Synaesthesia Discovery

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Where the Heart Belongs: School Campus to Taste Synaesthesia

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Skye was washing his hands after a bathroom break at his school. All of a sudden, his synaesthesia escalated to a new level and brought him new sensations. He rushed out to the school oval in excitement. A large mixture of tastes spontaneously came to him. “Starch, pepper, salt, sugar, spice, flour, fat. Mmm, great!”

He ran to the tree behind the chapel oval with joy. “Hang on, this place tastes slightly different. What’s missing?” He tried again, “oh, no fat! Needs more pepper and salt. Interesting!”

Skye continued onto a few other places around the school ground. Each place gave him a distinct taste through his synaesthetic perception.

The Dining hall, one of Skye’s favourite places, tasted the same large mixture except no flour. The old drama area had a taste of starch, sugar, spice and salt.

“The Beehive has only moderate and sweet stuff Mum, all bad things were gone! Oh, do you know what I mean by bad things?” Skye realised that I might not have understood what he meant.

Seeing my puzzled expression, Skye explained, “I perceive pepper, salt, and spice as bad things; starch, flour and fat as moderate and alright things. You must have guessed that I associate good things with a sweet taste. I often enjoy visiting the school’s Beehive, but I am always worried that I may become diabetic one day if I stay there too long.” I burst out laughing.

“What about the Equestrian centre?”

“I don’t like the place as much as you think. It has the same mixture except no sugar and no fat.”

This synaesthesia was developed on the 8th day after starting at his current school, Skye still remembers vividly. Although the taste association for each place has remained consistently since, more and more synaesthetic responses have gradually evolved.

Moving to Skye’s current school, one of the most prestigious schools in Australia, was a life changing experience to the 10 year old boy at the time. Skye loves the tranquility of the campus which is as big as a typical university campus. He loves walking on the colourful and tree-lined main street, passing different historical and contemporary buildings, and enjoys his synaesthetic perception throughout a year.

The school has educated generations of world leaders, Australian executives and artists. Skye feels very safe there with a group of like-minded friends and understanding teachers who encourage individuality.

“Mum, I will never ever have that much synaesthesia in any other school.” Skye said with a bit sadness.

“Not even the new school you are going to next year?” I asked hesitately, and was given a no answer.

Both Skye and Thomas are moving to their respective new schools after this year. That’s part of the family’s consolidation plan due to the more and more challenging logistics. Skye will also commence his boarding.

Putting Skye through boarding at a young age was not an easy decision. I attended a boarding school in my senior school years, and understand how much he is going to miss home and how much we are going to miss him. But knowing Skye whose dreams will most likely take him to somewhere far away from home one day, boarding can be a good transition.

What he looks forward to the most and the least is there will be no girls in his new school.

Last night, on the way home after Thomas’ school performing art night, Skye complained in the car, “Thomas, it’s very unfair that your school has so many good looking girls! Girls at my school are really average looking.”

“I hate girls! I don’t look at them.” Thomas replied simply.

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