land.

A) Trans Siberian Railway

trans siberian railway train ride

For those of you who don’t like the hassle, this is the preferred method of travel. All you need to do is book a ticket from either Ulaanbaatar or Beijing. Although the Mongolian government website is not the best, visit UBTZ.mn for tickets and pricing. Usually it’s 200-300k Tugriks (~100 USD) UB to Beijing one way. ~1200 Yuan (~180 USD) Beijing to UB.

Click here for Ulaanbaatar railway location

Click here for Beijing railway location

You will mostly be spending the next 24 hours confined in a small bunk-bed room that fits 4 people. When crossing the border, Mongolian and Chinese inspectors will check your IDs and on rare occasions, sometimes your luggage. You do have to wait a few hours for the train to change tracks, but it’s the most seamless and effortless way to travel.

I myself even prefer the train to flying. You don’t have to be patted down for security, nor check your luggage. You simply show your ticket and get on the train. There are plenty of people who will be selling drinks and food on stops, although slightly expensive compared to the original price.

Sometimes you meet cool people on the train and share travel stories, food, and good company. It’s something that doesn’t happen often when flying, so for backpackers and adventurous types who don’t want to go through the stressful hassle, book a direct train ticket from either Beijing or Ulaanbaatar.

B) Local Railway / Drive + Bus

Compared to a direct train ride, this method is a lot more annoying, especially if you are traveling with heavy bags and luggage. However, if you are simply traveling with a backpack, it’s comparatively a lot cheaper.

Ulaanbaatar to Erenhot / Erlian

ulaanbaatar main train station

Head to the national railway station. You can either negotiate a price with drivers that are headed towards Zamiin-Uud (border town) or you can book a train ticket to Zamiin-Uud. It usually costs ~35k Tugriks (15 USD)

Drivers usually only take ~8 hours to get to Zamiin Uud from Ulaanbaatar. However, it’s more dangerous and some drivers can be reckless with the speed limit. Trains usually take 12-14 hours.

Beijing to Erenhot / Erlian

muxiyuan bus station beijing

Head to the Muxiyuan bus station and book a ticket to Erlian / Erenhot. You can negotiate a price with 3-rd party vendors outside the bus station. How much it will cost depends on your negotiating skills. Otherwise, official tickets usually cost ~200 Yuans (~ 30 USD)

Make sure you have the writing and pronunciation correctly. I happened to book the wrong ticket and ended up getting lost somewhere in Inner Mongolia.

Finally, How To Actually Cross The Border

Once you are either at Zamiin-Uud train station or Erlian bus station, people will usually ask if you need to cross the border. Be careful of being ripped off if and/or being hassled into uncomfortable situations, some people can be incredibly pushy.

If you like negotiating, you can negotiate the price, but you will ultimately have to choose a driver to cross the border. You are not allowed to walk across the border. You must be transported by a vehicle!

I would advise to mostly go with Mongolian citizens to help you cross the border. Mongolian citizens are able to cross the border with without any visa restrictions, whereas Chinese citizens need a visa. And Mongolians are less likely to rip you off or make you feel uncomfortable.

If you are at the border very early, you will have to wait until 10 AM until it opens.

Zamiin-Uud to Erlian

zamiin uud train station

Once you arrive in Zamiin-Uud, people will ask you if you need to cross the border. Usually it’s 50 Yuan ( ~5 USD) per person to cross and take you to the Erlian bus station.

You will be dropped at the Mongolian border for clearance, picked up again and driven to the Chinese border clearance. Once you pass Chinese border clearance, you can choose to be dropped at the Erlian bus station or somewhere around the city if you prefer.

Once you are at the Erlian bus station, you will be hassled by a lot of vendors who will try to sell you a ticket to Beijing. Tickets are usually 200-300 Yuan (30 USD – 40 USD) depending on your negotiation skills.

Erlian to Zamiin-Uud

erenhot town

After arriving in Erlian, some taxi drivers will ask you if you need to get to the border. If it’s a Mongolian driver, you won’t have much trouble crossing since they are not limited by visa restrictions. They will drive you to the Chinese border clearance, and then the Mongolian border clearance.

If it’s a Chinese national, you will most likely be dropped off at the Chinese border clearance and you will have to find someone else to get you across the Mongolian border. There are plenty of cars passing through, so you won’t have too much trouble. However it is a bit more expensive. Be ready to spend ~10+ USD.

Buses from Ulaanbaatar to Erlian

If you book a bus ticket that goes from Ulaanbaatar to Erlian and back, it’s a bit easier and less hassle to cross the border. You don’t have to negotiate border crossing fees with independent drivers, since it will be direct route. You will have to get off for clearance and such, but you won’t have to waste time worrying about border transit.

This website is in Mongolian, but you could try using Google Translate to make sense of the basics.

Total Estimated Cost

A) Trans Siberian: ~250k (UB to Beijing) or ~450k (Beijing to UB) Tugriks + 20k Tugriks (Food)

B) Local Mongolian Railway: ~35k Tugriks (Zamiin Uud train ticket) + 20k (Food) + 20k (Border crossing) +  90k (Beijing bus ticket) + 20k (Food) = ~185k Tugriks (~80 USD)

C) Overnight Bus: ~55k Tugriks (Bus ticket) + 20k (Food) + 90k (Beijing bus ticket) + 20k (Food) = ~185k Tugriks (~80 USD)

Safe Travels!

Sometimes it’s simply better to pay a little more to make your travel experience more comfortable. Negotiating prices, arguing with locals and being stingy with money is emotionally draining. It’s not where you go, what you see, what you cross off your list, but the experience and the memories you make. Smile! Enjoy your trip!

For aspiring backpackers, check out my list of recommended travel gear for budget travelers.

 

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Traditional Clothing

Tradtional Mongolian clothing is simply the deel. Depending on the use and purpose of the deel, the material, the style and look can vary.

Check out this cool video about making the Mongolian deel:

Practical Deel

mongolian nomads wearing deel

The deels that nomads wear are mainly for practical purposes. It’s made out of wool and cloth. No fancy stitching or ornaments. The outer layer of the deel is hardy and tough. It doesn’t burn nor get wet quite easily.

The inner layer consists of wool for heat conservation and feels quite comfortable. There are 2-3 “buttons” around the neck area, but the placement and style can vary based on who sewed the deel.

In most cases you wrap yourself with khadag or with a big belt around your hip area, otherwise the deel will just drape over your body.



Decorative Deel

mongolian man and woman wearing the deel

While the deel most nomads wear are moreso for practical use, Mongolians have modernized the style and look of the deel as well for decoration. The material used to make it is usually more expenseive, such as silk or cotton.

You won’t see a lot of Mongolians wearing the decoration deel for everyday purposes, but for holidays, festivals, and other special events, it’s pretty normal to wear one.

Check out Gobi Cashmere. They make the best modern style deels.

Accessories

Accessories for the deel usually include military style boots, or traditional Mongolian boots are pretty big and bulky with a pointy tip.

Cowboy hats, belts, and other personal accessories look good on deels.

Fashion Trend in Mongolia

If you are visiting major cities like Ulaanbaatar, then you most likely will see Mongolians wearing clothes that are pretty modern. Jeans, dress shoes, t-shirt, etc.

Mongolians living in Ulaanbaatar are very trendy and fashionable, because most people in urban environments tend to judge someone’s character based on the clothes they wear. The usual fashion trend in Mongolia is a mix of Western and Korean / Japanese.

It’s pretty common to see teenagers and adults alike to dye their hair blonde, white, and other intresting colors with unique hairstyles. You won’t see Mongolians wearing any trainer sneakers unless they are going for a workout.

Mongolian kids standing in group
My friends and I on a night out.

Suggested Reads: Learn the Mongolian Language – Free eBook

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The official modern day Mongolian writing system is Cyrillic. It’s similar to many Slavic and Central Asian countries that use the Cyrillic alphabet, but it has the additional Ө Ү as vowels which is unique to the Mongolian language. Before using the Cyrillic alphabet Mongolians used to mainly use the traditional script and at one point in time even Latin, for further reading check out: Mongolian writing system.

The vowels and consonents are as follows. Keep in mind that for shorter sounds only 1 vowel is used while for longer sounds 2 same vowels are used and they can mean 2 totally different things.

 

Vowels: А а, И и, О о , Ө ө, У у, Ү ү, Я я, Ю ю, Е е, Ё ё, Й й, Ы ы, Э э

Consonants: Б б, В в, Г г, Д д, Ж ж, З з, К к, Л л, М м, Н н, П п, Р р, С с, Т т, Х х, Ц ц, Ч ч, Ш ш, Щ щ




 

The Alphabet

 

А а – Pronounced like Aahh

Б б – Pronounced like Behh

В в – Pronounced like Vehh

Г г – Pronounced like Gehh

Д д – Pronounced like Dehh

Е е – Pronounced like Yeeh

Ё ё – Pronounced like Yohh

Ж ж – Pronounced like Jehh

З з – Pronounced like Zehh

И и – Pronounced like Ee

Й й – Pronounced like Ee 

К к – Pronounced like Khahh

Л л – Pronounced like ILL. Emphasis on LL as if you are about to spit

М м – Pronounced like Imm

Н н – Pronounced like Inn

О о – Pronounced like Ohh. The O sound used in ORC but hold the O

Ө ө – Pronounced like Uhh. The U sound used in UGH, but hold the U

П п – Pronounced like Pehh

Р р – Pronounced like Irr with rolling R.

С с – Pronounced like Iss

Т т – Pronounced like Tehh

У у – Pronounced like Uhh. The U sound used in LUNAR

Ү ү – Pronounced like Oo. Similar to oops

Ф ф  – Pronounced like Fahh & Fehh

Х х –  – Pronounced like Hahh, Hehh

Ц ц – Pronounced like Ts

Ч ч  – Pronounced like Che

Ш ш  – Pronounced like Ish

Щ щ  – Pronounced like Ishts

ъ – It’s a vowel hardener, no sound

ь – It’s a vowel softener, no sound

Ы ы – Pronounced like Ee

Э э  – Pronounced like Ehh

Ю ю  – Pronounced like Yu

Я я – Pronounced like Ya

Suggested Read: Beginner Mongolian Lessons

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

RUSSIANS ARE VERY DIRECT

Russians do not take shit from anyone and will tell things how it is. Political correctness is nonexistent and people are not afraid to be bluntly honest when it comes to things. During my flight to Moscow as I pecked my movie screen in front me, a beautiful woman turned back at me and told me to take it easy with a distinct Russian accent. Apparently I was poking too hard and didn’t realize we had a remote control for the screen.

If it were me in her position, I’d silently sit and wait for the poking to stop…

NO ENGLISH

Had it not been for my basic Russian and understanding of Cyrillic alphabet, it would have been a nightmare communicating with the locals. In Moscow, a city of 10 million people, I came across only 2 locals who spoke English proficiently. It is advised to at least know the Cyrillic alphabet if you plan to visit anytime soon, as most Russians will conduct their business in their own tongue.



TOURISTS ARE RARE

As a bloke who could pass for many different nationalities and ethnicities, I had a strange pleasure in seeing the surprised faces of the Russians as soon as I opened my mouth to only speak in a broken elementary Russian. Tourists are not as common in Russia as one may think and even in the capital it’s rare for the average person to have an opportunity to freely converse with a tourist or a foreigner.

Especially, if you are an Indian, Latino, African, and Hispanic, most Russians will look at you with curiosity since it’s not a usual sight. As our posse (odd bunch of Latino, Indian, German, Polish, Korean, and Mongolian) sat in the park, we had eyes darting from left and right, with some trying to make sense of what we were talking about. This young girl even approached us and started talking so that she could practice her English.

Mongolian with Russian Mongolian and Russian

During my Trans Siberian train ride, a few fellow Russians invited me over to join their conversation and we ended up speaking until dawn with a mix of broken English and Russian while holding a dictionary.

SINCERE & GENUINELY HELPFUL

It is true that most Russians have stone cold faces and don’t smile as much as their Western counterparts, but there is a saying in Russia “A laughter without a reason is a sign of stupidity” which they abide by. So if you ever get a Russian to smile, he or she is not doing it out of politeness or courtesy, but because they are genuinely happy.

Mongolians and Russians seem to share this trait when it comes to smiling, however, Russians go out of their way when you ask them for help and directions. Almost everyone walked me to my destination and even asked other strangers for me if they personally didn’t know. In one instance, a taxi driver spent almost an hour driving me around Ulan-Ude without extra charge until I found my hostel. While it clearly was my fault for not knowing where the hostel was, my driver made sure I got there nonetheless.

LESS ADS & SIMPLER LIFESTYLE

Besides the few ad boards near bus and metro stations, you won’t find any glittering lights with 150 inch screens advertising certain brands or products. Russian people are much more present and are not distracted by cellphones, computers, and the internet as much.

Moscow itself is beautiful with aesthetically lit buildings at night with many decorations. It’s very rare to see any flyers, signs, and forms of advertising in the main city centre.

moscow city

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Morin Khuur or the horse fiddle, is the national instrument of Mongolia. Although it’s not widely used in Modern Mongolian Music you will find them mainly used in country and traditional style of Mongolian music.

There are 2 versions of the Morin Khuur. One is for decoration and the other is for actual playing.

Decorative morin khuurs don’t go through the same inspection and construction procedure, as it’s meant to look pretty. However, in this article we will mainly talk about the morin khuur that is made for playing music.

THE ORIGINS

Legend has it that the Morin khuur was invented between 12-13th century in celebration of the relationship between horse and man, a symbol for their unity and spirit. However, according to some historians The Horse Fiddle is an adaption of various similar instruments, Igil and Ikil, which is more prominent in western Mongolia and central Asia.

It is argued that Mongolians used to carve different ornaments for the headpiece, but settled on the horse since the horse is considered a sacred animal in Mongolia.



THE INSTRUMENT STRUCTURE

morin khuur structure

The instrument itself is made from either Birch or Willow most of the time and is comprised of 3 main body parts. First you have the head, carved in a similar fashion as a horse’s head, the neck, and the main body frame.

The strings are made from horse tail or horse hair and is bunched together tightly to form 2 groups. The tuners are attached to the head and is rotated for the correct tuning. There are no markings are frets to show which notes are where, so it requires a lot of skill and precision to play the morin khuur.

Lastly you have the bow comprised of 200-250 horse tail strings bunched together. The weight is usually 100gm max and without the bow, you will not be able to play the instrument.

HOW IT’S BUILT

The craftsman has to first draw the dimensions onto a wooden board. The main body is shaped in the frame of a trapezoid, usually not wider than 30 cm, and the full length of the horse fiddle is not much taller than 1 meter.

Once the sizing is correctly determined, the boards get cut to its respective pieces. The neck and the head are chiseled and sandpapered together, completing half the design. The main trapezoid body frames are glued together and sandpapered, while the bow gets completed separately. After the craftsman does the finishing touches, the 2 main pieces are then glued together.

When the glue dries, inspections are made to smooth out any rough edges and on goes the paint job. The colours usually range from dark brown to light brown, with a hint of different colours here and there.

After the paint job, the horse tail strings are bunched together and tuned accordingly. The bow goes through the same process, and the morin khuur is ready for playing!

WHERE YOU CAN BUY ONE

There aren’t much craftsman making the horse fiddle outside Mongolia or Inner Mongolia. From what I can tell, if you want to get a quality build, you can order internationally from morin-huur.com. It is going to be expensive since it’s custom made!

Morin Khuur Music

If you enjoy listening to traditional Mongolian music and throat singing with morin khuur, you can always search performances on youtube.

Further suggested read about Mongolian culture: The Mongolian Recurve Bow

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s painful to be exposed to the injustice and the suffering that exists in this world. As of November 12-13th, 2015, a group of individuals made the choice to take away other people’s lives and rob the hearts of many who held the victims dear in their souls. I don’t know if the actual event itself is scary or the fact that hatred still exists in something that was supposed to be so beautiful, after thousands of years of technological and moral advancements.

What was once pure and magnificent is being used to promote one’s greed, hatred, and separation of humanity. What started off as to explain the beauty of life, the meaning of why we are here, and our purpose, is being used as a tool to discriminate, to judge, and to divide.

What justification is there for taking a life in the name of our supposed Gods? Who are we to decide what’s right and wrong when we can’t even see the mountain of a shadow we cast? I will not judge, nor will I hate, however I will grieve for the victims and pray that the ones who brought such atrocities will one day question their Convictions.

I wish not to see this event as a tragedy, but I do wish to see it as an opportunity to further learn and grow in ourselves. It’s easy to judge, however, I choose to continue improving and bettering myself to serve in humanity’s unity. I desperately invite you to do the same.

How can we ourselves grow as individuals to bring love, peace, and joy onto the world?

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is Karma?

You don’t have to be a religious or spiritual person to understand the concept of Karma. The principle goes, the more good you do, good shall follow or the more bad you do, bad shall follow. It’s a philosophy that dates back thousands of years into Buddhism, but every major religion has it’s own version of Karma.

Although it sounds pretty straightforward and a principle you can easily live by if you choose, my only problem with the definition above is how Karma is only dictated by our actions or our deeds.

I am sure you know of relatives and friends who are good people who do good things, but just can’t seem to stop attracting misfortune and bad luck onto their lives. This leads me to believe that Karma is not necessarily defined by the good deeds we do.



Karma in Action

Karma is a way of thought and a view of the world. A lot of us give, give, and give with the intent of being seen as a good person or in some instances we give to bargain with the universe and karma to deliver/return our favours.

However, just by having an expectation or an agenda for giving, we are actually building bad karma. As mentioned, karma is a way of thought and the feelings we receive from the good deeds we do.

When we give from our hearts without expectations and the appreciation for making someone else feel just a little bit happier, that’s when we truly build good karma, and goodness shall follow.

According to science this is labeled as Reticular Activating System or confirmation bias, but either way, just by focusing on the happy feelings and the goodness in the world, we are attracting/noticing experiences that allow karma to work in your life.

So Is Karma Actually Real?

Well that depends… How do you see the world? What is your definition of life and why we are here? Personally for me, ABSOLUTELY! Karma is real. We are the creators of our realities, and our willingness to provide value for others is a reflection of the lives we shall live; not just materialistically, but also mentally. Our biases, desires, fears, and beliefs all shape how we view the world, and that in turn shape how we act in this world.

If you’re serious about making a difference within yourself and for others, my best recommendation is to research Tony Robbins, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Abraham Hicks, Eckhart Tolle, and many more.

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API