PROMPT: DESCRIBE THE WORLD YOU CAME FROM- YOUR FAMILY, COMMUNITY, OR SCHOOL AND HOW THEY HAVE SHAPED YOUR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS.
My mom taught me how to blow things up. I have witnessed and been the creator of the slow disintegration of cotton, gummy bears, hydrogen balloons, flaming salts, and all the group one metals. Of course she also taught me how to tie my shoes, do my hair, and all the other normal things a mother teaches her daughter, but learning to cause combustion was by far the least typical and the most entertaining.
For years, I walked into her lab at Santa Rosa High School thinking I was Johnny Storm, the Human Torch from the Fantastic Five. I was fascinated with the way molten potassium chlorate caused the gummy bears to dance in flame. No, we were not crazy; it was just our "thing". We would sit in the lab for a few hours every once in a while and bond over small chemical explosions. Not the ordinary mother-daughter get together, but for us, it was better than going shopping or getting our nails done.
Last Halloween, I was fortunate enough to witness her sixth period annual Halloween show. I walked into her classroom with chemistry on my mind, hopeful that everyone would walk out in one piece. I sat in the back next to a girl with a pad and paper and my mom began the show by stating, "the theme today is combustion". The girl next to me scribbled, theme: combustion, on her paper. My mom began with the combustion of solids, which consisted of steel wool over a Bunsen burner that created a red hot spark, powdered iron that when thrown into the flame looked like glitter, and magic dust (lycopodium powder) dropped over the fire, causing it to burst. The girl wrote down every detail she could manage to remember on the pad and I assumed that she was from the school paper. My mom moved to the combustion of liquids part and she started by soaking a dollar bill in ethanol and water and lighting it on fire. "What the heck?" someone asked, and the girl took note that the students were mesmerized. By the time my mom reached the combustion of gases, the girl had filled up two full pages of notes that covered almost everything from the show. When the show was over, I gave my mom a hug goodbye and walked out of the classroom thinking how cool it was that, thanks to the girl from the school paper, everyone would be able to experience the show, not just the students who had my mom as a teacher.
For a while, I wanted to be a mini-me of my mom. I loved science and saw myself pursuing opportunities in the field because my mom had introduced it to me. But that Halloween, I realized that there's more than just the atomic theory to the world. I realized that every one deserves to experience all the astonishing things that occur everyday, and to become aware of what is happening in the world around them. Like the journalist from the school paper, I've decided to help fill the world with information that people like my mom provide, and hopefully, I can teach my daughter some abnormal things too.