Home > Germany, Personal > Dr. StrangeCelsius or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kilogram

Dr. StrangeCelsius or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kilogram

It’s -5 degrees out. Now when I hear that temperature, my first thought is to wonder when the glaciers will get here, but then the penny drops. In Celsius, -5 isn’t immediate frostbite weather, its mid-20’s Fahrenheit. While that’s cold, it’s certainly not wooly mammoth territory. But temperature conversion isn’t the only tricky adaptation I’ve had to make. The metric system for weights and distance and everything else takes some getting used to for a staunch mile/pound thinker like me. For short-term trips I was fine with doing approximate conversions in my head but staying here long-term, I’ve decided to do my best to think in kilograms and meters. The bag of noodles is a kilogram, there’s two kilometers between my apartment and work, a liter of water costs 1.29 Euros. The hard part is to not do automatic calculations in my head when I see a distance or weight but just to accept the metric term. So far I’ve had limited success but I’ve only just begun. Perhaps by the time I’m done I’ll be able to slide over sentences like “I had to walk half a kilometer with a 10 kilogram bag in my hand and now its 25 degrees and I’ve sweated 2 liters in half an hour.” I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to think of Euros as real though, they just look too much like Monopoly money.

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Categories: Germany, Personal
  1. Cassandra
    January 29, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Welcome to my world 🙂 First things first, learn how to spell litre. “Liter” is the american way. I struggled soooo much when I first moved to the US trying to figure out how far a mile is. I still don’t really get it. Hope you are handling the cold okay!

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