8.30 am. Monday morning. Back to work. Back to reality.
I enter the office. Bump into no one as I enter my office. Quickly push the power button on my computer. Unpack my handbag.
8.35am. I enter the kitchen. Armed with two large, 250 gram Fazer chocolate bars. Pressies for my workmates. A compulsory manner where I work.
8.36am. The ayi steps into the kitchen around the same time as I start putting down the chocolate on the table.
-Ah, Youna!! (Youna is my Chinese name) She says, and smiles. You’re back!
-Youna’s back?! I hear, from outside.
It takes some 20 seconds and then they are all there. My wonderful workmates. Welcoming me back. And. Inspecting me.
One is so blunt that she says it straight to my face:
-Well, I want to see what has changed with you! And she gives me a long, once over, before she sighs and leaves.
No one has anything special to comment on. I haven’t cut or dyed my hair. I haven’t lost or put on weight. I haven’t got any great tan to show off.
Disappointed they all go back to their desks. Relieved, I feel like I can breathe again.
8.50am, my phone beeps. Text message from my boyfriend.
“How did you go?!”
“Nothing!” I text back. “You?”
“Well, one of my colleague said my face looks thinner. I guess that’s a good thing?”
“Congratulations!” I reply.
“Well to you too. No one called you fat” I receive back.
“True. Good day!”
And it is. As the day goes by no one says anything. No one seems to care. One workmate wants to know why I’m not more tired. Didn’t I just arrive? Should I not be more jet lagged, yawn and leave early? I tell her that I’m tired but that I’m still going to the gym that night. She sighs and eats some cookies that she keeps in her desk drawer.
By the end of the day, 500 grams of chocolate has been consumed. And no one has called me fat, big, or anything. They have, however, remarked on the fact that I had sushi for lunch. Still. It’s the first time I return from a long holiday abroad and no one says anything about my weight.
I feel like I’ve won the lottery.