I'm writing a short story about a schoolgirl who is visiting an aquarium (this setting is connected with her past and with the conflict of the story).
Sophia found herself walking through a glass tunnel. She felt as if she were at the bottom of the sea without any difficulties to breath. A blacktip shark and a school of yellowtail surgeonfish passed over her head. They didn't seem to be noticing each other; they were just swimming peacefully side by side. Sophia followed them with her eyes as they disappeared in the blue murky water. She continued walking along the long path, carrying her schoolbag on her back, and gazing at the other marine animals.
Sophia always felt a special fascination for the ocean and everything that lives in it. She could spend whole afternoons watching clown fish, sharks, sting rays, turtles and corals. Being surrounded by them made her feel as if she had been transported to another world. A world that was closer to her than the world outside. At first, she didn't know where that interest had come from. But as time passed by, she discovered that these feelings were reminiscences of her childhood.
Sophia's father used to own a watermelon farm in Kenting's countryside. It wasn't huge, but it was big enough to keep his father busy the whole year. The farm was near the sea. He would take her to the beach every weekend. Sophia spent most of her childhood there, searching for crabs under rocks, fishing with her father, swimming with some of her friends, and enjoying all things that the Pacific Ocean provides. But all this ended when she reached 16. Her family's financial situation had declined considerably over the years, so her father decided to sell the farm to continue paying her school fees. A month later, Sophia and her family moved to Tainan, where her father had found a job in an company that exported agricultural products to China. Sophia's life in the city had begun.
Sophia reached a winding staircase, stared at it for a moment, and began to ascend. The staircase was surrounding a cylindrical tank. As she was walking up the steps, she realized that the tank contained thousands of jellyfishes. A light on the top of the tank changed from time to time making the jellyfish change their colors along with it. They looked like fluorescent mushrooms dancing in a blue canvas. Sophia loved to watch them. For her, their movements were so beautiful, yet so simple. But the thing she liked best about them was how they looked as if they were one with the sea. How they seemed to merge with the blue crystalline water.
I have the following questions:
As you can see, each paragraph starts with Sophia... I've done my best to think of other opening lines but I can't think of any. What do you suggest? (I also repeat the name Sophia in the paragraphs. Not sure if this is bad though)
Is the transition to the flashback of Sophia's childhood smooth?
Well, the purpose of these paragraphs are not to create suspense nor intrigue,
but as a reader, do you want to keep reading? If not, how to improve them?
(the 'intriguing' part comes later when she discovers a baby girl floating in the middle of a water tank).
Since the story is set in an aquarium, there are some terms that I'm not familiar with (e.g. water tank, glass tunnel, glass window, etc.). Am I using them properly?