Meet Amir: he's our newest narrator, and he used to live in India. Now that he's in Cleveland, he definitely sees some differences between the two cultures.
There's one place in Cleveland that Amir really likes, and we've got a good guess where it is. Yep, it's the community garden. The colors in the garden have Amir thinking about a Persian rug his parents had. And this is how we learn that Amir is the manager of a fabric store, so he knows a lot about textiles.
In the garden, Amir grows oodles of veggies: "eggplants, onions, carrots, and cauliflower" (12.3). But the stars of the show are definitely the eggplants. Everyone wants to know about them, from garden neighbors to Amir's son.
The cool thing is that these eggplants are good ice breakers. Now Amir is getting a chance to chit chat with his neighbors, and they're becoming friends. In fact, they're such a supportive group that they help to clean up parts of the garden when strangers throw trash away there.
On one particular night, Amir and two other guys from the garden chase after a jerk who'd mugged a lady. Amir, Royce (yep, the same Royce from Chapter 9), and another dude held the mugger and waited for the police. Sheesh, that's pretty crazy, and Amir thinks so, too.
Oh, and Amir lets us know that it was 1980 when he moved to the United States.
Amir's story is jumping around a bit, and the next leap he takes is to tell us about meeting a Polish woman in Cleveland. He'd never met any Polish people before, but the garden has him making a whole bunch of new chums.
So Amir and this Polish woman (he never gives us a name) plant next to each other in the garden. They talk a lot, and this is how Amir learns that his Polish friend was in a concentration camp. Her dad had opposed the Germans publicly, and that meant time in a concentration camp for her family. This discussion makes Amir realize that he can't believe any stereotypes about other people.
Amir's other new friend is Royce. We already know Royce is a cool guy because we met him back in Chapter 9. And Amir has the same opinion. He says Royce is a super nice dude who helps out around the garden all the time.
One day in September, Royce and a Mexican gent build a barbeque out of brick. With tons of help from friends and family, they roast a pig and start a big ol' party. Pretty soon, everyone in the garden is taking part.
At the party, Amir gets to know another new friend in the garden. This new chum is an Italian lady and she's super into those eggplants. Soon, Amir realizes that he and the Italian lady actually have met before.
About a year ago this lady called Amir "a dirty foreigner" when she thought she'd received the wrong change while in his fabric store (12.9). So now it's a year later and they've become garden neighbors.
Amir reminds the Italian lady about this incident, and she sure does feel bad about it. And then Amir ends his story right there… so we don't get to find out whether they stay friends. Blargh.