Last Friday, my students and their mothers invited Elijah and I to go cherry picking with them. As we were leaving at 2pm, Justin couldn’t join us, but we very much wished that he could. I may have even attempted to convince him to take a half day – but he was being all responsible and stuff *hehe, wink! We have never been cherry picking here in China, although we have picked cherries while we were running through the cherry farms of Laoshan during a retreat with the Hash House Harriers in 2013. When this cherry season started approaching I was determined to make sure that we went this year. Elijah is still a little too young for this (mainly because he takes off running as soon as he’s on the ground), but we took up the offer to go along with my students anyway. There were about ten of us, so we drove in three cars. It took us almost an hour to get to our location, just outside of the main part of Chengyang. The Chinese name of the area where the farm was located is Shang Shui Yu, and wow, what a beautiful area it is. Mountains, a large lake, and many beautiful farms. It was a nice drive out into the countryside on a clear blue sky day.
When we arrived, Elijah wandered off with one of the moms. A minute later I heard him crying so I went over to see what was wrong. Apparently he wanted to climb off the rocks that surrounded this cherry farm. The problem was that there was nothing but a steep fall below those rocks, and Elijah simply couldn’t understand this. He was determined to climb over them no matter what. To keep him from falling off a cliff, I had to hold him in arms but shortly after this, he started to act completely out of character (which is code for toddler, I guess) and the next couple of hours were nothing short of extremely challenging. I ended up standing far away from everyone with him, so that he could find some peace. Thankfully, there were a few times that he calmed down and we would join the others for some strolling among the trees and cherry picking. He absolutely loved picking and eating the cherries, and each of the moms would carefully pick the pits out of the cherries for him. After Elijah realized that he liked the cherries, he was reaching out to the trees and trying to grab handfuls of them to eat. Unfortunately he doesn’t quite understand that he can’t eat the pits – so he swallowed a number of them. Thankful… no tummy issues ensued!
Here are some photos of our lovely afternoon picking cherries in Chengyang…
We all got to fill a box of cherries. The first part of cherry season yields quite small cherries, which take a little more work to eat, but they are very sweet. There were hundreds and hundreds in each box!
As we left the cherry farm I realized that one of his teeth had torn through the gum – if only he could have told me that he was in pain! While I was standing to the side of the cherry farm, talking to him, I just couldn’t figure out why he was acting all crazy. When I figured it out, it all made sense. Poor little guy, only two more teeth and then we are done with the teething stage.
After the cherry farm – and a ridiculous amount of traffic – we made it back to Chengyang for dinner inside an amazing Botanical Garden. This restaurant was really great – I can’t wait to show it to you! Even though there were some really challenging aspects to the day (teething… eeek, it’s a tough one!) I still had a good time, and I bonded with my students and their mothers. Since these kids come to house very week, I really appreciate getting to spend time with them outside of just studying.