Because Wednesday is our shortest day of the week spent at school, today was a good day at Songwon Elementary School, despite the fact water is still pouring from the sky and I had somewhat of a fat day.
Ever since I was little, I have been able to stick my belly out far enough to pretend I was pregnant. It’s especially easy to do right after I eat. It’s a hidden talent I like to bring out after family dinners, just to make Mom roll her eyes and, more recently, show Jessica she’s not the only one who can have a big belly.
But sometimes it happens when I am not trying. Some may call it bloating, and I think it’s probably a mixture of that and eating too much for lunch. Did I mention I really enjoy the school lunches here? It’s always a tray filled to the rim of rice, kimchi, meat, fruit, vegetables, and always a bowl of soup. It’s a healthy, hearty meal.
So I happened to wear a certain brown polka-dotted skirt that I wore one time in Asheville and realized I looked fat when I glanced in the mirror. But here, I don’t care as much, for some reason. I guess it’s because when every single person you pass on the street stares at you anyway, you might as well throw something else strange in there. Why not a fat skirt? I do really love the polka dots.
So I was right in the middle of a math lesson with my post-lunch class of fourth graders, who declared a “low level,” were a little on the slow side.
“Who can spell 30? 30? 30? Can anyone?? What does it start with?!? Sound it out…Thhhhhhh”
Then, “Baby?” a young girl said, pointing at my belly. I looked down, saw my stomach was performing its hidden talent, bloated after a lunch of too much rice and fruit.
“THIRTY,” I said, not missing a beat, holding in the horror and laughter until I saw Whit between classes 15 minutes later.
It turns out his class hadn’t gone much better. His favorite part of it was when he wrote the two big words of the day, “accurate” and “aerial ” in a dark, bold black on the white board. But when he moved to erase it, it didn’t budge. Because it was a permanent marker.
Luckily for him, his fourth graders were smarter than mine. After the teacher in the room, the head teacher –by the way, tried and failed to remove Accurate and Aerial and the kids had laughed their little hearts out, several students showed him what to do: simply mark over the permanent black with white board marker, then erase.
It worked. Though I am still trying to figure out how to lose my “baby.” I started with a run in the rain this afternoon. But I think I have a long way to go.