Metric vs. Imperial? Both. It’s the Canadian way.

“So how tall are you?”

This is a question I’ve been asked a couple of times since I’ve been here in Holland. Not because I’m extraordinarily tall here, like I am at home (the Dutch are among the tallest in the world). But sometimes the question comes up in general conversation. As always, I announce my reply in feet and inches. The only way I know how.

<insert blank stare>

The Europeans run on the metric system. Which is fine, since, technically, so do Canadians. Except for some exceptions.

I have realized it’s like we’re caught somewhere in the no-man’s-land between the American way and the British way. We use a little metric and a little imperial. Here and there. For certain things. And this confuses everyone.

I never really noticed this until I got here. For example:

Imperial:
I can tell you my height only in feet and inches
I can tell you my weight only in pounds
I can cook in an oven using only degrees Fahrenheit

Metric:
I can only measure distance in Kilometres
I can tell you the volume of liquid in milk carton only in litres
I can only figure out the temperature outside in degrees Celsius

This, admittedly, is pretty ridiculous.

I just read this article today, and I think it does a great job of explaining this phenomenon!

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