They say you shouldn't run away from your problems, but it was the best decision Sun ever made. She could never find her place in District One. Separated parents, two different homes, vastly different personalities - her conscience was split in two before she was out of diapers. Her mother was the ambitious dragon, ferocious to her bitter core, and her father was the loose gambler. Heaven knows how the two ended up married at one point, but they lasted long enough to have Sundrop.
She led a conflicting life. One week at her mother's, one week at her father's, each house had different rules. Mother was a demanding clean freak with high expectations. Sun had to attend a career academy, she had to learn how to cook, clean, and sew - all practical skills that she found absolutely tedious. Sun wanted a childhood; to be spoiled by middle class parents who appreciated her for who she was. Instead, Sun's mother insisted that all she was good for was what she might produce in the future. She was meant to marry into a richer family and bear children. Sun couldn't think of a more boring legacy.
Her father's house was a stark contrast. He was caring yet laid back, and allowed her to bend what few rules existed. She could stay out after dark, leave dirty dishes in the sink, and skip training classes to hang out with her friends. He cared more about her studies than her etiquette. "A nice job will win you the world, trust me," he always said. When Sun asked about her mother's thoughts, he simply shook his head. There was no pursuing her dreams without butting heads with her mom. That was her own problem to solve.
It didn't work out as well as she planned.
Her father died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was heartbroken, and all anybody could say was "I'm so sorry" or "At least he died in his sleep" as if either of those empty statements remedied her sorrow. She was forced to move in with her mother permanently, inheriting only her father's fake jewelry collection. His money went to her mother, which was dangled in front of Sun's face like a prize. If Sun didn't fulfil her mother's wishes, she wouldn't get her inheritance. It was a disgusting bribery that she played along with until she couldn't stand it any longer. She didn't like her chosen betrothed. Slicked, greasy hair, an entitled attitude - Sun knew she was materialistic, but she didn't present like a immature child. She was graceful in her self-interest.
Her future 'freedom' was an illusion. A life mapped out by somebody else was not what she wanted. She knew plenty of girls who would hold their tongues and give in to their family's desires, but Sun was not one of them. It took months of suffocation for her to finally make the boldest move of her life; she ran away.
It wasn't only home she ran from. No matter where she stayed, something would lead her back into her mother's controlling grasp. Unless, of course, she made that impossible.
Her friends insisted that she was being impulsive. Perhaps that was true, but she didn't care. She applied for a work permit to become a seamstress in Five. It was a district known for nothing but animals and oil - a place where she could disappear and create a new life. And it worked; she moved, and upon arrival sold all of her father's fake jewelry under the guise that they were real jewels from District One. She didn't feel guilty for scamming the rich because she knew their lifestyle - all of them had done something to deserve it.
Morally questionable or not, she made her own inheritance. She proved that she did not need her mother or a wealthy husband to live her comfortable life. She bought her own place, and found a cozy business in the market to flex her sewing prowess. Turns out the she was everything the owner needed - a young mind with a uniquely glamorous eye. She could make clothes that their little corner of Five had never seen before. It was impressive, and it was easy - a district with lower standards was simpler to please.
There was nothing glamorous about Five itself. In fact, most of it was ugly, but the people made up for it. They humbled Sun in all of her personal grandeur. There was no reason to create a facade because there were no career families to impress. There were no competitions, no pressure on her shoulders to make other people fawn over her. In Five, one's natural charm was the only way to earn someone's respect. For that reason, Sun could be less of a rich snob and more of a people person. She didn't have to overperform or worry about someone taking her spotlight - there was no spotlight.