Day 328 - Jung (1st person I approached)
November 24, 2014 - I mentioned a few days ago that I have a friend visiting from out of town. I decided to go out this afternoon to find today’s story, so that when we got home from dinner, all I would have to do was write the story. Well. When you have company visiting from out of town, you sometimes have to go by their agenda. We ended up going to a late movie and now, here I sit, finally writing at 2:30am…
Jung was born in the Kwantung territory in southern China. He is the oldest of four children, and the only one born in China.
“Maybe my brother, the next born was also born in China. I can’t remember,” he said. When he was five years old, his father went to Hong Kong and set up a business. Jung went to live with his father and his paternal grandmother.
“My Grandmother pretty much raised me. My father was busy with work,” said Jung. His mother wasn't permitted to leave China.
“The Chinese Government is so complicated, especially back in the 1950’s. I don’t know or understand why she wasn’t permitted to leave,” he said. Eventually his mother was given permission to move to Hong Kong, and Jung's other siblings were born there.
“I stayed in Hong Kong until the age twelve, then I came to Vancouver. My (paternal) grandfather had come to Canada as a young man to help build railways. After working on the railways, my grandfather worked in a lumber mill,” he said.
“The same year he retired, I came to Vancouver to live with him. He was happy to see me. My grandfather was strict. A practical man, a nice man, but very strict. The following year he got better when his wife, my grandmother arrived,” said Jung, with a little smile.
During the day, Jung went to a public high-school. He was assigned to a class with a Cantonese speaking teacher who went out of her way to help Jung settle in.
“In the evenings, I went to Chinese school. It was only for three hours each day, but it was a long day. of schooling. I took French and English. I liked languages,” he told me. After graduating from high-school, Jung went to Langara College (Vancouver).
“I think I took academic arts or some technical program. I can’t quite remember. I only lasted one year. I didn’t like the course,” he said.
“I thought maybe I’d take one year off and go back to school later.”
After leaving college, Jung started his own business, working with vending machines.
“It didn’t do so well. I was too young and didn’t pay attention to all of the details. I felt that I was taken advantage of with the contracts for the vending machines. The more money I made with each machine, the higher the monthly rental went,” he said. Within just over a year, Jung lost the business. He had gotten married, and was determined to provide for his family.
“I tried to start a couple other businesses, but they didn’t work either,” he said.
“I got a job in the hotel industry. I started as a busboy at (a five star hotel). I worked hard and wanted to become a waiter. They offered me the job, but it was only part time. I have a family to provide for. I needed to work full-time. I ended up working in room service,” he said. Jung did that job for twelve years. He and his wife had three children, a son and two daughters.
“Then I got into a difficult time,” he told me.
“My wife left me, and the children went to live with her. I had a hard time dealing with that. I developed a bit of a gambling habit. I needed something to keep me busy. To keep my mind off of things. I don’t drink. Gambling became almost like my addiction. I would go every night and stay late. You get caught in the moment, especially if you're wining. And if you're losing, you try to change your luck. You leave saying 'never again' but the next day comes, and you're back playing Texas Holdem. Then I would be tired going to work in the morning. I was living the single life. I was getting to work late too many times. I lost my job. They said with my seniority there, that I should be doing better. I got divorced and lost my job all in one year. I took it pretty hard,” he said.
“For about one year, I was homeless. You lose your job and you can’t pay the rent. I stayed with friends for a while, and then lived in homeless shelters. It took me about another year to get back to normal living again,” he said.
Jung met another woman.
“My Uncle introduced this young woman to me. He said because I was single I should meet the sister of one of his friends. We met and she was very nice, we got along well. I went back to China to spend two months with her. She said she wanted to be with me, so I made arrangements to bring her to Canada. We got married. But once she was settled here in Vancouver, she said she only used me to get into the country,” he said.
“My friends said I should do something, take some action against her. She’s a smart woman who has gotten what she wants. She got work quickly and sent money to her family in China to help them build a home. She’s a manager at her workplace now, and drives a nice car. She’s adaptable,” he said. I told Jung I thought he was extremely kind and generous. He smiled, and said
“What can you do? She wanted to look after her family. I understand that.”
At 66, Jung now has a roommate and shares an apartment. He got a job working as a security guard.
“I worked for a bank standing outside as a security guard. I got another job working in a supermarket, in the kitchen, doing prep work. Not cooking, but preparing the food to be cooked,” he said.
“My last job was working as a caretaker of an apartment building. I retired just over a year ago.” He has been talking to a few people about his gambling issues, and has almost gotten it under control.
Before retiring, Jung started to volunteer with homeless people at a downtown community centre. The centre caters to a large population of people working through addiction issues, mental health issues, and homelessness.
“I like working in the kitchen, prepping meals for the people who come in off the streets to eat. I spend time there playing pool with people. We go out on trips, and outings,” he said. Jung gets a meal in exchange for volunteering.
“I need to keep busy, to keep occupied and not have too much spare time. Helping others, helps me forget my own problems. It makes me feel better.” #notastranger