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My memories of Mongolia

My memories of Mongolia
22-Jul

A famous Mongolian saying says ‘The supreme treasure is knowledge, the middle treasure is children, and the lowest treasure is material wealth‘.

I wish I had understood the meaning of this sentence much earlier in life. I also wish, my late father could read this blog. What a man he was. Full of life, love and the lessons he has taught us, his family, his loved ones- are my life treasures.

Every now and then, I close my eyes to go back to one very special memory, which I would like to share with all of you.

When I was 7, my parents announced to my brother and I that we were going on holiday. It was an exciting moment for my brother & I. ‘Surprise’ my father said, ‘We are going to MONGOLIA’.

I looked at him with big eyes and said, ’Mongolia, why Mongolia. I want to go to the South of France exactly like all my friends!’ Mongolia was never part of my bed time stories nor had I ever heard any of my family or friends talk about it! ‘Mom, talk to dad please’! My mom smiled at me, kissed me on my head and I understood that there was no escape from this set-in-stone family trip that my parents had planned..

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In Mongolia, we stayed in a remote village near the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. It is located in the Khentii Mountains & includes the sacred Burkhan Khaldun mountain, which is considered to be the birthplace of Genghis Khan.

It was a village where people lived a simple yet, happy, life.

 

We slept in a yurt (sarkhinag toono), cooked food on a fire, had the best view you could ever have of the surrounding mountains and drank fresh goat milk everyday.Of course for a western 7-year old it was a bit of a culture shock. No comfortable bed and TV, nor cereals for breakfast… yet, everyone around us was entertained & relaxed!

I remember how grumpy and annoyed I was all the time (South of France was a fixed image in my head), and my brother who is 5 years older used to pinch my arm and tease me which was his way of helping me snap out of my state of mind.

Today, looking back at our time in Mongolia, I believe it was the best holiday I ever had. This trip was an eye opener. Although, I did not realize it back then.

From a young age, acquainting me with different cultures and ways of living was the best lesson my parents could have ever given me.

My passion for languages, education, culture, art and traveling that lives in me today, has been a result of my constant traveling over the years. This made me who I am today, a global citizen who wants to embrace the diversity of the world.

Thank you mon cher père! I miss you everyday. This is the dearest memory I have of my father, a great visionary and a global citizen. Every step I take I look up to the sky and hope my father is looking down and is proud of his little girl and the lady I have become.

 

Marie Alex Saaeva,
Learning & Development Director, Co-Founder
Pomegranate Institute