Saturday, July 18, 2015

METRIC BLUES

A great day for a walk on the beach in winter!
I have a confession...
I don't understand the metric system!

In fact, to be quite honest, I have absolutely no idea what so ever how the metric system works! Okay, I'll pause right here to give you time to quit laughing...

...still waiting.

...are you finished, yet?

Oh why, oh why didn't I pay more attention to our intensive, "week-long" instruction on the metric system in high school math?! I can still remember breathing a great sigh of relief when we moved past it. After all...who needs to study metric, anyway?! It's not like we'd actually use it!

Math was actually my favorite subject, believe it or not, and I always earned good grades in it. I even went on to graduate from college with a BS in Accounting having taken Calculus and Math Analysis (a very difficult class), getting A's and B's in both of them! In spite of my love for math, I draw a complete blank when discussing the metric system. 

Living in the U.S., it really doesn't matter if you understand metric because most of us don't have a clue about it. So you see, I fit right in! In fact, if you ask the average American about kilometers or grams they will look back at you with a blank stare! (Cue the sound of crickets!) The thing is, Americans understand each other when we discuss inches, yards, miles, gallons, pounds and Fahrenheit, even though it's like a foreign language to the rest of the world!

Non-metric countries are in pink
But now...I live in Australia and, much to my dismay, have joined the metric world! In fact, since becoming an expat, I have come to the grim reality that most of the world is metric except three...yes, that's right...THREE countries! The only remaining non-metric countries in the world are the United States, Liberia, and Burma! Jealous yet? Isn't that an enviable list you wish you could join?

I still remember my husband explaining to me, "You do realize that the whole world is metric except the U.S.?" To which I replied, "Really???" I was shocked!

Is it possible that Americans live in a bubble like the rest of the world thinks we do? Maybe so. But in our defense, we don't realize it. I guess we have the impression that everyone lives like we do. Think about it...if all you have to compare with is what's around you, then you just assume that what you experience is the same for everyone else.

Well, no matter what the reason, I have been in a metric blues state of mind since moving to Australia. I purchase my gas...er...I mean "petrol" in liters...I mean "litres"! In the local supermarket I have to convert the price of tomatoes from kilograms into pounds to figure out if it's a good price. I drive my car in kilometers per hour, instead of miles per hour. And don't get me started on understanding the temperature outside!

My poor husband! I don't think he realized he was marrying a metric-challenged wife! I guess instead of asking me, "Will you marry me?", he should have asked, "Do you know metric?" At least then, he would have known what he was in for!











 



6 comments:

  1. I can understand your confusion and I'm an Aussie. I did spend the first 7 years of my schooling learning the imperial system, then just as I am about to go to high school they bring in the metric system. I still think imperial for some things like miles, feet and inches but Metric for others. I love my converter! You'll get used to it, eventually it will make sense - good luck :)

    I always get a good laugh reading your blog Dayna, it's fun to hear about Australia from another countries point of view.

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  2. So funny - we got mixed up with the systems when we were giving our children medicine and that's how we lost little Tommy, God rest his soul - so get your metirc right for your kids sake.

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  3. '...But now...I live in Australia ...' Oops! We spent 12 years in Port Macquarie (the l o n g e s t 12 years of our lives)! Our condolences. As a 'Yank Down Unda', the metrics were the least of our problems! No tamales,No 'National Football League', no 'Hershey's', no Lincoln Town Cars & no Thanksgiving seemed to be much more problematic! Sad to hear about little Tommy!

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  4. I think the metric system is hard too! If you are ever in need of some advice, be sure to drop a visit on my blog,

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    If you think my advice is good, be sure to recommend my blog to others!

    Thank you!

    ~Melody

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  5. sad to hear this spam in the context of this forum

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  6. This is my 2nd month in Oz having moved from NorCal. Thank goodness for technology and being able to do conversions on your cell... I mean mobile. :)

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