Did You Know That: Eyesight


Did you know that the first day that I walked into the classroom with my new glasses on the boys said to me immediately:

“Wow, Riihele, you look so intelligent with the glasses on!”

And I said:
“Thank you. Good to know that I at least look it!”

They were kind but twas no consolation to me as I did not like wearing them at all to begin with. I was told when I got my first pair of specs as a 17-year-old that by the time that I would be the Six-O, my eyesight would be perfect. Not that I am that age – oh, no – am going up the hill, steady as she goes, yet still far away from the ‘over the hill’ and even further way from the ‘far away’. Know the saying? To be “Over the hills and far away.” Actually, it is a song in an 18th-century play, but goes even further back to the 1670’s. Amazing, methinks. Here is a link to see what I mean.

Tom, he was a piper’s son,

He learnt to play when he was young,

And all the tune that he could play,

Was, “Over the hills and far away”;. .

These are the lines that I do remember as well. We used it to express a multitude of things in our family in Ireland as regards to; somebody’s musical ability/talent, one’s age et cetera. It was not said in a mean way, though. So above here I am refrerring it to my own age/ageing.

Anyhow, tis the country to get the snazziest specs because of the quality and the quantity of the opticians. Yes, there are zillions of them here in Finland. The reason being that only about 20 per cent of the total population has the normal eyesight so the rest, the eighty per cent, are the faithful and regular clientele to these shops. Another great country for the absolutely fabulous selection on specs is Israel.

I did wear the gas permeable contact lenses for a decade and a half but then my eyes would not tolerate them anymore. I am too chicken to do the Lasik or the any other of the ops to do with the eyes.

The eye specialist’s cold -ice-cold – comfort words that he said to me about the perfect eyesight are more and more coming to the fore as my eyesight is rapidly improving and I am taking the glasses off all the time to see better without than with them.

The other day I came across a very handy and useful site online for advice on the shopping and getting the specs. Here is the link. One would be tempted to buy a pair just to have the right look – the most fashionable accessory around. Unless, one is a starlet and has a pocket size poochie… This link in here has the Celeb Quiz on who is behind the sunglasses. Do have a try on it.

Am thinking to as what kind of new ones I will go for, so I am still on the research phase as to actually buying a pair yet.

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

The pix above is moi at the age of the perfect eyesight Take 1, when I was only 5-years old. I did a bit of a makeover on the photo. Aaah, the days of far-sightness* – meaning: had no idea whatsoever what lay ahead – to these days of near-sightness.

Me Memories of Teenage Years


Tavast People – ‘Slow or what?’ This is what my collage states in Finnish.

It is not meant to be an insult but just a statement of the common thinking pattern in the Land of the Finns. In every country there are usually different areas of the nation with varied reputations for typical traits for that region and such like.

Well, Häme is like that in Finland. Another example is a place near the town of Vasa that is said to be so stingy that even the migrating birds do fly over it with their own lunch boxes!! This one about the birds was one of my favourite jokes while living in Finland when younger. To me it is just so hilarious.

The plant on the collage is very typical in the Häme province and it is called in Latin: Anemone Hepatica. We used to be able to collect them for the Mother’s Day which is the second Sunday in May in Finland. In Ireland the Mothering Sunday is in March. The white variety is called: Anemone Nemorosa. Impressive?

Yes, the fact of the matter is that in those days, we who were in the school had to collect 80 (yes – eighty!) plants over the summer holidays of the first two years of the Secondary education; presenting them on the third year. We had put the plants dried and pressed properly into these things called “Herbarium.” Each plant was on its own page laid out in style with handwritten labels for all the information on the species.

My approach to the whole affair was rather on the relaxed side on the summer holidays which were three months long then – as I collected only a handful of them in the three years given. The panic due to this laxed stand on the matter caused me quite a flutter by the time that we had to present our Herbariums to the Biology teacher for the final examination. I asked anybody and everybody if they had any extras to spare. I slaved away in rearranging the motley selection of these donated plants, wrote new fresh labels for each one and checked that the final look was pleasing to the eye for an impact and effect. Marketing is the key, I say.

I had learned and was able to rattle all the information on each plant in the order I had placed them on my Herbarium both in Latin and in Finnish. To this day when I see these plants, I am still thinking of their names in Latin, just like this Anemone Hepatica – Sinivuokko, in Finnish, and also the white one, Anemone Nemorosa, or as it is called in Finnish, Valkovuokko.

Then we had an exam on the plants: their names, species, family names et cetera, both in Latin and in Finnish. We also had to tell where they grew and in what kind of soil. We had to learn all these details by heart because at the exam the teacher covered his hand over a plant and asked us to tell all the information on the label.I cannot remember now how many one had to know in ALL the details in order to pass. I suppose that it must have been a good few as the number of the plants was so large.

The most astonishing thing in this Herbarium-affair was that the teacher was most impressed by my handiwork saying: “You have really put an awful lot of work and bother into this collection and made such an outstanding Herbarium!” And he gave me an Excellent*-grade for it. I was left gobsmacked in stunned silence. The poor man did not know that the truth was right the opposite – and I wasn’t going to inform him otherwise either!

And, you may wonder – what the sandhills, what an earth, has this Botany to do with teenage as the title is named for?! I will tell you, it was symptomatic to moi as to how the rest of the teenage school years went. The only teachers that really took an interest in me, were the language teachers who I absolutely loved and who inspired me to no end! They challenged me to the max to learn and use the languages with ease and pleasure.

I have always, always LOVED to learn and to find about things in detail. I needed to be challenged to reach for the heights and not just about. I still love to study and research about all kinds of everything and I challenge myself to reach the heights, and I enjoy mightily in doing just that!!

Tis for now until the next time – Riihele xx.

My kind friends who assisted me by donating the plants were left standing in amazement by the fact that me ‘luck’ did not seem to fail me, yet again!!