Notes from Quarantine – Part 6 – Scent(s)

Dear Readers,

It is all about #Scents today.

In times like these, the natural response of body and mind would be to crawl under a blanket and hide. Another natural response would be to seek familiar comforts – “home” – an all-encompassing meaning of the word.

Home for me means a lot of things: sounds, sights, emotions, memories and scents.

Once I started to write this post the first scents that came to mind were the ones I remember from early childhood.

Smell of freshly-baked bread from the bakery across the road.

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Smell of cold Baltic sea in June when I did everything possible to get my grandmother to take me to the beach after work. The water was freezing cold. The sand was hard and wet. But the scent of the cold salty water is in my blood.

Yes, I’ve been to a lot of beaches, different seas and oceans. But Baltic smells home.

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Every time I visit a place where I can find chestnut trees and chestnut trees in blossom, I say ‘smells like home’.

I was lucky enough to visit Christchurch NZ after their horrible earthquake. But it was end of spring. Everything was blossoming. Everything was regenerating. The university grounds were full of chestnut trees. Yes, it smelt like home.

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I was born and raised in Riga Latvia. If you know anything about Riga, you’d know tha it can be described in many words. But some of the most important and meaningful would be ‘smell of coffee and chocolate’.

Cafe culture in the USSR was practically non-existent. However, Baltic states were exclusions. Coffee, cafes, cakes, pastries, chocolates, chats, dates in Riga are all about hundreds of cafes across the town. Some of the cafes were and still are located in medieval buildings. How can you possibly not get addicted to coffee and chocolate from a very early age.

My mum was quite young when she had me. Having married my dad she relocated from Moscow to Riga. She was very new to the ‘western’ city. She was pregnant. And she was aching coffee all the time. One can not walk a hundred metres in Riga without stumbling on a cafe. And the smell of coffee was magic.

It still is.

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And the last but definitely not the least, is the scent of good, rich chocolate.

It is all about childhood memories, presents and surprises. It is all about growing up in cities where chocolate was considered currency and every-day necessity.

I am a chocolate-spoiled child.

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These days I find comfort in memories and in hopes that one day, when restrictions will be lifted, I will be able to travel and to find the ‘scents of home and comfort’…

Stay safe and stay sane

3 thoughts on “Notes from Quarantine – Part 6 – Scent(s)

  1. Every city has a unique smell. A traveller can pick up the smell with the first waft on the tip of his nose. The smell resides in the people who live and litter the city, in the snaking alleys that unfold a mystery at every bend, in the ghettos that awes and shocks with their shades of grey, in the bricks and stones that bask in their past and in everything that stand a witness to making and unmakimg of a million dreams. But rarely one stumbles upon such a wonderful narrative filled with metaphors. It was a piece to remember and revert, time and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smell of the city – I need to ponder on this… I know there is a phenomenon where person sees in colours. I think there just might be a phenomenon where cities can be identified by their smells… or at least suburbs… I can imagine Old City in Prague, Riga and London would smell similar…

      Liked by 1 person

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