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Hello, Humans!

31 Aug

Just a few glamour shots of everyone’s favourite frenemy (too presumptuous ?).

What the???

Caught red handed! (pawed?)

Bath time. He kinda really hates it. So here he is swimming, swimming, swiiiiimming towards freedom! Or so he thinks.

Drying off.



Blue Steel

It’s hilarious to see how much his face transforms when he’s emoting. For example, grumpy after a long and tiring photo shoot, his cute mug becomes the very definition of ‘stink face’.

 Sans towel….something to smile about.

So judging by the plethora of pics and the odd ball comments, I’ve clearly gone off the deep end?  Whatevs, he’s too cute and I can’t help myself. Not so cute is a bizarre phenomenon in hedgehog behaviour known as self anointing. When the hedgehog comes across a striking new smell, it’s delicate little body breaks into a furor of contortions as it coats itself in an abundance of rabid foam, leading the unsuspecting new hedgehog owner to believe that their pog is suffering from some neurological malfunction. However, this is commonplace for a hedgehog, and it is thought to be a form of protection from predators(just one of many theories; its true cause is still a mystery).

Anyways, here are some photos of self anointing in all it’s glory.

I was hesitant to post this one as I don’t intend to give people nightmares……..but really, what the funk!

A repeat of Dochi smiling to relieve the trauma.

That second to last one will honestly be haunting my dreams. Le wah.


PS: ahahahahahhahaha my friend just sent me a link to this video. Apparently this hedgie likes to exfoliate?? Sooo good please watch!


The Pog Formerly Known as Baji

10 Jul

When I first welcomed Baji into my humble abode (emphasis on humble) I promised the students that they would be given the opportunity to rename him. I considered this to be quite ingenious as it served me on multiple dimensions; first it allowed me to relinquished the responsibility of naming him myself (my previous two pets were named Angel and Star, so take from that what you will), second it provided me with a cost effective incentive for the children outside of the usual candy and stickers, and finally it justified any moral repercussions the name change would cause, such as his resulting identity crisis and a pile up of psychiatry bills(the little man doesn’t even realize he has a name, so said moral repercussions are a bit of an embellishment)

It took a while to decide how to orchestrate this as it had to be devised so each of my 60-odd  students were given a fair chance without ending up with 60-odd names. And so during the past month I held small contests where the winners would choose a name to placed on the short list. This is what they came up with:



Lioge (err I have no idea where they were going with this one) 

Coma (I didn’t have the heart to explain to a five year old what a coma was)


Bolton (Micheal Bolton….Bolton, Ontario ??)




Master Windu (as per suggested by Master Jedi)

Dochi (Hedgehog in Korean is goseumdochi 고슴도치 thus dochi for short)



So though there were some strange ones in there (like who/what/where/why/how on earth is a lioge??), I was pleasantly surprised by the wit of some,  like spike and cactus. Well done little ones, well done. (that sounded rather maniacal….)  This past week I had the students vote for their fave. The results are in and the winner is (drum roll, ect) ……

And so there it is. Baji is now Dochi and can add identity crisis to his growing list of stressors. And so I leave you with a photo montage of the endearingly mischievous living,breathing(huffing?) stress ball that is Baj..erm I mean Dochi. To give a bit of background, these were taken in the bowels of  torture chamber that was my apartment last weekend once my air con blew out. Hedgehogs are rather finicky about everything temperature – their environment should never be too hot or too cold(if Dochi ran things I’d be fashioning him a mini air purifier/dehumidifier to be put in his cage while I manually fan him). Leaving a hedgehog in too low of a temperature is actually quite serious; the cold can induce a state of hibernation that the domesticated animal is not accustomed to, which can be quite dangerous….and sometimes fatal. Too hot, however, simply leads to loads of laughs for me.

Woo freedom!

Coooooool a plastic thing for me to hide in

Whew… it’s rather toasty in here

This kinda heat is illegal….my giant is inhumane…..*SPLAT*

Nein! Must….take…advantage…..of……freedom……………..

Oh eff that! *melts to the floor*

I totally get you Ba…Dochi


Hedgie vs the Hair

12 May

Early last week I was giving the hedgie formerly known as Baji (nope still no real name yet) a bath (as seen above), when I noticed what looked like a mutant horror show attached to his leg in leu of a usually delicate paw. This discovery threw me into a panic ridden state, leading me to scour the net for possible causes and to frantically call my poor co-teacher at 1:30 am to force her to find me a 24 hr veterinary clinic (which led her to wake up a vet, leaving neither of them particularly impressed with me ….oopsie) My co-teacher was nice enough to drive me to the vet early the next morning, acting not only as my chaperone but as my translator as well. I am very lucky that she acted as the intermediary at this junction as the following is what I perceived to unfold.

*The vet removes the lid from carrying case, then shrieks and jumps about three feet back in response to the hedgie’s jarring hyperventilation, instilling in me heaps of confidence in relation to her experience with hedgehogs*

Vet: What is the matter?

Me: His leg looks swollen, I noticed it last night

*The vet proceeds to stick him with a bunch of needles. Once he falls asleep(by this point I’ve realized that the needles were an anesthetic…..or that he’s been euthanized), she takes a better look at his leg and shrieks again, shows the leg to my co-teacher who also shrieks. Vet throws me some severe cut eye *

Vet: IT’S VERY SERIOUS! SO SERIOUS! Korean Korean Korean.

Co-Teach: Korean Korean Korean

Vet: Korean Korean Korean

Co-Teach: Korean Korean Korean

Vet: Korean Korean Korean

*This ensues for a few minutes. The vet sharpens her dagger eyes and then throws them in my direction*


*Vet runs into the back area, emerging 10 minutes later to show me that his wound needs a few stitches, but does not leave to do them until she tell me something I may not have gathered…*


*The Vet takes another 10 minutes  to stitch him up. She emerges, looking exasperated by the procedure*

Vet: Korean Korean Korean

Co-Teach: Korean Korean Korean

Vet: SERIOUS. Korean Korean Korean

Co-Teach: Korean Korean Korean

Vet: Korean Korean Korean

Me: *Hyperventilating*

Vet: You have to check him often. I can’t give you an exact number, but lets just say it’s at least 20 to 30 times a day.

I’m sure it went on for a bit after that but to sum it up, if she were to have presented his case in powerpoint format, the presentation would be entitled SERIOUS! (subtitle) IT’S SO SERIOUS. As you could imagine I left the veterinarians office feeling anxious and guiltily, as if it was some sort of negligence on my part that had led out to this serious situation. However,once I asked my co-teacher what all the Korean hullabaloo was about she explained that the injury was incurred because a hair had gotten caught around his leg(to be fair I gained an understanding of this during the visit), which cut off blood flow to the paw, causing it to swell. Not only was she told that this was in fact a common situation, all would be ok if I made sure he wasn’t picking as his wound and gave him his medication when appropriate.   

I’ve brought the poor guy back to the vet for a few check ups and it’s now safe to say that the score for this round is Hedgie 1 – Hair 0. Fewf. Things were getting serious there for a bit.


All Quiet on the Frenemy Front

8 Apr

After 2 weeks of intense behavioral therapy Baji is comfortable enough for me to hold him and pose for a photo shoot. Work it!

Baji or Popples?

Fave hangout: Old cardboard tunnel…

Chowing down! Was meant for his dinner…..snuck it while I was prepping his cage.

Although he has come leaps and bounds since his first days hyperventilating under my wardrobe, he’s not completely comfortable with his new giant owner and the slum he calls home, proven to be true when he rolls into a ball while jutting his spikes out at me (how rude, has he never hear the saying don’t prick the hand that feeds you??). Apparently it takes a few months for hedgies to warm up to new owners, but if they become cozy enough you can pet them (and if you’re really lucky a few have been known to roll around with glee whilst allowing you to rub their belly…..I’m thinking that Baji’s a bit far from that).

For now if he’s not lounging around in his Gana cake box (Gana cakes are Korea’s delicious/disgusting answer to  Jos Louis) he curiously scurrying his chubby self around my room.  I still have yet to rename him as I am pretty useless when it comes to naming anything(naming this blog for instance took ages and even when I finally decided i had to rip the name from the Neutral Milk Hotel song). The best I’ve come up with so far is Chubby Wubby, Sir Poopsalot ( to be fair he does his business quite a bit for such a tiny chubby thang), Sonic…..yup pretty useless. Since I cannot be trusted with the task I think I’m going to make it into a competition of sort amongst my students. The results could be interesting….

The next hurdle to cross is bathing him and giving him is monthly pedicure…….. wonder if they’d let him join the fun at the nearby Jjimjilbang (“spas”…..a Korean’s dream form of relaxation, my nightmare ….read more here)

I’ll end this one the victim of my theft:


Busan and a New Frenemy

28 Mar


This past weekend I took a short trip down to Busan, the second largest city in South Korea.

Busan is a hilly metropolitan city (at least in comparison to Pohang) with beaches, a cafe at every corner(usually more than one) and most importantly, some attempt at a music scene; something seemingly unheard of in Pohang, so it is not surprising that this is where I ended up first.

The night is called Rad City and it happens around once a month. Along with a live performance, DJ’s were spinning oldies that made me hungry for home(but not ravenous, which is what I would have to be to ever considering heading back) and a table where locals sold art and crafts.

The live show was by a band called Surisuri Mahasuri. Rad City’s facebook invite used terms like ‘positive energy’ and ‘spirituality’ when describing them, all a tad too new age to strike  a cord with me. But I was pleasantly mistaken as a hodge-podge of instruments, from accordion to what appeared to be a PVC tube, overlay a beat that can be best described as infectious(so no I’ve made no literary leaps and bounds by describing a beat as infectious, but sometimes tried and true works best). What I was most taken by, hands down, was the accordion, despite the pseudo rasta(??) outfitting.

I don’t know him but he was really eager for me to take his picture so here we are:

Use that force!….or something(this is likely the extent of my Star Wars knowledge)

The rest of my stay was a mosaic of old staples from home including huffing down a giant bowl of pho, indulging in overpriced coffee, sifting though hoards of secondhand goods( though back home overly ornate ajumas- a term used to describe older korean women- aren’t there to tell you with …erm… the utmost politeness that you are picking from the wrong pile)  and having special moments with my Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Full moon look out

Busan bridge from afar

Nampodong Market

Oh, you’ve been missed

Effective, as we would have forgotten

All in all a 24(ish)hrs well spent.


Shortly prior to my departure, a fellow Canadian expat who is nearing the end of her Korean residency made me an interesting offer, as not only would she be soon leaving Korea behind but a pet hedgehog as well, and so was in search of a new owner. Ironically, I had fairly recently befriended another woman, who among many things, is a proud hog owner(and a literary hog at that…..her prickly antics can be followed here: The Pickle Jar ) and felt the situation too serendipitous to pass up.

Thus the main cause for the trip though was to pick up my new “friend”(I use the term with discretion as I feel that such relationships work best if one party is not in hate of/petrified of the other party-more on that later). And after what must have been the longest, most terrifying trip of his little life, Baji** arrived safe at my dark stale cave.. erm…I mean apartment.

Despite attempts to make my subpar living quarters as livable as the bright chic condo he previously resided  and feeding him disgusting… I mean dee-licious!(ala Tony the Tiger) dried maggots, he growls?(or at least thats what I feel he thinks he is doing; in reality he is too small and cute to do so with any conviction) and has has full blown anxiety attacks when I come within a 1 meter radius of him. And though I was initially contemplating giving him Valium or fashioning him a mini paper bag as both have been proven to diminish hyperventilation, I have discovered upon further reading found that such behaviour is normal and it will simply take some time for him to trust me.

In attempts to have Baji gain his bearings and to win brownie points I let him out of his cage. And though I thought I had restricted access to any hard-to-reach areas in my room, I was clearly mistaken, as he decided to furrow himself  under the furthest corner of my wardrobe, the same place he resides now. And despite the fact that he has access to food and water, which he has clearly indulged in while the giant was sleeping or working,  I myself am now experiencing bouts of anxiety. Will Baji ever emerge from his comfy corner?  Won’t he be lonely with only dust balls as friends? Will this traumatizing experience prove to be all too overwhelming, causing the little thing to dramatically commit hedgicide?

To further my anxiety this is hauntingly similar to when I first brought home my second cat at sixteen. At the time only a kitten, it playfully climbed up into the frame of my pullout couch, where it stayed for nearly a day. Reasonably convinced that the feline was tragically trapped in what was destined to be her tomb, I spent the day bawling and hollering through my sobs “by the time we get to her she will be dead!” while my family rolled on the floor with laughter. Surprisingly the story is a happy one as she came out on her own accord and continues to reside in my family home.

Thankfully, what we can deduce from my tales of animal rearing is that I will be a calm and reasonable mother someday….

For now its back to the fruitless task of coaxing Baji out of his hiding spot. Mama Shauna out.


**Baji in Korean means “pants”, or if mispronounced…… “lady parts”, thus I feel it may be necessary to rename him as I feel a tragic, albeit familiar, faux pas a-brewing, likely involving that very judgmental mother from my Hagwon.

UPDATE: HE’S OUT HE’S OUT! Oh man, has ever such a sigh of relief been released? Ah! First thing he does with his new found freedom? Run back and forth across a 1/2 foot track underneath my bed. What a weirdo! I am confident that we will get on just swimmingly…