Thursday, June 02, 2016


The unit conversion cells in my brain have never been more active until I moved to Deutschland. There are some I never adopted in the US in the first place, so it feels comforting to revert after all these years. For example, I always understood weather or temperature in Celsius and not Fahrenheit. So when you say that 32 is a cold day and 85 is a hot day, it does not make any sense to me. For me, 0 means cold and 100 means hot. The weather channel is always set to degree C. And although I weigh things in pounds at the grocery store, I always weigh myself in kilograms because that made more sense to me. 60 was great, 100 was fatal, and anything in between was a work in progress in either direction. Weighing babies or milk in ounces confuse me even more. 

Then, there are new things I learnt in the US, like driving. So buying gas in gallons, measuring distance in miles, or speed in miles/hour makes so much more sense to me. I just had to see the number 60 to know that I was fine, or 80 to know that I should really slow down. Now, the autobahn sometimes specifies a speed of 120 (km/hour). If I did not know the unit, it would freak me out. I am relearning what it means to measure distance in kilometers or area of rooms in square meters (and not square feet). After many years, I am buying milk in liters. And weighing vegetables in kilograms. 

The mm/dd/yy has gone back to dd/mm/yy, but I see that after the first few years of instinctively writing dd/mm in the US, I am now instinctively writing mm/dd in Germany. Earlier, I was converting USD to INR and back, but now, it is a mishmash of USD to Euro, Euro to INR, INR to USD, and what not. 

And time. Here in Germany, I have meetings at 14:30, dinner at 18:30, drink coffee at 16:30, and go to bed at 21:30. There is no concept of am and pm. Even the computers show the time from a scale of 00 to 24 hours. This is something very new to me. 


1 comment:

AJ said...

Keeps you alert all the time! In every country or time zone you are in.