“From my twelfth year up to my thirtieth I worked as an acrobat at the circus. In Mongolia, circus life is as highly revered as ballet. I have performed all over the world, but not in Amsterdam which I find - as a resident - quite strange. My last circus performance took place in London where I met my Dutch partner. Not in the ring, as he works in the world of business, but in the nightlife environment. In London I had a bad accident during training and had to stop. Jan Pieter and I lived together in London for a year, and moved to Amsterdam in 2001. We got married here in 2006.
I went to work in the care sector in Amsterdam. I hadn’t yet done an assimilation course, couldn’t speak Dutch and had no experience whatsoever in the care sector, but was still invited to work for a probationary period. This week became the entire summer, and then I was given a year’s contract. And I’m still working in the same care home and find it incredibly fun. I’m very grateful and happy that I was given such a chance.
In London I had never told anyone that I liked men. When people asked, ‘where’s your girlfriend?’ I would say my life was too busy to include a relationship; I kept my preferences hidden - even to my family in Mongolia. The first time I took Jan Pieter there in 2003 I told my parents and family that he was my flatmate. When we returned to Amsterdam I called my sister and told her the truth. She said, ‘we knew that. You don’t need to feel ashamed and don’t need to hide anything’. The following year we returned to Mongolia and my mother greeted my partner with, ‘Hello, my son’.
Jan Pieter is a farmer boy. His parents live on a farm and we visit them every week. I love it there. It reminds me of Mongolia. And my mother-in-law is the kindest, sweetest woman I know, and is the most amazing cook. Traditional Dutch dishes like chicory with ham and cheese baked in the oven, or Brussel sprouts. I love them.
Since I have lived in Amsterdam, I can really be myself. The community here has accepted me for who I am. I am grateful that I am able - through my work in the care home - to give back something to the generation that made this all possible.”
30 people in Amsterdam have the Mongolian nationality.