I threw on a T-shirt and shorts, gathered up a load of trash, tromped down the five flights of stairs and proudly found the trashcan that was already overflowing. I tossed my bags on top of the pile hoping the trash man would come sooner than later for the sake of my neighbors. Moving creates lots of trash. Since the kids were still confined to their beds (even though they had been awake since 4:30 AM…thank you, jet lag), I decided to take a quick stroll through our little area of the huge apartment complex we now call home.
Drizzling rain brought refreshment to my cloudy mind as I took in the gleaming greenery around me. To my amazement, the apartment grounds are well kept, giving the area a garden-like feel. As I meandered about, I saw an old woman picking up some sort of fruit that had fallen from the tree she squatted under. After watching her for a minute, I saw her open the tiny peach, pull out the pit, toss the pit in a bag and the uneaten fruit on the ground.
“That’s strange.” I thought to myself, “I’ve seen people out gathering weeds to eat, but this woman is throwing perfectly good fruit on the ground. What in the world?”
Feeling brave and needing to dust off my rusty, been-in-America-for-the-summer Chinese, I asked her what kind of fruit it was.
“Peach.” She said. And then rattled of a few sentences I didn’t quite catch.
After a few rounds of “wo ting bu dong” (I don’t understand what you’re saying) and more questions, she informed me that the fruit is not good to eat. Pointing to the bag of peach pits, I asked her what she would use those for. After another long, half understood explanation and round of questioning, she told me she uses the pits to make a pillow and tried offering me some from her bag .
I walked away smiling and curious about the comfort factor of a peach pit pillow. Perhaps Kanyon’s pillow at Chinese preschool was filled with peach pits and that’s why he didn’t like to take naps there without his own pillow from home. Another mystery solved!