Saturday, July 18, 2015


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 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!