We are delivering the first “Short Interview” featuring Expats in Mongolia, who are working and enjoying live in Mongolia and UB city. We aim to share their experiences of living in Mongolia. Our second guest is Jonathan Tavennec Renich, who works at Bid Organic LLC, which delivers organic products to Mongolian market... Certainly, it starts with “Why Mongolia?”
I originally came to Mongolia in 2004/05 with two student groups traveling around Mongolia working in small rural communities and schools teaching primary healthcare and researching potential community development projects. In 2008, my wife and I moved to Mongolia to run Edurelief, an NGO focused on setting up school libraries and getting Mongolian textbooks into the hands of children in rural areas. It was a great project and we did that while living in Erdenet for nearly six years. In 2013 I co-founded Bid Organic, a natural and organic food and beverage import/distribution company in Ulaanbaatar where I am currently living with my wife and four year old daughter.
Is UB the coldest capital city?
I have heard that Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world. I believe it, but I was born and raised in Minnesota where winters are very similar. The winters are definitely cold and long here but isn't as much of a shock to me as it is to other expats I know.
Most favorite thing to see in UB?
Green. I love the spring and summer. In a dusty, busy city like Ulaanbaatar it's great to see the grass and leaves come back. It's really a pleasant place in the late spring and through the summer. My other favorite thing the positive changes in the city such as recycling and trash cleanup efforts, tree planting, youth involvement, sports, more parks, etc... UB is definitely different than when I first visited in 2004.
Things that you don't like at all?
Traffic and and smoke sums it up. Also grocery store selection and prices can make life a little difficult.
What would you suggest changing in UB?
Continue planting more grass and trees, bike lanes, more public and/or alternative transportation to cut down on traffic.
What do you do when you miss your homeland?
Being in UB is a bit improvement in terms of communication with family and friends overseas via the internet. It was nearly impossible in Erdenet. Now it's easy to spend time with them using video chat. Coming from a family that is spread out internationally we are used to having a computer or two streaming video to other family members during holiday gatherings. UB has a good choice of American and French restaurants as well so it's easy to go out and get a taste of home.
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