I remember returning home to New Zealand after my AFS year in Bangkok. I spent the night at the house of an AFS official in Auckland before flying home to the South Island, and I remember standing out on his deck in the morning, surrounded by New Zealand bush, inhaling deeply, revelling in the fresh, green scent of New Zealand.
15-20 years later, when I was frequently travelling overseas for work, I would arrive at Auckland Airport after a long flight, walk out of the International Terminal, and take a deep breath in, enjoying the fresh air, the scent of native trees and freshly cut grass, on the walk to the Domestic Terminal.
So I was amused last week to hear that when my brother-in-law returned home to Australia his children hugged him and told him he smelled of New Zealand. His wife, who was telling us this story, laughed, and agreed that she had just given him a hug, and he did indeed smell of New Zealand. She said,
“There is a smell at New Zealand airports that tells me I am in New Zealand. I love it!”
I love it too – it’s the scent of home.