>So I was back in Kasr alAini med school for some business; I was walking down the sidewalk by the anatomy ‘mashraha’ –the morgue– when I was suddenly hit with the unbearable stench of badly-ventilated, partially decomposed, formalin-soaked bodies.
I could, literally, feel 18 again! The black pants I was wearing that first day, the mauve taupe silk blouse I wore–and of course had to throw out because of the stench that wouldn’t get out– flashed back in my memory, uncalled and uninvited but most certainly welcomed.
The excitement and the rush of being a doctor, with my brand-new white coat dangling on my arm, was so refreshing. The premise that I might change the world, or at least the medical practice in Egypt, and the dreams that I will be saving lives each and every step of the way all came back to me.
What was strange is the happiness and sheer bliss that I felt. I was not disillusioned. I was not sad that none of that had happened. It was as if I was transported back in time, to that moment, and I was that hopeful, idealistic girl again. It was magical!
Before, I had never been a firm believer that olfactory memories can be so vivid, but let me tell you this belief is long gone…