LITERACY or Love of Reading

“What I can think about, I can talk about. What I can say, I can write. What I can write, I can read.
I can read what I can write and what other people can write for me to read.”

Professor Roach Van Allen

The picture, – do click at it to make it clearer, please – that I used as the lead photo, is the list of countries by literacy rate as included in the United Nations Development Programme Report 2005. Four countries lead the chart of literacy world wide with 100 per cent literacy rates Georgia, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway. Both The USA and UK are on # 21 with 99 per cent; as are Australia, France, Ireland and Germany. India is # 145 with 61 per cent. China is # 67 with 93,5 per cent.

The UNESCO literacy estimates provide basic information on the number and percentage of adults (aged 15 years and older) and youth (aged 15 to 24 years old) who are literate and illiterate. They indicate the dimensions and patterns of illiteracy within each country according to gender and age-groups, so as to aid in policy- and decision-making with regard to measures to be taken to raise the literacy level of the population. These estimates in a way reflect the performance of the national education system, as well as the quality of the human resources within a country in relation to their potential for growth, contribution to development, and quality of life.

What constitutes literacy aka literacy as defined by UNESCO:

1. A literate person is one who can with understanding both read and write a short simple statement relevant to his everyday life.
2. Literacy is not the simple reading of a word or a set of associated symbols and sounds, but an act of critical understanding of men’s situation in the world.
3. Literacy is not an end in itself but a means of personal liberation and development and extending individuals educational efforts involving overall inter-disciplinary responses to concrete problems
4. A literate person is one who has acquired all the essential knowledge and skills which enable him to engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning in his group and community and whose attaining in reading, writing and numeracy make it possible to use these skills towards his own and his community’s development.

The United Nations defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple sentence in any language. So, these literacy rates refer only to basic, not advanced, literacy. UNESCO Portal for the International Literacy Day. September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated on 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies with celebrations taking place around the world.

An estimated 781 million adults live without basic literacy skills, of whom two-thirds are women. In addition, approximately 103 million children have no access to school and are therefore not learning to read, write or count. All these figures mentioned in the previous sentence total more or less one billion so to put in a way that it is easier to fathom: 1 in 6 in the world cannot read, write nor count! How very tragic that the wonderful pleasure of literacy is ’denied’ these folks, methinks.

This is an extract of an old article called ’Gestures not enough to teach the world’ on Guardian online site dated September 8, 2000, but still it is very relevant:

“We have been here before. The high-level conferences, the firm commitments, the hand-wringing, the international agreements that promise the earth and deliver next to nothing – all have been part of the backdrop to the campaign for debt relief. Now there is a threat that the campaign for universal primary education could go the same way.

One third of the world’s population — that is 2 billion people — live in countries which have fewer telephone lines in total than Italy — with a population of less than 60 million! Around 90% of telecommunications traffic takes place between rich countries, while 50% of the world’s population have never made a phone call. As the knowledge economy takes root in the coming years, this lack of access will take a heavy toll and widen the divide still further.

A computer is not much use to a child who cannot read. Out of a global population of 6 billion, 880m adults are illiterate, two thirds of them women, most of them in south Asia. All these figures underestimate the full extent of the literacy problem, perhaps by as much as half. They are based on school attendance figures, and ignore the problem of the numbers of children who leave school functionally illiterate. In Africa, where increasing numbers of children will be out of school unless there is emergency action by western institutions, a new generation of adult illiterates is set to create a dangerously marginalised section of society.

Even in the industrialised world illiteracy is a problem, with almost a quarter of young adults in the US having difficulty reading all but the simplest of texts. In the developed as in the undeveloped world low literacy invariably means poverty and the spiralling problems of drugs, violence and insecurity which go with it.”

Debunking myths about the “Third World” (This video has most fabulous graphics)

“If we talk about literacy, we have to talk about how to enhance our children’s mastery over the tools needed to live intelligent, creative, and involved lives.” (Danny Glover)

Tis for now from Rii – who loves to read & write. xx

These are some of the great links that I used in this article and for further reading:

http://www.literaturepage.com/
http://www.uis.unesco.org/en/stats/statistics/literacy2000.htm
http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Literacy/
http://www.literacyconnections.com/InTheirOwnWords.php
http://www.literacyconnections.com/
http://www.vocabvitamins.com/

Literacy Exchange: World Resources on Literacy
Nation Master site that has all kinds statistics on all kinds of things!

Pearls of Wisdom…

“ALL ART IS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL;

The Pearl
is the oyster’s
autobiography.

Federico Fellini (1920-1993)

(Picture off the net)

NOTE:

Fellini had a great knack of saying things so concisely and yet with such great depth.

All art is saying something about the person making the art. A pearl is the oyster’s story about the oyster.

(An oyster is a mollusc with two shells. A pearl is a beautiful round white thing that grows in the oyster and is used to make beautiful chains that a woman wears around her neck.) — according to Wikiquote.

James Bond of the Cat World: Simon D Pud

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.
(Leonardo da Vinci)

This ‘James Bond of Cats’ with an attitude that is cattitude
and who does impersonate ‘Kramer’ to the T by his sudden barges and skidding;
also does ‘Cato’ with his sudden surprise attacks making me scream
– every time – but making him is so pleased that he chuckles to himself, let me tell you!!

“Meow is like aloha – it can mean anything.” (Hank Ketchum)

His likeness to Garfield comes for the looks & his love for the nosh and Italian in particular – yes, including Lasagna; unfortunately he is not allowed to eat that anymore by the vet!

BUT I think that all this comes from his first foster mama, Heli, and then from his owner, Becki and I am just forced – HEHE – to mop up the bits & pieces of his cattitude. That is me theory and I am sticking with it, anyway.

Me alter ego with cattitude and moi say:

Rii xx –– and Simon lifts his paw in gratitude.


TRIVIA ON CATS:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
What is a cat’s favourite song? Three Blind Mice

What is a cat’s way of keeping law & order? Claw Enforcement

What is a cat’s favourite colour? Purrrrrrr-ple! (mine too)

What do you get when you cross an elephant with a cat? A big furry creature that purrs while it sits on your lap and squashes you.

How does the cat get its own way? With friendly purr-suasion.

Cats purr to communicate.

A cat cannot see directly under its nose. This is why the cat cannot seem to find tidbits on the floor.

Cats have AB blood groups just like people.

If your cat hides and then runs out and pounces on you, she is acting out her instinctive hunting ritual (Simon does that!)

In relation to body size, a cat’s eyes are bigger than most mammals.

CHILD MATTERS or Slavery in Modern Times


“Twice a year in Carrickmacross and surrounding towns a fair was held where men and girls rented their labour to well-to-do farmers for six months. It was Ireland’s version of the slave market.”
(Patrick Kavanagh ‘The Hired Boy’)


As you know by my blogs, that I do have varied interests in life and the living all the way from fashion, humour, blondes & photos, even frogs et funerals to anything in-between to the more serious matters of current affairs, politics and policies, so here is a more serious one on this Children’s Day in Finland. This is an updated entry of autumn 2006.

A Few Facts on the Child Labour/Slavery
:

  • Child labour is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. (World Bank Org.)
  • Children work the longest hours and are the worst paid of all labourers (The International Labour Office ILO in the World Bank Study Bequele and Boyden 1988).
  • Just 5 per cent of child labour worldwide is for the export industry. The rest is for local agriculture and domestic work in people’s homes. (The International Labour Organisation estimate)
  • One in eight children (179 million) around the world are involved in the worst forms of child labour – work which is hazardous to their physical, mental or moral well being. (The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimate. BBC article(old) estimate 246 million (from years ago).
  • In Africa one in three children have jobs.
  • There are an estimated 500,000 child soldiers worldwide.

CHILD LABOR: ISSUES, CAUSES AND INTERVENTION (World Bank Org.)

I did some research into the matter, so I decided to compile a few thoughts and facts on the same. First of all, it is not a new phenomenon but has been since time immemorial in almost every country in the world. We in the Western Europe do not have it blatantly into our face presently, but nevertheless it is there, as more and more of these children are smuggled into our towns and even into our neighbourhoods.

Secondly, as we see from the Facts above that I listed: only 5 per cent of the child labour is involved with the export business in the countries, the rest being in the domestic trades in their respective nations. This piece of news is most certainly ‘news’ to me for I have thought that the children would have been the main slave labour for producing export goods.

Anybody who has read/seen the films about the Dickens’ books like ‘Oliver Twist’ is acutely aware that the west has had their share of the children being treated as ‘nothing, nobody’ until the compulsory education, the child allowance and the general benevolence towards children became more of the norm. I am using that expression because as we know the child abuse is still rather widespread – but just in another way. The opening quote on this entry by Patrick Kavanagh was true to many other nations’ children in the times past, including Finland.
Even more facts:

  1. The International Labour Organization in 2005 estimated at least 2.4 million people have been trafficked.
  2. The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million children under 16 are trafficked worldwide each year. (Daily Telegraph article online 4.6.2006)


UNICEF CHILD LABOUR QUIZZ in this link.

Fired Up Blonde, Riihele xx


The solution to this problem lies in my mind:

1.)

With the LEADERS of these nations who have the power to change the circumstances of these children through the legislation via education to empower them. Also, the children’s allowance et cetera to make it worthwhile, so that the parents need not ‘sell’ or be forced to ‘hand over’ their children to this slavery. (It is the relatives in many cases who are forced to hand in the children as pawns for life because of debts accumulated.)
There is no excuse to say that there are no funds; I will not buy into that as other nations have done it with the means that they had at the time e.g. Finland from 1948 started to pay children’s allowance even though it was only three years after the wars while at the same time still paying both to Russia (reparation) and USA (loan) huge amounts of money and after losing tens of thousands of men in their best working age at the WWII.
2.)

The International Community at large through e.g. organizations* to implement pressure on the leadership in these nations to stop treating their young worse than cattle and give them life as a human beings fully participating in their own life and living.
( aka *ILO, World Bank, UNICEF et cetera)

I have already quoted articles by The World Bank, ILO – The International Labor Organisation et cetera – meaning: they know the problem and it is the high time to do something about it all instead just compiling more figures of the same!!

There are other things as the international business and manufacturing industry that many mentioned in the comments previously: yes shame and name them.

This will solve the other 5 per cent of the actual problem.

NOTICE:
Only 5 per cent of the children are made to work in the export trade. That means that the 95 per cent are not. (These figures by ILO = The International Labour Organisation).

Child Matters pun in the name is this that a CHILD DOES MATTER; and also ‘matters’ as in subjects, issues, items, topics, questions and things concerning children.

(My) Fashion Trendsetters: JACKIE O


Those of you who have been following my blogs know that I was/am rather lively of myself like jumping off moving trains, jumping off a ski jump and such things; in other words not so ladylike, eh?!! Well, let me tell you that, when I was in my early to mid-teens I started to collect pictures off the magazines with styles of fashions, clothes and so on for many years. Then in my late teens I went through my vast collection of pictures and put aside the ones which still appealed to me at that stage. And guess what, my preferred style in fashion was LADYLIKE!! I remember saying to my Mum: “Ooh if I only was older so that I could wear it!” Mum’s reaction: rolling her eyes, actually!

Audrey Hepburn has been one my trendsetters that I did an entry some while back and now I’m going to write a few things on Jackie O, who has been on my list of fashion trendsetters for a very long time, and I still think that her style is elegance and chic personified. Here is a link to Jackie O-style jacket that is high fashion even this season.

Some background on JACKIE O (1929-1994): She was born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, daughter of John Vernon Bouvier III and his wife, Janet Lee. Her early years were divided between New York City and East Hampton, Long Island, where she learned to ride almost as soon as she could walk. She was educated at the best of private schools; she wrote poems and stories, drew illustrations for them, and studied ballet.

To the role of First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy brought beauty, intelligence, and cultivated taste. Her interest in the arts, publicized by press and television, inspired an attention to culture never before evident at a national level. She devoted much time and study to making the White House a museum of American history and decorative arts as well as a family residence of elegance and charm. But she defined her major role as “to take care of the President” and added that “if you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” A quote of hers that I have used a lot on my entries, for I think that it sums it all up so very well, actually. Source: The White House: First Ladies

She was First Lady for only a thousand days, but Jackie Kennedy will always hold a special place in our hearts. It all began with her 1953 marriage to the dashing senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. As a couple they epitomized the arrival of a new generation of American leadership; their years in the White House have been immortalized as “Camelot.”

As First Lady, Jackie organized receptions and dinners notable for their elegance. Her streamlined gowns and suits sent fashion spinning. She created a Fine Arts Committee to assist her in documenting and renovating the décor of the White House. Her television tour introduced 80 million Americans to the White House and won her an Emmy Award. Source: Womenshistory.about.com.

From the moment she set off on the campaign trail in 1960 as a young senator’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy had a rapt audience in American women. The pillbox, worn despite the fact that she abhorred hats, was only the beginning: Plastic surgeons reported that many women were visiting them in search of the Jackie “nose bob”; college girls everywhere affected Jackie’s breathy voice and patrician accent: There was something about Jackie. Source: Style.com

To mark the 40th anniversary in 2001 of her emergence as America’s first lady and explore her enduring global influence on style, the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute celebrated Jacqueline Kennedy with an unprecedented special exhibition of her iconic fashions. Some 80 original costumes and accessories from the collection. Here are some images on show of her stunning outfits of the timeless impact of her extraordinary, unforgettable grace and style. Here is the link to the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. And here is the link to the special Travels section at the exhibition that Jackie travelled as the First Lady.

Jackie was a beautiful and elegant young woman, and when she made her social debut the Hearst newspaper gossip columnist named her Debutante of 1947. Jackie Kennedy was only 31 years old when she became First Lady . She was a popular First Lady, known for her elegant sophistication and her historical interest in the White House. Source: Answers.com

Jackie O was so very young when she became the First Lady for only a thousand days that is until her husband was assassinated in Dallas that fateful day in November 22, 1963. I remember reading about her and how she was cast into the mould of widow for life – like a German magazine put it, translated into English: ‘The Widow of the World’ (Das Witwe Der Welt) When she married Aristotle Onassis in 1968, the goodwill that she had gained over the years was nigh lost for good, and I think that she never quite managed to regain it ever again.

Here is a You Tube tribute to Jackie O with the most haunting Celtic tune sung by Enya in ‘May It Be’:

“I am a woman above everything else.”
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

And why she had to underline this fact, I think is, that she first and foremost was a real person and not an icon above any other title or status she had ever had in life.

What thoughts come to your mind reading this entry today?

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Further links on Jackie O:
Who2.com on Jackie

I read several extracts on the life of Jackie O online of the book that is called ’America’s Queen: A Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis,’ by Sarah Bradford, published by Viking (The Times online)

And I came to understand the ‘what was what’ in her life so much better. I will be getting this book for I want to read it all; it is that excellent. I have also read other books on Jackie O over the years but this one seems to sum them all up in a beautiful way, methinks.

ROTUNDA Hospital & Becoming Mother


Although there are many trial marriages… there is no such thing as a trial child. (Gail Sheehy)

Giving birth is compared to running a full marathon. Maybe, as I have never heard this before by anybody, but could it not be said that, the baby who is trying to be born also is running her/his own mini-marathon! I really do think that it is so. It does require so very much energy and stamina to bring it about for both the mother and the child. It was in the antenatal classes in Ireland that this fact about the marathon for the mother was told to us by our trainer, who was a midwife and a mother of six. Here is a link to the Baby University.com. Yes, there is such a thing! The baby with the mortar board on his head looks absolutely cute & clever.

The one thing that the newly-baked mama herself is in great need of more than nearly anything else is one’s own mum in fact. This is the time that she needs the most assurance and advice – that she is doing the right thing with this little totally helpless creature. Things like: what to do in times of crisis – yes, one needs one’s own mama more than any other time in one’s life! My Mum died very young, just three months before my first daughter was born, actually. My paternal Granny had died ten days before my mum, so there was a double funeral for them in Finland which I could not make because I had had the risk of miscarriage for the entire nine months and was not allowed to fly. Then the obstetrician gave me permission a week later after the funeral had been to fly over to Finland. The year after my Mom and Granny had died while I was expecting my second daughter, my younger brother was killed in a traffic accident in Finland which made it all so much tougher. I associate giving new life with death, in fact because of this.

I do not take having the girls in any way for granted because the ‘road’ to have them was paved with unbelievable obstacles all the way; even at the delivery there were never the guarantee that they and I would come out of it all in tact and alive! Not once. I gave birth to a dead baby and that ranks as the saddest of the saddest things that have happened to me, ever. I would have loved to have sons as well, but them I lost in miscarriages.

It is a funny as odd thing that one gets these repeated false labour alarms and then they reverse in the last minute and stop completely, but then when the real thing comes, it comes with a bang and there is no turning back. So when the birth got really going, I had to make my way to the Rotunda Hospital because the waters had broken – the oldest maternity hospital in the world for it was founded in 1745. Such an apt name for a maternity hospital, methinks. One goes in rather rotund and comes out lean. The delivery itself would not get going the right way so I was put into an annex in the hospital where there was a whole bunch of all the social classes in a jumbled mix and I was attached to a drip with hormone Oxytocin* – that is supposed to speed up the delivery. Sounds snobbish to talk about the ‘classes’ but it is so. Yes indeed, the class division system in Ireland is very well and alive, in every way: hospitals, housing, education – you name it!!

The mixture was a colourful circus as anything: the one mum that I do remember very clearly is this one who was just about to give birth – finally – and to be rolled into the delivery room, when her sister and mother came in with the ‘glinkety-glinkety’ sounding bags into the ward at the non-visiting hours of the day and said to the poor thing while giving a hefty slap on the back of her, even though she was already doubled-up with the sheer agony and pain:

“Have you produced anything yet? We came to celebrate!!”

She could not reply them at all. Don’t remember what the nurses said to them but out they eventually were ushered out by the staff.

When my agony finally came to an end after a day and a half – I said to himself straight after the delivery that:

‘Funny, that the music has just been put on?!’

‘Oh no’, said he, ‘it has been on the whole time!’

I had not heard a thing until the very end of the end! So – the music is not there to soothe the nerves of the mamas but the papas & the staff!

“Now the thing about having a baby –
and I can’t be the first person to have noticed this –
is that thereafter you have it.”

(Jean Kerr)

Tis for now. Riihele – in the reminiscing mode. xx

* the word ‘oxytocin’ is from the Greek word ‘oxutokia’ meaning ‘sudden delivery’ (as oxy- =sharpness and tokos = ‘childbirth’) Well, it sure caused the birthing to be sharp, don’t know so much about the ‘sudden’ as it was an age before the Baby finally popped out!!

Picture is off the net.

(Revised) MEMORIES of CHILDHOOD in LAPLAND


'Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.'
Oscar Wilde "The Importance of Being Earnest"

You might think that I come from the sticks or that I was born and grew up in the middle of nowhere but that is not the case at all, as there was quite an influx of travellers to Tornio Valley, Lapland, already in the 17th and 18th centuries of the Common Era. In 1736-1737, for example, came an expedition to Tornio Valley to determine the shape of the earth. The result of these measurements was that for the first time the maps of that time included the Arctic Circle! I have truly enjoyed being and interacting with persons of foreign extraction and generally with all things international all my life and no wonder as my family roots go to several nations as well. It came sort of naturally by the way the life was there in Tornio Valley being the border and frontier country. The Finnish television did not reach that far north that time, so all we could watch with clear reception was the Swedish television so that I am well used to watching television without the subtitles into Finnish and ‘hearing’ words in a language which has been an excellent aid in learning a whole lot of other foreign languages that I have done ever since.

Ylitornio, the place where I was born and where I grew up is also where The Arctic Circle goes right through the villages of Ylitornio, on the Finnish side of the Tornio River* and Övertorneå, on the Swedish side in Lapland. It is said to be the most peaceful border on the globe. This latitude also marks the southernmost parallel at which one can experience the Polar Day – when the sun does not set – another name for it is the Midnight Sun between the 15.6-7.7. In fact, the sun does not go-to-bed there for several weeks over the summer months. It is also hard for the humans to hit the sack, as it is simply too sunny right through the night to even feel tired. We had the perfect excuse for not having to go to bed early as we could say: ‘it is not dark yet!!’ The opposite time is The Polar Night that begins on September 23, at the autumnal equinox culminating on December 21, when the sun does not rise above the horizon for 24 hours – and it is dark all day. Talk about the TWILIGHT ZONE. During the Kaamos -the dark period- everything is in these fabulous shades of blues, pinks and lilacs. It is terribly picturesque altogether. I am quite certain, that you would have seen photographs of Lapland in these gorgeously soft pastel colours, even though it did not cross your mind at all, that they were taken during the Kaamos. It could be that the talent, for sleeping anywhere, anytime for me, comes from having lived in Lapland. Finland also is very bright all-over in the summer – not just Lapland. The only difference is that the sun does not set but stays above the horizon in Lapland and in Finland it eventually sets – maybe 2-3 am and then rises up nearly immediately back!!

Another astonishing thing were the Nordic Lights, the Aurora Borealis, which were very common and at their most stunning at this latitude; and, especially, when there were no street lighting to hinder the prime seat viewing of the same. These lights would be in massive thick sheets that covered the whole sky in all the rainbow colours and more or less 360 degrees – all around one. I think that is where my deep love for colours comes from, actually. Did you know that Aurora Borealis has a sound that is majestically loud and absolutely, thoroughly awesome, though not scaring? Is it not true that light is sound, and sound is light?!

In this border country where I grew up, as anywhere in a situation alike, a special, local culture, both Swedish and Finnish has emerged; yet it is somehow distinct from both. A majority of the residents speak Tornio Valley Finnish – Meänkieli – the native language and the bearer of the culture which is also my own first language. Culture, that is distinctive in religion, in the local cuisine with its eastern influences – spices used for example – even though it is on the western border to Sweden. The local population uses several languages, Swedish, Finnish, Saami and Meänkieli, ’Our Language’ – that is what the name means in English – is a language spoken in both Swedish and Finnish Tornio Valley. Living in the border region has given the people of the valley a characteristic mentality and a genuine pride – a deep awareness of who they are, rather than the ‘nose-up- in the air’ -variety. The local population is meant to be even more fanatical about hot-hot sauna baths than the rest of the Finns. Well, one must try, in any which way, to keep warm – somehow! The temperature difference between summer and winter is roughly 60ºC. Whopping or what?!!

The coldest temperature in Ylitornio that I have experienced in my entire life was all of -44ºC!! The first snow, in my childhood in Lapland, came in September and the snow was all gone by mid May! Each year there was a bet with great prizes for the person, who guessed the day and the hour when the ice would break in the Tornio River. I remember that the breaking ice made a terribly loud and powerful noise or sound that lasted for days and days until all the ice was driven by the strong currents to the sea. Just think about the length of the winter – my reaction to that was that it was insane and that I wanted to live in warmer climes. I was crying, because I was so frozen as I did not have any extra insulation on me, i.e. I did not have the layers of fat to pad me up. The siblings and those around me at the time thought, that it was rather invigorating with all that chill ‘n snow. Not me! To think of it, the snow was on the ground for best part of the year aka Sept/Oct – mid May!! INSANE.

I remember that the summers in Lapland were so cool that it did not get over 20 C degrees hardly ever at that time, yet we did so much swimming in there year after year and all other outdoor things. It must have been in order to keep from being chilly! We just kept moving and running like anything!! Then when finished with the playing, went indoors and we were drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate. Internal central-heating, eh? My childhood memories of the summers are full of fun, activities and playing games of all kinds.

There was a boy in my class, that I think am, almost 100 per cent sure was a Saami. He looked like one very clearly. Anyhow, he did mention me how many reindeer his family owned. (Years later somebody ‘offered’ a million camels for me; this Lapland chap did not name the number of reindeer he was ready to part for me hand!! I do kind of wonder that how many beasts he would have been ready to part with, actually. lol) That would be the same as saying publicly what one’s bank balance is. Later on in my life, as I pondered that boy and his tormenting of me with tacks and stuff on my seat and generally harassing me, was that he fancied me. It did not hit me at the time, for the eleven-year-old boy’s tokens for love are rather painful, so that one would not put them into the category of love in a hurry! Would you?! He would sit behind me every other month, a month, that is still in my memory as sore; that is, my behind was tender with those sharp objects he’d leave on my chair as I would plunk myself down without looking over and over again, and OUCH…!! Sore. He sure got me attention: I was ready to trounce ‘im every other month to pulp!!! Ladylike**, I know to say that. Heehe That must be where we get the saying ‘Love Hurts’. Sure! If you think that after all these years my first memory of him is still PAIN, SORE etc., – you can be sure that it was VERY PAINFUL. Why the lads just cannot say their affections to one with nice words instead of pulling one’s hair, causing pain with all sorts of imaginative ways and so on is beyond us girls? Any theories/explanations gratefully received.

When we moved down to the Southern Finland, our life in Lapland and in Tornio Valley came to a very sudden end: it is by far the most dramatic move of my life. It was HORRID to have to move away from there. Southern Finland at the time was very strange and more ‘closed’ as introverted than Lapland, where masses of tourist from all over the world came all the time, and also living by the border made people more interesting and whatnot. And I sure have moved a lot in my life; from country to country and from a place to another, at times, at break neck speed! This is the most dreadful change, the hardest breaking away and the most costly move in my entire life. No other move has come even close to what this one was.

What are Your Memories? Tis for now. Riihele xx.

* The Tornio River is 520 kilometres long – that is 324 miles – and in certain places 3 kilometres wide – that is 1.87 miles – one of the few rivers in Europe that is not harnessed for electricity.

**I looked like a small doll, but I hadn’t got the dolly way about me for I just loved climbing roofs/trees, playing football et cetera more than the girley stuff. I do have four siblings, so I wasn’t the only daughter. That photo is Ikkle Rii. Cute,eh?!!

Tourists always complain about the mosquitoes, but the thing with the mozzies is that they do not bother the locals as they will only tuck into the strangers. I never remember once being that much bothered by them in my childhood. They know the blood of a Finn in the south and the even more exotic blood of a foreigner is so much more juicy & tender than the Lapland people’s, I reckon…!!