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I think I've been in Europe too long. Just now, I changed the default settings on my weather page to Celsius. Good lord! And it's not like the numbers in Fahrenheit don't mean anything's just I'm so used to shivering when it's 10 degrees and boiling when it's 30 that 50 and 86 just don't compute quite as quickly as they used to.

I still measure things in my head in inches and have no real mental spatial relationship to the metric system at all. I routinely ask people at work to show me with their fingers how much a certain amount of centimeters is, so that I can grasp the distance in inches, even though the layouts I work with are almost exclusively measured in millimeters. I still cook mostly with imperial measures and have an instinctive knowledge of how much a cup or a teaspoon or a pound is, even though I often follow recipes that call for deciliters and grams. In our home we have 2 sets of measuring spoons and cups, one from the US—mine from B.A. (Before Anders) and his from B.L. (Before Lizardek)—and funnily enough, both of them show measures in both imperial and metric.

And it's only now, 12.5 years after I arrived, that I am not so frequently asking my husband how much something costs in "real" money. This always made him roll his eyes:

Liz: Honey, this (insert item) is 300 kronor. How much is that?
Anders: *patiently* It's 300 kronor.
Liz: Yes, but how much is it REALLY?
Anders: *sigh*

For years, the Swedish krona was the equivalent of Monopoly money to me, and the only way I could estimate something's real value was to have it converted to dollars.

I suspect most of the problem has to do with my math issues. Conversions require a math ability that I simply seem to lack. If I stick ONLY to imperial or Fahrenheit or ONLY to metric or Celsius, I'm fine. But trying to go back and forth between the two (especially with regards to money where the conversion amount changes daily) makes my brain freeze up.

Europeans put a line through the numbers 7 and 0 when they write them. In the case of the 7 it's to differentiate it from the written 1, which often looks like a 7 the way an American would write it, so if there wasn't a little crossbar, both the numbers would look pretty much the same. In the case of the number 0 (zero) it's to differentiate it from a capital letter O (Oh). That's what I've been told, anyway. When we lived in Europe when I was a teenager I began to do it, too. Then we moved back to the States and I slowly stopped doing it. Now it's ingrained again and I always cross my 7's and 0's, even though you could tell the difference between a 1 and a 7 anyway if I wrote them for you.

And another thing! The kids and I routinely pronounce things we say the way they would be pronounced if they were in the other language. Martin will say things in English, but he'll pronounce them as if they were Swedish. I do it back to him with Swedish words and phrases, pronouncing them as if they were in English. General hilarity abounds. Unfortunately, I can't really give you any examples here, because, well, they look the same when written, basically, and also, because you kind of have to be there. It also helps if you a) speak both English and Swedish, and b) have our sense of humor, because that shit cracks us right up.

Something else that cracks us (and by "us" I mostly mean "me") right up: this joke!

Liz: What is brown and sticky?
Martin: Poo?
Liz: A STICK! hahahahaha!!!! GET IT!?
Martin: *rolls eyes, proceeds to ignore me*

A few minutes later
Liz: Hey! What is brown and sticky?
Karin: Poo?
Liz: A STICK! hahahahaha!!!! GET IT!?
Karin: *rolls eyes, proceeds to ignore me*

Some time after that, as Martin & I are in the garage telling Anders we're going for a walk
Liz: Ask him that joke!
Martin: YOU ask him.
Liz: What's brown and sticky?
Anders: *gives me a look*
Liz: A STICK! hahahahaha!!!! GET IT!?
Martin: *commiserates silently with his father*

While walking
Liz: *laughs for 10 straight minutes because both kids answered "poo"*

I swear if you'd been here, you'd have been laughing too!
mood: silly
music: The Monkees—I'm A Believer


I can't convert between metric and Imperial, but I know what each of them is, if you understand that kind of convoluted sentence.

At the moment, I'm having one hell of a time because even at the very best of times (which this is not), I am no good at maths, but right now with the dive trip coming up, I'm going between £ sterling, euros and Swedish kronor, because we booked the trip with a Swedish company but I paid for it on my British £ card and then the diving part is in euros, so we're going back to sek since YS is paying for that, but I'm having to figure out my bit in £££. I'm dizzy.

I don't blame you! I would be too!


I so empathise with the maths thing! NOT my thing either. However for a maths idiot like me, the metric system and centigrades make a whole lot more sense. It's at least "logical". (But logic is really not my thing either!) LOL!

"Europeans put a line through the numbers 7 and 0 when they write them."

We do?? Yes, I agree with 7, but 0?? I never put a line through that...


Maybe it's just the engineers! :D

Yes, electrical engineers have a tradition of crossing the zeros. I don't know if the letter O appears that often in schematics except in the Ohm unit to measure resistance, but I suppose they want to eliminate any risk of confusion. My first computers (yours too, it seems - remember the Commodore 64) also had a diagonal line through the 0, which probably was inherited from engineering tradition. However since those computers were designed in the USA, I would think it is an universal use.

I learned to write 7 without a line, but somewhere in my early teens I began to add it. Nowadays however, it is recommended to leave the 7 "uncrossed" in hand written forms because the computers programmed to automatically reading it are not programmed to handle it.

On the topic of currency, I believe a lot of people within the EMU still are mentally converting back to their old currencies. E.g. how many D-Mark is 50 Euros, how many Lires, Pesetas, Franc and so on. It has only been in use for 7.5 years now.

The Monkees!!?? *teehee*

We might be obsessed now. I think I have to hunt down a "best of" collection and also the TV series on DVD. :D

From Megsie

I love jokes...I am totally going to use that one. Here is my favorite: Why don't Cannibals eat Clowns? ....Because they taste funny! never gets old....

PS. I love the Monkees too.

Re: From Megsie

:) That's MY favorite joke, too! It's been my favorite for years! My kids are SO SICK OF IT! hahahaaa!


I still can't get the metric volume or the temperature measures - I do okay with money and linear centimeters and meters, but when I drive to Canada and have to fill up the tank - I have no idea how much I'm spending, because well face it, litres to gallons and then Canadian to US dollars, it's too much for my brain to handle.


If I remember correctly, and there's no guarantee that I do, it's approximately 4 liters to the gallon. But that's all I can manage. :D

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lizardek's obiter photos
lizardek's obiter photos

Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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