Skip to main content

Childhood smells

A friend recently posted a status update on fb sharing about how the smell washing her cast iron pan suddenly evoked strong memories of her mum washing her old wok in the kitchen.

Studies have shown that smells have a strangely strong link to memories from our distant past… more so than sight and sound.

It got me thinking about what familiar smells I sometimes come across that immediately transport me back to a specific place or time from my childhood.

Here are five which I randomly thought of…

1. The smell of chlorine – this is one of the most distinct childhood-memory-evoking smells I have. Even just thinking about the smell of chlorine now brings up a mental image of my brothers and I splashing around in the pool a the club, followed by the scent of pisang goreng… for me the smell of chlorine is always inevitably linked to the scent of pisang goreng.

2. The smell of burning joss sticks – whenever I catch a whiff of joss sticks, I always think of my grandmother’s house in Sri Gading/Batu Pahat and memories of Chinese New Year festivities spent there with truckloads of cousins, aunties and uncles all squished around the tables at the reunion dinner.

3. The smell of freshly cut grass – no matter where I am, the smell always makes me think of those masked men wielding whipper-snippers trimming down all the overgrown lalang around the neighbourhood where I grew up. Somehow it always made me happy to see those tangle of weeds chopped down so we can run freely through the field to play without fear of getting itchy legs.

4. The smell of new notes – makes me think of bright red ang pows and Chinese New Year celebrations. There is just an air about the fresh crisp smell of new notes that feels so festive to me.

5. The smell of old books – the musty smell of books immediately makes me picture the old Sabah State Library… and walking through those dim corridors lined to the ceiling with books. The whole place had a certain ‘booky’ smell which makes me recall the many happy excursions there, trawling through dusty shelves and checking out another supply of books for the coming week.

I think these smells are just a few of the ones that are distinct on their own. However there are so many other smells which are just inexplicably linked to specific people and places which are impossible to encapsulate in an object. I close my eyes, think of those familiar places and breath in those smells in my mind. Places like the old Sunday School hall, my school, my home, even homes of friends I have sleepovers at… I remember and remember and just let the waves of nostalgia flood over me.

Comments

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love reading every single one of them! Although I may not be able to reply to each comment, I will definitely pop over to your blog to say hello.

I love hearing from readers and fellow bloggers alike. If you're a little shy or would like to get in touch with me directly, drop me an email at serenely@outlook.com

Popular posts from this blog

An impossible cake

Every now and then, mamas  crave for something sinful and sweet… preferably with a touch of chocolate. Running after a toddler and breastfeeding a baby is really hungry work. I’m not really the sort of person who has their fridge and pantry stocked up with junk food and sweets. But I usually have all the basic ingredients on hand to whip up an indulgent treat when the craving hits.One evening I found myself longing for a bite of some chocolate cake… however being the end of the week, I was out of some core ingredients. Butter. Eggs. Milk. All necessary elements required to make a decent cake. Or so I thought.Then I found this impossible recipe. A cake with no butter, eggs and milk. They’re calling it Crazy Cake. Because you have to be crazy NOT to try it.It’s soooo easy to make, no creaming butter and sugar or electric mixers required. Apparently it can even be mixed together straight in the baking pan, no bowls necessary.Crazy CakeIngredients
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp. cocoa
1 cup…

How I use traditional muslin cloths as nappies

This post is for the benefit of my friend Stephanie who has recently made the decision to take the plunge into cloth diapering. She bought a few pieces of MCNs and is expecting a package of two dozen muslin flats. Although I've collected a good stash of modern cloth diapers, muslin flats still form a key part of my cloth diapering system. When I first started using this, I was a little dubious about the absorption power of this seemingly flimsy material. But it’s quite surprising how well it performs… and for such a small cost (sometimes free as these are commonly received as a gift from loving friends/relatives) it’s by far the most economical way to diaper a baby. The first fold I used was the traditional Chinese or Origami fold:

Unfortunately for me, I found that it didn’t hold up very well as my son is a rather heavy wetter and I had yet to discover the use of nappy covers. My other complaint about this fold is that the fold is not really concentrated around the main wetting area.…

Homemade Snowskin Mooncakes

It’s mooncake festival this month. Stores have started selling mooncakes since early August and we’ve succumbed to buying one or two cakes when we were out shopping.This year I decided to venture to make my own mooncakes. After some research and scouting various recipes, I settled on making snowskin mooncakes. Mainly because I like them and they are rather hard to find in Perth… and because the recipe is actually a bit easier than the conventional baked version.I found this recipe on fatboo.com to be the best one as it had detailed photos explaining the various ingredients and process.Here is my version of the recipe…For the homemade filling, I made three different types: red bean, black sesame, and a nutella flavoured one. All the filings start with a base of red bean paste.First step is to prepare the red bean paste: Soak 1kg of red azuki beans in water overnight.Image from wikipediaThe next day, transfer the beans into a pot, cover with water and cook until beans are soft. I used m…

7 things I miss about babywearing + {giveaway}

Last Sunday we headed out on one of our favourite weekend activities: flea market shopping! I just love exploring these markets and get a real kick out of finding great bargains and treasures from other people’s junk. We set off bright and early that morning so we could catch all the good bargains. It was only after we arrived there that we realised that we had forgotten to bring Nathan’s stroller! So we ended up taking turns carrying him and letting him toddle around a bit whenever we stopped at a stall.The weather was getting pretty hot and Nathan was starting to get tired. Thankfully I keep a spare pouch sling in the car, so we got it out and I slung Nathan on against my hip so we could continue exploring the market.The sling certainly made the job of carrying him a little easier. Still, carrying a 12kg toddler is no walk in the park. But as he leaned his tired head against my shoulder and snuggled against me to get more comfortable, it brought back memories of my babywearing days

Jumperoo review is out

For while now I’ve been contemplating getting a activity centre or a doorway jumper for my son who’s now into his 9th month. He’s been getting increasingly active as the days go by with an insane amount of energy to burn.

I considered getting a walker or doorway jumper, but was concerned over safety issues with such items highlighted in Choice magazine’s list of Ten Things Not to Buy Your Kids. Hence stationary activity centres appear to be the safer alternative for what I was after.

So when Fisher-Price gave me the opportunity to review their Luv U Zoo Jumperoo, I was thrilled. My official review has been published on the Bub Hub Reviews section which you can check out here or read below:Jumperoo - the perfect hybrid between activity centres and baby jumpersI was impressed that the Jumperoo was not just a static activity centre, but doubled up as a baby jumper as well, which is a safer option to doorway jumpers. It’s the perfect hybrid solution between activity centres and baby jumpers…