jueves, 20 de junio de 2013

Weighing In

Every now and again, little, everyday common occurrences remind me how many things I've learned in the last few years.  Little things that I take for granted now that seemed so difficult a few years ago.  Little things, that--once I've got them down--make life so much easier. 

Take the metric system, for instance. 

Six years ago, when I was living in Toluca (where they sell tortillas by kilo, not package), I asked my tortilla lady for a quarter kilo of tortillas.  Mario ate at work, so I was just feeding myself at the time, and there are only so many tortillas I can go through before they go bad, right?  The tortilla lady gave me a funny look, and I got my quarter kilo of tortillas. 

Now that I am an expert at ordering deli meat, I realize that ordering any fraction of a kilo (beyond half) is pretty strange.  If I wanted a quarter kilo of tortillas, I should have asked for 200 grams or 300 grams.  Once I finally figured that I can ask for things in grams instead of awkward fractions, life got so much easier.  Or less awkward, at least. 

Another case in the same vein:  when my parents came to visit, Mario and my mom found themselves cooking in the kitchen together.  My mom was teaching Mario how to make something.  I don't know if she was halving a recipe or simply using quarter cup/third of a cup measuring cups, but Mario was all of a sudden turning into all thumbs in the kitchen (not usual, as he's a very good cook).  Furthermore, he's an engineer, so his math skills are quite strong, to put it mildly. 

It took me awhile to wonder why he was so thrown for a loop, and then it dawned on me--thanks to the metric system, most of the world hardly ever has to deal with fractions!  While he has to deal with the empirical system at work, he just isn't used to it at home, in the kitchen.  OK, let's face it--he's just not used to measuring things when he cooks.  (Never mind that measuring things is essentially what he does for 12 hours a day at work.) 

But enough on the oddities of my husband!

Want to know what really made me a convert to the metric system? 

My bathroom scale.  In kilos.  Oh, yes indeedy!  Knowing that there are 2.2 pounds to every kilo, the metric system works in our favor when weighing ourselves.  I'll always fondly remember the first time I stepped on my in-laws' bathroom scale.  Oh dear sweet heavens, I just lost HALF my body weight!!!  Instantly!  Effortlessly! 
Honestly, 10 years later, I still get a bit of a thrill. 

So, for those who want to learn the metric system this fall, I'll be happy to import metric bathroom scales to Texas, Arkansas, southern Illinois and Indiana this summer.  Just let me know.  It's pretty exciting.   

2 comentarios :

I'm the Mami dijo...

Now what makes you seem really like you belong here is when you start to ask for an amount of an item in pesos - because you know exactly how much it costs and how much "20 pesos of queso manchego rallado" is.

WhenI finally got that down I felt pretty cool LOL.

Jill dijo...

Or, what gets me is even when you have exact exchange rate figures (comparing 50 pesos to 6.5 dollars--more or less) and how those money amounts, even though they're supposed to be equal, aren't at all.

Is the amount of work that it takes to ear 6.5 dollars the same that it takes to make 50 pesos?

Not on your life.

Ooo--conversions are interesting!