This morning, I met with the former middle school English teacher (and by "former," I mean "as of last week"). She showed me through stacks of curriculum, transparencies, and novels, as well as the classroom I hope I can keep (third floor, two walls of windows. Windows!).
And then she introduced me to the class hamster.
This particular hamster has somewhat of a sordid history, beginning as a science project. I don't know the details, only that the hamster outperformed a mouse, and the student doing the experiment was so angry he could barely write his final report. Anyway, the allegedly more-intelligent hamster took up residence in the middle school classroom, and there she lived happily in her toilet paper nest until Christmas vacation, at which point she went home with a student for a few weeks.
When the hamster returned, the teacher noticed that she was a little bit whiter. A little less active. A little less the same hamster that had been sent home. But the student swore that it was the very same creature, and so this hamster, potentially of equal or greater intelligence than the first, continues to live on ECA's third floor. And, soon, in my bedroom. This is how it happened:
"Oh, so cute!" I said as she poked her pink little nose out of the paper shreds.
"Do you like hamsters?" the teacher asked.
"I love rodents," I answered, holding my hand open to receive the fuzzy deposit.
"Oh, good! I was really concerned about what I was going to do with her, but if you take her..."
Sly. Very sly. In one sentence, my love for small creatures had transformed into a commitment. However, I'm a sucker for beady eyes, and so I happily announce that I have graduated from betta fish to four-pawed creatures in less than a month. Hamster, thou art mine!