Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome to my goodies cupboard.

My mum loves me very much. So much, in fact, that she went grocery shopping for my favourite delicious things and sent them to me in an express parcel. For the second time. It’s amazing how good you feel when people do things that show you they love you.

The more I travel the more I realise that life is all about people. China has been getting me down lately. Life in general just catches up to you sometimes. I don’t appreciate being reminded of my mortality. Or even of my morality.

So what to do?  I sat down and thought hard about my life. What made me who I am today. Where all these things in me came from. Why I flung myself to the other side of the world. Why my heart is so constantly catapulted back home at the slightest feathertouch of a memory. I thought of the best moments of my life so far. Really. Every single one featured someone I love. I was the changing variable. Family and friends were constant. Nothing mattered that wasn’t shared with someone else. Nothing was ever a waste so long as it was in good company.

I cannot think of a time when I wasn’t wholly reliant on these people. I am so sure I would be nothing without them. So sure. There is no doubt in my mind. Social media these days, in all its presence and glory, reminds me that the only thing between me and my loved ones is dirt and water.

I digress. I was talking about delicious snacks for a reason. I have found something incredible happens to me when I eat delicious things from home – I am, for an instant, transported back to a moment at home when I was last eating that vegemite crumpet/timtam/weetbix. This instant is more than a mental image though, it is almost as strong as a flashback or dream. I can feel the wooden chair underneath me, and the cool wet temperature, and the cotton pyjamas on my skin. I feel the comfort of being at my home, I feel that home feeling. It’s all there, so incredibly vivid, so packed with sensory information, and yet so quick.

It might sound crazy, but then I remembered the same thing happened when I smelled the smokey fireplace on the horse trek – I had that instant recall of the last winter I spent in Brisbane. My dog, my lounge room, my assuredness and my relaxation. They were all there. The carpet and the smell and the sound, too.  

So I started to think that this couldn’t be a coincidence, and I am not a psychic with special abilities. So I googled it. Naturally. At first I was just poking around articles about memory and dreams and recollection. I noticed a reoccurring theme though, and so started a new search of “scent and-” and before I could type any more, the suggestion was “scent and memory”. 

I know, fate, right? Google suggestions???

Anyways, I began to read a few of these links, like this one, and found that there is, in fact, an incredibly strong link between the olfactory (scent) part of the brain, and the memory part of the brain. Booyah! Turns out I’m not crazy at all. This is an actual thing. It explains a lot. Taste and smell are practically the same thing too, which is why all my snacks work such strong, nostalgic magic. Scent is even used these days to return memories to accident victims who have forgotten their lives.

My mother’s favourite perfume from when I was young, fresh Domino’s pizza from my brother’s house, dustiness from the squash courts I used to play at with my father. Fresh flowers take me back to the weekly farmer’s markets, grape lollies remind me of Hubba Bubba bubblegum all throughout primary school years, and dove soap makes me feel like I’m showering at home. Tasting the reed of my clarinet in my mouth reminds me of winning the concerto and holding a steel bobby pin between my lips while doing my hair whips me back to nights on the town with the girls. We all have these things.

There isn’t really a greater significance to this post, I just thought it was incredibly interesting. The brain is so insane! How does it do all this stuff? Insane in the membrane. Hahahahahaha.

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