Finally, after more than 3 months, I’m ready to sit down and write about one of the rawest and most eye opening experience of my life: my trip to Mongolia. Why did it take me so long to write about it? First off, I needed to sink it all in. It was a lot, and I couldn’t organize my thoughts with a clear mind. Then a crazy summer happened…I’ve been a big fat ball of emotions, and still I am now, but I’m getting better. You know how nothing happens in your life for a while, and then in a matter of few weeks it’s like a tornado. From a genuine need of changes I ended up into a spiral of events that brought consequences so overwhelming I wasn’t sure how to deal with them all. Anyway, maybe in another post I’ll get to talk more about it… but now I want to focus on my trip to Mongolia.
I wished for this trip so long, since I started training contortion. It was my dream to go to my coach’s birthplace, getting to know in first person Mongolian tradition and culture, visit the sacred places, smell the incense of the temples and the countryside’s grass. I wished to meet my coach’s coach and see the circus school with the best world’s performers. I couldn’t wait to get inspired and be there. And the best part was that I was going to do all this with my coach and my friend Kristi, who came along as well.
I could just stare at her in awe! She had such a cute personality and even if we couldn’t understand each other because of the language, in some way we did. Becky, Michelle and her brother Gamba were so polite and generous to us, I was just in shock to see how willing and open they were to share all they had, even if they had less than us. They definitely don’t “live large” like we do in US with all the comfort, nevertheless they always had a smile on their face and were happy to spend the time showing us around and taking us places. I quickly grew such a sweet friendship with them, and so they were my favorite part of my Korean experience 🙂
The first days me and Kristi were so excited and eager to learn all we possibly could about Mongolia. We were so lucky to have Ulgii and Bilge, two close friends of Otgo who literally took care of us in the best way possible. They made sure we had the best time and experience and I can’t be grateful enough for having them during the whole trip. They would cook for us, take us places, translate for us in English, gave us rides everywhere. I was speechless because I’ve never meet anyone like this. Here’s a picture of us four!
So people’s hospitality impressed me a lot. Because you were a visitor, a tourist showing interest in the Mongolian country, you were worth of being treated like a special guest. Life can get a greater meaning when you’re good to other people, and because we are a society living together on this planet, we should show solidarity and help each other. It also creates a chain reaction, if you do good, people who receive good will most likely be inspired to do good too. This trip made me see things differently.
I realized what made my coach so special to me, her culture always transpired even in her way of training her students, a feeling of being welcome, cared for: not many people make you feel this way. It’s rare to find.
Moving on to probably the most fascinating part of the trip: THE TEMPLES.
Buddhism is real in Mongolia. It’s not just a religion, it’s a lifestyle. It’s celebrated ENORMOUSLY. It’s really incredible to walk in one of the Mongolian temples, because it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, you FEEL the need to respect and admire the religion. Its power, its infinity and immortality. It’s beautiful and worth all the respect.
Me and Kristi visited several sites around the city, my favorite were Gandantegchinlen Monastery (where we were able to witness the monks doing their daily chanting) and Choijin Lama Temple.
In the second part of this blog I’m going to talk about contortion training in Mongolia, the 75th Anniversary of the Mongolian Circus, the beautiful countryside and even some downsides of the trip… Stay tuned 😉