This summer, I am an urban nomad and a world traveler. I’ve played hopscotch across Asia and also in Ulaanbaatar. Now I am onto my third living
for the last week of my Mongolian adventure. The family I was staying at needed the extra space for their extended relatives to come visit so Chimga made a few calls and now my oversized suitcase (and another small bag – not sure how that happened) are neatly pushed against the wall in a cozy apartment at the opposite side of town. It’s a one bedroom apartment with a large living room connected to the kitchen.
This family is one of the most hardworking and industrious Mongolians I’ve come across. Their family, not only owns several different properties in UB, leasing one to a business and renting another space to a family, but they also run a small grocery store that the mother makes yogurt, milk, cream, cottage cheese, and all other sorts of dairy products to sell (besides other packaged items). The store is open everyday of the week and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Dad, the Mom, and their youngest daughter, 17, runs the shop with no help except their own two hands. Between the six set of hands, they manage to be very successful in paying for their oldest daughter’s expenses as she studies to be a nurse in Missoula, Montana.
I must look quite dumb and lazy to this Mongolian family as I just sit and watch the Mom work from dawn to dusk keeping a house and a small business afloat. She cooks, cleans and everything else in between.
The family’s generosity and kindness have been overwhelming. I only wish I could give them something in return besides my words and friendship (but I hope it will be enough).
The level of poverty in Mongolia surprises me, a sheltered child from the suburbs of Tennessee. I wish I could have given this family the opportunity I had to come to America at a young age. I would have loved to see what they can make of themselves in a country with so much opportunity. Bold (the Dad) and Flower (the Mom’s translated name) would probably be running a multibillion-dollar company – at the very least.