Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cat! Cat! Cat!

My pre-schoolers have discovered my tattoo.

It just sort of happened, the other day. I guess it was the combination of my sweater's length, where my jeans rested on my hips, raising my arms, and turning at exactly the right time. It was revealed for a split second, but they all started shrieking "Cat!" And they were up out of their seats and lifting my sweater and touching my back and it was great fun. "Yes, it is a cat," I said. They would put their finger on it, laugh with each other, then look at it some more. I think it could have provided hours of entertainment, but I finally made them sit down and we resumed class.

The next day I wasn't even thinking about it, but in the usual before-class milling about/talking/playing (remember, once I had my skull cracked during that time) they all came up and lifted my shirt to see the cat. The Korean teacher who has them the period before was just leaving the classroom and looked at me strangely. "Yeah, they discovered my tattoo yesterday," I told her. "If you start getting parents' comments about 'Why does that crazy American girl have a tattoo?' I'm sorry." The Korean teacher was a bit fascinated as well, but in more of a normal adult way (even in the West, as it were, sometimes people like my tattoo).

The third day, I hadn't even made it out of the staff room where I was putting my bag down at my desk and about six of the girls appeared in a huddle at the doorway shrieking, "Cat! Cat! Cat!" until I let them surround me and peer at it some more. The two other foreign teachers in there, who were sitting at their desks and thus had the pleasure of their ears being just about perfectly at shriek level, were like, what's happening here? "They seem to be fond of my tattoo," I understated. I walked forward dragging a half dozen five-year-olds clutching at my hips.

We'll see what happens today. It's Lunar New Year! This is a very big deal holiday here, on the level of Christmastime in the U.S. Today we are going to fly kites in the park for pre-school and the kids will play New Year's games and wear the traditional Korean hanbok and eat yummy foods. Or, maybe they will be yummy. So I hear. I tried the rice cake concoction at work last night and it was fine. Then we have a three-day holiday weekend! I guess traffic to and from anywhere in the country will be a nightmare this weekend as everyone visits families and ancestral graves, and bus/train tickets have been booked long in advance. On Sunday things will be closed around the city, like shops and restaurants perhaps. I am going to relax. hike, hang out with friends, read, write, and just generally revel in my good mood. No work on Monday, and then on Tuesday no pre-school (and no cat-touching), so we don't go into work until two in the afternoon.

Happy Seol Nal!

No comments: