Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scent-Induced Memories

This morning, before going for a run, I put on sunscreen for the first time this season. (Despite being blonde and fair-skinned, I don't wear sunscreen anywhere near the frequency that I should.) As I squeezed the sunscreen into my hand, the smell aroused some powerful memories. Immediately I was transported to my suite in Cuba, a fun day at Sylvan Lake, my summer camp counselling days and sitting by the pool in Phoenix working on my leadership presentation over Reading Week.

It's amazing how our memory filter works. I love that when looking back on life, it's the good memories that stick. Every adventure has its ups and downs. But looking back in time, it's only the ups that we really remember. We might, if prompted, remember the challenges, but the weight of those challenges, however insurmountable they have have seemed at the time, is diminished by the fun memories and victories we achieved. I suppose the lesson in that is to endure the challenges and the hard times if they lead to good things. It's so cliche to say that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger," but I think it's even more important to realize that anything good is going to come with challenges, and if the "good thing" is worthwhile, putting up with the challenges is, too.

This was crossing my mind as I thought about my upcoming road trip with my sisters. We've been on a few road trips together. Since our family drove for almost all our family vacations, the three of us are well-conditioned to travelling together. I know that in our travels, we have absolutely fought and argued and gotten mad at each other. But I don't remember any of those specific incidents. What sticks in my mind is the fun adventures that we've had, being silly together ("I noticed you're not wearing any galoshes"), talking about whatever meaningful conversation comes up, playing stupid car games, pulling over to the side of the road to take completely random pictures and doing "chinese fire drills"* to switch drivers when one of us would get tired.

Well, this post has really migrated away from what I originally intended it to be. All this to say I'm so excited about driving down to C'ville with my sisters in August!

*Chinese Fire Drills: When the light turns red, everyone gets out of the car, runs around it, and hops back in. In this case, we changed seats when hopping back in.
As a further note, the irony of the term struck me as I wrote it. I recently came across the term "Canadian Tuxedo" and had the most perplexing time trying to figure out why a wardrobe combination of all denim would be somehow associated with Canadians. While I still don't have an answer, I wonder if any Chinese people will read my blog and wonder why running around the car and calling it a "fire drill" is associated with the Chinese. Sorry... I don't know!

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