It all started at the dentist.
One of KPC’s nuns, Ani Ella (Ani is an affectionate/respectful term Tibetans use for all nuns), worked as a dental assistant in the Maryland suburbs of DC. In her chair one day several years ago sat a woman named Maijargal, who just happened to be the wife of the Mongolian Ambassador to the U.S., Choinhor (Mongolians often just use one name). Maijargal and Ani Ella really hit it off and a close friendship developed that lasts to this day. She accepted an invitation for her and her husband to visit our temple. They really enjoyed themselves, became regular visitors and honored guests, and thus began our connection to the DC-area Mongolian community.
Oh this is too weird. Just as I was typing this, I got my first email from Maijargal in Mongolia which I’ve been waiting for for days! Cue Twilight Zone music…
My chronology’s a little fuzzy at this point, but I do recall well a sunny spring day when several Asian guys on bicycles wheeled up the temple driveway followed by a carful of other guys with big video cameras, microphones, etc. Turns out it was a world tour of Mongolian cyclists aimed at generating awareness and goodwill for the new democratic state. Members of Mongolian national TV were along to document the proceedings. Yours truly was asked to show the group around. The cameras whirred and off we went. So, unless I ended up on the editing floor (likely—hard to counter the glare off my head), I think I’ve been on Mongolian TV. Maybe I’ll be greeted at the Ulaan Baatar airport like some kind of rock star (um, think latter-day Elvis minus the sequined jumpsuit -- on second thought, don't think that, especially if you're eating), who knows?
Another funny thing happened that I wish I had seen, but only heard about. One year, Ringling Brothers Circus was in town. Apparently, they had a Mongolian acrobat troupe that year and they were all bussed out to visit our temple. I heard hilarious stories about lithe young Mongolians spending the afternoon tumbling across our big front lawn. I’ll check with our archivist to see if there are photos or video to share.
In short, the DC-area Mongolians have come to consider KPC “their temple”, which we have encouraged.
Next week: Who was Danzan Ravjaa and why is Konchog dreaming of him?
BTW, I ordered a digital camera yesterday, so it won’t be long before photos are incorporated.