by John Hunziker
Over the past four years I have come to realize that people in our community see the library as a resource of infinite possibilities and use it in many ways.
Jay Chang stopped by the other day to share his story. I had gotten his name from Louise in the Reference area on the second floor. She had talked with Jay as she saw him in the library and passed his name to me so I gave him a call.
Jay is originally from South Korea where he studied law; he met his wife there. He spent four years in London working with a Korean language paper and then he and his wife traveled to the United States. They originally settled in California where he published a Korean newspaper in Orange County. There were over 600,000 Koreans living in Southern California in 1996.
He and his wife decided that they wanted to raise their family in a less busy part of the country and after researching areas decided on Rochester. They have lived here for 15 years and originally bought a house in Northwest Rochester. Their daughter is at Macalester College in St. Paul and their son is at Mayo High School. Jay’s original dream when they moved to Rochester had been to publish an on-line Korean language newspaper; unfortunately the internet was not as good in the 1990’s as it is today.
Needing to support themselves and their family, they opened a retail store in Miracle Mile called In Vogue. That store grew into two more over time. After 10 years they began tiring of the day-to-day stress of retail sales so they decided to sell the stores. They thought about taking the concept to the Twin Cities area but haven’t found the right location. They have found their version of the American Dream and Jay is now taking some time to find his personal meaning of life. They sold their Northwest house and have moved closer to the downtown area. Jay can easily walk the mile to the library and back home when he chooses.
Jay had thought about returning to Korea and spending time in a monastery environment to find his, “meaning of life” but finds he can do the same thing in the quiet study rooms on the second floor of the library. He brings his laptop and connects to the Wi-Fi and explores what other people have thought, whether they are Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or various Christian philosophies. One of his favorite authors at this time is Richard Dawkins who wrote the God Delusion; Jay says that he agrees with about 90% of what Dawkins writes.
Along with his search for his own meaning of life, his personal journey, he as two goals. He still wants to publish an online magazine focused on the worldwide Korean population. He actually has a number of online blogs at this time, although they are in Korean. If they are successful he will consider English versions. Secondly he has studied for and passed in September his realtors’ tests. He spent 10 hours a day for two weeks at the library preparing for the tests as he wanted to pass the first time. He wants to be a commercial realty consultant working with people who want to invest in U.S. properties.
Jay says that with the library and our internet access, the philosophies of the world are at his finger tips.
by John Hunziker