Thursday, January 05, 2006


Mimi, the tiny sleepy baby hamster came to class today again. All the little girls demanded I should give it a Christmas present. I kept saying I didn't have any Christmas presents, but they explained I should give it the top of one of my "sha-puhs."

I "sha-puh" is a mechanical pencil. For little kids in Korea and Japan, a pencil isn't just a pencil. Usually it has some sort of glitz and glamour to it. It lights up, or has shiny dangling jewels hanging from it, or it sings a catchy song. Pencils are magical here.

I looked inside tiny sleepy baby Mimi's cage and saw that she had gotten a good haul of Christmas presents, as there were at least ten little baubles in there. I laughed.

I asked what Mimi ate, both yesterday and today. "Cookies!" I was told. Today, just to clarify, I asked if they were hamster cookies, and was told no, they're cookie cookies. That can't be very good for a tiny baby hamster can it? Oreos?

So tonight I went to the pet store and got Mimi a proper Christmas present. A bag of fancy "Vitalkraft" hamster food, all the way from the Netherlands, no less! Poor Mimi's got some fine digs, a spacious cage filled with clean wood shavings, and a ramp that leads to a metal deck and a plastic pool house. She's got all that Christmas bling, and a water bottle to boot, but all she had was cookies to eat. I guess that's what happens when your owner is a little five year old girl. Style over substance.

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