I know what an Erhu is and other interesting stories

As we all know working in consulting means you never know what is going to happen next. Take for example my current situation, I’m sitting in a flat in Beijing, China. I have just returned from visiting the thriving 798 art district in Chaoyang and I’m planning a meal out in a Tibetan restaurant. And a year ago today I had no idea I would be here. In fact, I didn’t even know here was here or what here had to offer.

I also had no idea what an Erhu was until this week when my Chinese team mate arranged for us all to go to an Erhu concert. For those like me, its a Chinese two-string violin played while sitting down with the Erhu placed on the top of the left thigh.

Likewise, last year I thought spicy food was a balti in Birmingham, a masala dosa in Bangalore or a chile relleno in Puebla. Now I know that spicy food also includes a numbing Sichuan mala hotpot eaten in Chengdu with way too much Snow Beer to quench the burning.

I can’t deny that I didn’t know about the Great Wall until I moved to China but I certainly didn’t know I would get to hike along a piece of the wall that feels remote, haunting and epic within 3 hours from Beijing. I also didn’t know that the Terracotta Warriors are housed in an aircraft hanger outside Xi’an, just standing there guarding the Mausoleum of the 1st Qin Emperor as they have for nearly 2000 years. (I’m pretty sure Blue Peter told me they were standing beside the Great Wall as a decoy army but they aren’t because I’ve seen them.)

All these new things I have seen, done and learnt from this year were things I had no idea I would do this time last year so what can I say about next year…? The only thing I can be sure of is that next year I will be creating memories of some things I just don’t know about now.

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