I spent six months studying in Scotland when I was in college, and during that time I also visited England, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and Sweden. In all of those countries the denominations of paper money varied by size, and in Scotland and England, where I spent the most time, I got to know the currency so well that I could identify each bill by touch. I still folded different types of bills differently in my wallet to make it easier to keep track of them, but for the first time in my life, I could tell for myself what the bills were before folding them so I didn’t have to ask a sighted person for help.
It was so liberating not to have to ask cashiers which bills were which when they gave me change. Now that I’m back in the U.S. and I do have to ask again, it bothers me more than it ever did before. Now I know firsthand that it doesn’t have to be this way. That is why I am doing everything I can to work for the modernization of our currency in the U.S., so it can be as easy to use for all people, both blind and sighted, as the currency I used in Europe.