Today, January 1st, 2002, the currency is changing in my country as well as in other european countries. One euro equates 6.55957 units of French francs (my currency until yesterday), so I could convert a price from euros to francs by adding 50% and dividing by 10, but it would be boring. Besides, I don't want to continue converting the prices in my head for the next 40 years, as my parents do since 1960 (the value of the French franc was multiplied by 100 that year). And, above all, I would be ashamed to use an electronic convertor.

So I decided I would not do the conversion. Instead, as soon as I wake up (I am still sleeping right now), I will learn the approximate prices of a few products by heart, and I will use these prices as references for the price of every product I buy. I expect euro to become natural in a few weeks with this method. Here is my list. Yours may be slightly different.

What                   | How much before   |     How much now 
bread                  |         4.50 F    |            0.70 € 
newspaper              |         7 F       |            1.10 €
cinema                 |        50 F       |            7.60 €
shirt                  |       250 F       |           38 €
1-month rent           |      4100 F       |          625 €
Plane ticket to Tokyo  |      5000 F       |          760 €
50 m2 apartment        | 1,000,000 F       |      150,000 €
fresh air              |         0 F       |            0 €

Everything will be much cheaper, except fresh air.

In case you hadn't noticed, this writeup was written several months before the real January 1st. Now it's the real January 1st, and that's it. I have euro coins, I took a few euro banknotes in an ATM at 1 a.m. What does it change? Well, nothing until I stop typing and go out to buy things.

But I still thing it is a great thing. When you know how many wars devastated Europe over the centuries, when you consider that two world wars started here, when you think about how proud of its history each and every of our countries are, you must acknowledge that few things in history can be compared to this move to a common currency. Everybody say that our politicians are shallow, corrupt and without ambition. I think they have done something remarkable in the last 40 years.