Belch

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Belch (verb)- to burp, to expel gas suddenly from the stomach through the mouth

I babysat for friends this week and spent three days taking care of their daughter and dog. Fourteen and six respectively (in human years), both acted much younger than their age. But then again, is there a typical teenager or a quintessential dog?

The teenager was obsessed with Harry Potter. The first night we watched 30 minutes of The Order of the Phoenix before she declared it lacking actions and switched us to The Deathly Hallows Part Two. Dressed up in a cloak and holding a wand, she had the volume at two and was under a blanket for most of the movie because it was too scary. At 8:30pm I hit the pause button and, with a lot of coaxing, convinced her to take a shower. She wanted a story in bed, so I read to her the first chapter of The Chamber of Secrets illustrated edition. Between Harry trying to persuade Uncle Vernon to let Hedwig out at night and Dudley demanding for more bacon, I learned that to belch means to burp. I’m surprised the former word isn’t used more frequently considering how often the latter one comes up. To my other surprise, I actually enjoyed the movie and resumed it after she fell asleep.

It was fascinating for me to read Harry Potter in English. I considered myself as part of the generation that grew up with the series. My cousin gave me the first book in Mandarin when I was in elementary school. As my English improved and with the help of a dictionary, I probably could’ve switched over to the original version for the later books. But learning numerous proper nouns and unique object names and spells of the wizarding world was simply too much work, especially halfway through a series. So I practiced patience and vigilance (for avoiding spoilers) while waiting for the next translated book.

The second night I babysat we watched The Chamber of Secrets. Once again, we didn’t finish the movie because we exhausted her “TV minutes” for the day. In bed I read her chapter two. I should confess that I skipped several paragraphs without compromising the coherence of the plot so that I could reach the end faster. I wasn’t invested in this second movie and went to bed early myself.

Not only did I learn a new word, but I also realized that parents need magic to get anything done at home with a kid around. If they don’t feel like cooking, they can’t just scrounge for dinner or pretend popcorn is a real meal if they make enough of it. I never knew showering can be such a battle. I also didn’t know braiding hair is an essential life skill. I now have a newfound appreciation for inventors of Breakfast-for-Dinner, deodorant, and baseball caps.

harrypotter

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