Princess Complexes

8am Monday morning, I left the sunny pseudo-countryside for Kaohsiung, murky-grey industrial galore. Once again, I dragged my luggage through the front doors of my grandpa’s dilapidated high-rise and took the sketch elevator up. 6th floor is the office, 9th floor is the old condo in a sun-bleached shade of mustard yellow.The 6th floor has upgraded from cable modem to wifi, but my great-aunt still uses a typewriter for God knows what and wears glasses with a pearl chain draped behind her ears. (She also happens to be on Facebook, so no judgments held.)

At noon, my grandpa, mom, and I head upstairs for lunch—dumplings yesterday, potstickers and carrot cake today (Monday we ate out). At 4:30 sharp, we head back to the “mansion” in the outskirts of the city, on top of a hill behind gates, away from the air and sound pollution. (I fidget nervously on my computer as time refuses to move, eat dinner, fidget some more, shower, and sleep.)

Every morning, my step-grandma prepares us homemade yogurt with generous chunks of fruit and nuts along with a buttered piece of 2” toast. This morning, I also had ginseng tea to combat my returning flu symptoms. My grandpa spends a good hour in the garden watering the exotic plants while my step-grandma tends to the flowerpots outside of our window. Every withering flower, weed, overgrown leaf (perhaps aphid as well)—gets plucked. 9:30 sharp, we leave the mansion for the high-rise, and life commences as usual.

It’s only Wednesday and I’m ready to flee like a rabid madman…except I don’t know how to navigate the city. God granted me mercy on Monday when my dad’s best friend in high school took me to see Ito’s World Games Stadium after we ate fusion dim-sum for lunch, but life has since slumped. (Thankfully, I leave for China Friday morning.)

For sarcasm’s sake, highlights of yesterday: my cousin sat on my mom’s Kate Spade shades, so an office lady took them down the street to some repair shop. She came back with super-glued glasses, and seconds later, my mom tripped over her laptop’s power cord and sent the laptop crashing. “Hey Serena, come see my screen…it looks very abstract and artistic”—aka irrevocably damaged with no saving grace.

Today was slightly more exciting than yesterday, seeing that my cousin came to visit me in the office dressed in her Sunday best. My aunt explained, “She said she wanted to be a princess today,”…and so I took out my camera and did the best I could.