|How to make a two-year-old happy.|
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
My House the Mathnasium
We moved to Sweden just after Central Florida kids bemoaned the end of summer and started a new school year. This means that my last week at home was spent, by and large, removing tutoring advertisements hanging from my front door and dodging rowdy kids fresh off the afternoon school bus on my way to collect the mail. One of the more amusing (and persistent, arriving via the door and the mail box) advertisements we received was for Mathnasium. Apparently math can be fun AND make sense. While I’ve never struggled with math as a subject (I do have twelve credit hours of calculus tacked on to my English Language Arts Education degree) I can’t say I’ve ever classified it as fun either.
I find myself using math all too frequently here, an occurrence that I find both annoying and amusing. To date, I have no idea how much I’m paying for gas; Swedish Kroner per liter requires not only figuring out the current exchange rate, but also how many liters are in a gallon. Too much calculating for me, I’ll just wait for an unpleasant little surprise on my credit card statement. And cooking, which I used to find relaxing, now feels like a chemistry experiment. For starters, I didn’t even realize my liquid measuring cup had gradations in deciliters. And setting the oven is like a game of Russian roulette.
Oh, United States, I blame you for this. I understand that change is difficult, but if you had only tried a little harder back when Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 before giving up on your carefully planned decade-long transition, my personal transition to Sweden would have been so much simpler. If I had grown up in a world where temperatures were measured in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit, liquid volume in liters rather than cups, and weight in kilograms instead of pounds, I might actually be able to blend in as a European. The last time I had to think in metric was for my AP Physics class, a good eleven years ago. Now, I am left desperately grasping my cellphone, woefully reliant upon my ConvertPad app (a fantastic free Android app) just to figure out the temperature and how much cucumbers cost.
It’s not all bad though. I enjoy seeing my weight in kilograms (I see kilos, but think pounds) and my computer is courteous enough to display the week’s weather in Fahrenheit so I can plan accordingly. My attempts at estimation are getting faster and more accurate, so I’m actually spending only slightly more at the grocery store here than I did in the states. And I’m still really good at counting. Today Gracie and I counted at least thirty ducks in the pond, we got two cards in the mail, and I baked one plum cake.
And, for those of you counting along at home, we left Florida exactly one month ago. At this rate, I’ll be back to ounces, teaspoons, and miles per gallon before I know it!