Some people do not deal well with discomfort in the natural elements; in fact, many Americans choose not to deal with it, enjoying the comfort of choosing their climate. I am one of those Americans, and even though I enjoy a nice day outdoors, the idea of “sucking it up” or “toughing it out” does not register with me when it comes to temperature. That’s not to say that I avoid being outside, however; I’ve learned the tricks of the trade: leg warmers in Chicago’s winters, boots to avoid cold feet in the snow, and I’ve even been known to don a full-sized, Paddington Bear-like poncho. These skills take time to develop, and involve a delicate assessment of chances for precipitation, sunshine/cloudiness, and temperature. Primarily temperature, in fact. And when you are used to Fahrenheit and that temperature is in another measuring system, namely Celsius, your skill level may be rendered obsolete.
Celsius: 40 degrees is how hot?
Although many of us grow up with Fahrenheit, an increasingly global world has resulted in a forced acknowledgement of the other temperature measurement system…Celsius. There are some who this change smoothly and impressively well; and then there are some who stare blankly at the Italian weather report during their time in Italy, hoping to find some sort of hint as to the actual temperature somewhere between the two digit number and its dreaded sequential “C”. I fall into the latter category. On a recent trip to Sicily in August, I was warned: It’s going to be at least 42 degrees every day. Prepare yourself! I’m not so naïve that I didn’t know it was summer, but I did bring light scarves and jackets just in case 42 meant chilly at night. Long story short, 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit) is not scarf weather. It’s wear as few clothes as is considered decent in order to prevent completely melting into nothing weather. After mourning for the lost luggage space, I became determined to learn from this experience and began researching my options.
Survival of the Most Prepared: It’s as Easy as Simple Math
My results revealed that it’s easier than I thought. To let you all in on a little secret (that apparently all Italians already know), Celsius to Fahrenheit is a matter of simple algebra. Fahrenheit is officially Celsius x 1.8 + 32, but to make it easier you can just multiply by 2 and add 32, taking away a degree or two. It’s not perfect, but will at least give you a ballpark number from which you can begin planning your Italian wardrobe, saving unnecessary packing headaches and confusing squints at Italian newspapers. As for me, I can’t wait to show off my skills during my next trip in Italy and I’ve already got plans for that extra corner of my suitcase.
Have you ever had an experience where you are caught unprepared in the world of Celsius? Tell us about it!