Cup of Norwegian Humilitea?
Posted on February 23, 2011
Since hopping the pond six years ago, I find myself wandering around listening to a plethora of voices inside my head. One in particular belongs to Mrs. Foy, my 4th grade math teacher who once said, `Someday your entire world will be metric.´ And she was right.
Her comment reverberates off the boundaries of my brain as I find myself following speed limits in kilometers per hour, and my car tells me how many liters of diesel I have remaining, in Swedish. I purchase my children´s clothing according to how tall they are in centimeters and get funny looks when I am unsure how much they weigh in kilograms. I once shared a cake recipe with a friend that found it puzzling that her oven does not go as high as 350 degrees. Problem resolved when I admitted I forgot to convert the temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius.
I am a human measuring device. I can walk off a room and give a very close estimate of the square footage. This is useful when you purchase rugs for a living. My hand spread is nine inches, and my forearm is fifteen inches from elbow to fingertips. Also handy in estimating furniture size, fabric amounts, and other pertinent calculations an interior designer must provide. But now I am lost. I look confused and am often embarrassed.
Oh, I know all of the conversions and can do the math, but it is not ingrained on my brain and does not come automatically the way it did in my former world of imperial units.
And the voices in my head are making me mad as a hatter!
I pay attention though, and try to be a quick study. Food for example is priced by the kilogram, and I have noticed people in the grocery stores buy meat, coffee, etc. by the kilo.
So, imagine my surprise the day I walked to our local gourmet coffee/tea shop searching for a lovely blend of herbal tea.
Lady behind the counter: May I help you?
Me: Yes. I would like a kilo of Chai tea please.
Lady behind the counter: A Kilo?
Me (smiling confidently): Yes please.
She left the counter and went into the back room, leading me to believe all the bags on display are for decor purposes only. She returned with a giant glass container marked Chai Tea and began scooping. Upon filling one bag, she reached for another. This is where I began to clue in that it takes a lot more tea to make a kilo than coffee. Something that should have been obvious, but I simply didn´t think about it. Dream Baby often wonders if I checked my brain at the boarder.
Anyway, when she reached for the third bag I asked, How much is that?
Lady behind the counter: A hecto
Me (with decimals moving in my head): You know what? I think that will do.
I couldn´t help but giggle at myself as I walked home with my hecto of tea, imagining the tea parties my mental friends and I can look forward to.