This applied to me for the first 50 years of my life:
In Europe, in Asia and in the Middle East, we had Celsius, meters and kilos. Then…I moved to the U.S. It was a challenge, especially if you take into account I am a catastrophe with numbers.
- The first time I realized I’d better get used to the US customary system (slightly different from the imperial one), I was watching the weather report. Fahrenheit? No clue. I had an app on my phone to switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa. So that was fine. A year after moving here, I know that above 80 is hot, 70 is pleasant and 30 gets chilly.
- It got more complicated when I went to the supermarket and asked for fish. “How many ounces would you like? ” asked the fish guy.”For 4 people”, I replied, convinced I would outsmart him and therefore would not have to reveal I had no clue. “I usually recommend XXX ounces per person” he persevered. I finally gave up and admitted: “I don’t know ounces.” Blank stare. “I’m French.” Another blank stare. Le sigh. I took whatever quantity he recommended and the dinner was fabulous. I still don’t know how many ounces I should get. I have to find that app.
- Then I went to my first doctor’s visit and oh lucky day, the scale was out-of-order. The nurse asked me if I knew my weight. I did. I had checked online, kilo to pound and although the number was almost double, it didn’t matter, I had no cultural reference. I decided it was time to shave off a few pounds (which shocked my 23-year-old son to no end…why? what’s wrong? Those millennials can be so judgmental..tss). But I agree it wasn’t smart as I have to make sure now I am the same weight for my next yearly physical. A year to go, I’m fine. Or am I?
- My husband and I went for lunch last saturday to this cute pizza place on third avenue. We asked the waitress if the pizzas were to share or for one person. She replied they were 11 inches. Help! We started laughing, explaining the whole thing again, she laughed with us and brought a delicious quattro formaggi pizza big enough for 2. Note to self: decent size pizza: 11 inches.
Now, I believe one has to adapt to the rules of one’s host country and I will make an effort with the weather, the fish, my weight and the size of pizza…but I couldn’t help sharing this picture:
The countries using the imperial (or similar) system are the US, Liberia and Myanmar.