We are delivering the next “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 next guest is Steve E.Morel, 28, and his Mongolian name is Dondog, he was working as a Photographer / Motion Designer / Director for 12 years. He resides in Ulaanbaatar and he is studying Morin Khuur (also known as horsehead fiddle, is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument) and Khoomei (throat singing). Certainly, it starts with “Why Mongolia?"
Because I have a great passion for the music, Khoomei, and Morin khuur. The Mongolian culture appeared in my life, when I was very sad, and very down, and this culture helped me to get into more happiness life, and joy! Now I live much more easily, and smiley.
How do you cope with the cold?
Well the cold is actually okay, it's actually better than in France for me, as it's dryer, in France weather is humid , so even if the temperature doesn't go as low as in Mongolia, the feeling is very cold, and hard. Here it's pretty cool. The hardest thing is the smoke. I have few lung issues, and sometimes it's really hard to breath for me. Even with a mask.
Most favorite thing to see in UB?
Well most favourite thing, I think it's the culture, of course, listening mongolian music kind of every where, seeing people in Deel some time, and I feel comfortable, and secure here! Also, it's always sunny. I've been here like 6 months, and it didn't rain once! It's awesome!
What would you suggest changing in UB?
Cleaning the air, and having more organic products. Also there is a lot of plastic use, so I think this city is not fair for the environment. If Mongolia, and the UB city Mayor or some political people could do something to improve the global awareness, and mentality, it would be awesome, because I really don't understand why there is so much plastic around every product. In France we use a lot of paper bags, that we can use and reuse again. Lot of free self product, so you take anything you want for example for nuts, and stuff. I saw a little bit in Good Price, but it's too expensive for me.
What were the greatest myths about Mongolia?
Well from France, I was thinking everything in Mongolia was green land, and mountain, with every one wears traditionnal clothes, very respectful of tradition and riding horse everywhere. When I came to UB, I was kind of in shock to see that it's not like that at all. I actually don't see much deel around, even on Tsagaan Sar and it seems that people ignore the culture, don't care that much, and get more and more globalized. It's very Kpop culture kind of... of course not every one, but that's kind of the feeling I have. Sometimes I feel I know more about Mongolian tradition and culture, than some Mongolian, and I think it's a shame. In France, in my opinion we lost our root culture, and it's very sad, it's interesting, because it got mixed with many other cultures, but the "true" French doesn't really exist anymore. Even if it would be someone from elsewhere, but the knowledge kind of disappeared (of course I'm not into French tradition as much as in Mongolian, so my vision might be actually far from the reality, I'm just talking about my perception, and my feeling).
What would be your advise for the newcomer?
Well, I don't know really, for me it's like Paris kind of, so my advise would just be to prepare for a new life, in another city. Of course if the person comes during the winter, better prepare lot of warm clothes, but I would suggest to actually buy in Mongolia, as it's a perfect fit for the weather here. Also concerning the food, globally I think vegetable and fruit are not as good as in France, and more expensive... so it's something that needs to be taken into account also. But I'm an optimist, and I think it's going to improve soon.
Last question is for you…
Well, I would just say thanks to Mongolian culture for saving me! It really changed my life very deeply, on many different aspects. Mostly spiritual, but also my way of doing things in everyday life. Also the Morin Khuur is for me a real gift and it's becoming everyday more and more of a passion, and love.
So I would like just to address to Mongolian people, and readers of this, that please, get interested into your culture, it's a very strong and rich culture, which survived many issues, war, and please, help that culture stay very alive, and not disappear into Korean Pop Culture, or globalised western stuff. Of course it's interesting to be curious and look around what other people do, but I think it's important to keep Mongolian Culture Strong and very alive, because it's really worth it!
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