I had the chance to interview an ex-pat blogger named Rebecca Mutrux. She was born in Kansas City, MO but has lived in countries such as South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and China. She lived in Mongolia as an art teacher for five years. She moved to Japan in July of this year. Her blog is flyingsoloflyingfree.blogspot.com if you would like to check it out. She lived in Ulaanbataar, the capital of Mongolia.
I asked her five questions about what life is like in Mongolia these are the questions and her answers.
Q1-What part of Mongolia did you live in?
A1- I lived in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar (sounds like oo-lawn-botter). Here's the thing about Mongolia - one third of the whole population lives in the capital, to get better access to health care and education, so if you don't leave the city, it doesn't feel like the least densely populated country. ESPECIALLY when you are stuck in traffic - the city definitely wasn't made for 1 million people. But if you drive an hour away, you definitely start to feel it - the roads turn pretty rough and you don't see permanent buildings...sometimes you can drive for miles and miles without seeing a ger (kind of felt hut used by nomads - other countries call it a yurt).
Q2-What are some fun things that you can do in Mongolia?
A2-In Ulaanbaatar there was like lots to do - restaurants to check out, live music, and sporting events. We had basketball and hockey but the biggest sports event was Naadam, one of Mongolia's two big festivals. Men compete in wrestling, archery, and horse racing. Each town throughout the whole country holds their own Naadam, but the biggest one is in the capital.
Q3-What are the people like in Mongolia?
A3- I've lived in several countries and I have to say that Mongolians are the kindest, most genuine people, and - as a teacher - my favorite to have for students. In a traditionally nomadic country, everyone has to help each other out, and even in the city there is still a strong tradition of hospitality. In the countryside, you don't even have to knock on the door - if you are visiting someone you just call out, "Hold onto the dog!" Sorry, I don't remember how to say it.
Q4-When you were in Mongolia did you feel like there was a stable government and or that you felt safe?
A4- I always felt safe in Mongolia. Even when there were protests, I never felt like there was going to be trouble. The protests that I remember were for clean air - a big problem in the winter. The two biggest threats to general safety were wild dogs and drunk people, but for the most part neither was a big problem.
Q5- Did you feel free to do what you wanted to in Mongolia
A5- Yes, I felt very free. My biggest problem was that it was hard to get everywhere that I wanted to visit - with road conditions being bad and fewer trains and buses, you needed to hire someone to drive you most places if you wanted to go explore outside the city. But I was a foreigner with a good paying job. If I had been the average Mongolian citizen, I imagine financial concerns would have placed a lot more restrictions on me.
This Q&A showed me, and I am sure you too, the life of someone in a country filled with culture and inspiration. This is an amazing country with opportunities which will make you chill. If you ever have a chance to come to this inspirational country, take it because you will have experiences that you will never forget. Do not let its small population for its size fool you, because the people and the nature are beautiful in their own ways.
Story by William Euler