In all honesty, hamster owning is not always a thrill ride. In fact, you may end up with days like I had today where you don't even see your hamster much, other than the occasional squeak and digging and chewing sounds. They're nocturnal, so you kind of have to sync your "awake" schedule together and figure out when both of you will actually alert and approachable.
I'm a firm believer in not waking hamsters up. Since I love hamsters and when I talk about them, I get a lot of "oh, hamsters are MEAN" or "my room mate had a hamster and it was EVIL" responses. The truth is, if you mess with a hamster you're gonna get bit. FACE IT. It's the only defense the little scrappy cutsey furball has against retarded people who bother them. I've only gotten bit maybe... four times? Ever? In what, 6 years of being a hamster owner? I'm actually pretty convinced that hamsters are never evil and that all of them can be hand tamed, as long as you have the patience.
- Start hand-taming when you FIRST get them. That means staying calm and relaxed and letting them sniff you and get to used to you first, then making little steps toward picking them up. Eventually let them walk all over your hand (that means you're gonna spend time with your hand in the cage) and then start picking them up slowly. But stay calm! I swear, don't be all stiff and fearful and expect them to be relaxed. It'll be okay. It really will be okay. It will be okay.
- Never wake up a hamster and expect them to thank you for it. Hamsters get up to do little errands during the day but they don't always want your attention when they're out and about. For example, Simon was my long-haired syrian sweetie boy who only bit me once... that ONE time I saw him awake during the day and thought "Everyone else just picks up their hamsters, I'm gonna do it." So I stuck my hand in there and tried to get him and BAM, youch! That was the one and only time he ever bit me, and I deserved it, so yea. Don't touch your hamster during the day.
- If you're not sure whether they're awake and alert (even at night, when they're supposed to be) take a look at the ears. My sister likes to call them "teacup saucer ears" because when Kricket's really alert and ready to socialize, her ears are big and round. Completely open and not even slightly folded. So that's how I know she's in a good mood (that and she's standing on her hind legs and trying to get out of her cage and trying to interrogate me with her nose from two feet away).