My name is Baira and it’s been a year since I moved to Germany. My lengthy search for finding my “homeland” has ended here. Have you ever had a “This is it!” feeling? If yes, that’s how I feel in Germany. 🙂
Reading below experiences and journeys, you may think that I was born to travel. However, if the flight I took when I was 16 had taken me to Germany instead of the USA, I believe I would have come back here after two years and stayed on.
As much as my search for my “homeland” was long, I have had much to learn and gain along the way. Please read on and have a glimpse of me and my life journey so far.
To me, Mandarin Chinese is the most beautiful language in the world! The sound of it is musical and figuring out the Hangzis is a puzzle game I enjoyed very much back when I studied one semester at the Beijing Language and Culture University.
My intensive studies of Chinese language was short and sweet. However, I look forward to getting back to it once I bring my German up to fluency level.
And as much as I adore Mandarin Chinese, I absolutely avoided Cantonese Chinese when I lived in Hong Kong during my two years of masters studies. What used to amuse me back then was to see three classmates from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to speak English as the common language after failing to understand each other in their mother dialects. 🙂
This was the title for my essay I wrote to compete for my first George Soros scholarship for attending the summer program at the West Chester University in Pennsylvania when I was 16. To date, I truly believe that the title made my essay stand out and handed me the golden opportunity to set foot out in the world for the first time.
Since then English, coupled with my courage not to stay in harbour, has taken me on a long journey around the world, sailing through different territories and different weathers. This language is the “passport” to the world and I wish that every child would have the opportunity to learnt it.
In high school I would devour international children’s classics in Turkish night after night in bed. Ever since then Turkish songs have been my all-time favorites. I learned basic to intermediate level of Turkish in my Turkish highschool in Mongolia and 12 years later I advanced it during my 2-year living experience in Istanbul. And during the long gap, I bridged it mainly by watching Turkish soap operas on YouTube.
Among all the languages I strived to learn, Turkish is the only one that comes from the same language group as my native language Mongolian. And I believe, not having to shift sentence structures to think makes it very natural for me.
Having been born towards the end of the socialist system in my country, I had an ample exposure of Russian TV in my childhood. And as such Russian language and anything Russian brings me sweet memories of my childhood.
And given the dominance of English in the world, it never occurred to me that I would use Russian one day. But life has many surprises and I ended up overseeing a business in Moscow as part of my international business development career.
And each time I travel back to Moscow, I have the pleasure of “going back to my childhood.” 🙂
I took Bulgarian as an elective course while studying at the American University in Bulgaria. If at all I was renowned for anything at my university among all the bright students, I must have been known as the one most eager to learn and speak Bulgarian.
Back then I didn’t have to use Bulgarian academically; however, it helped me to make the best of life outside the university. It’s been 10 years since I left Bulgaria, and each time I have a rare chance to strike up a conversation in Bulgarian, it comes back to me very fast.
Mongolian, my native tongue:
Mongolian belongs to the Ural-Altaic language family, which contains Japanese, Korean, Turkish and Finnish to name a few. One common element of languages of this group is that verb comes at the end of the sentence. Hence, when a verb is placed at the end of a sentence in German, it seems like the most natural thing to me while other language speakers get totally confused. 🙂
Today Mongolian is officially written in cyrillic letters, reflecting the historical brotherhood relationship with the Soviet Union. However, before the 1940’s, Mongolian was written in what we call the “old Mongolian alphabet”, the picture of which you see on the left. It is written from top to bottom. Many Mongolians today cannot read or write with this alphabet. Luckily in primary school, my parents had happened to enrol me in a class, which was being experimented as a 4-year pilot project to introduce old Mongolian script back to official use throughout the whole country.
And if you are interested in my detailed life stories, please go to “My tips & tricks” section. See you there! 🙂