Prince album cover

Be An Individual

Prince’s music didn’t speak to me. Nor did his fashion. But, and to say nothing of his musical ingenuity, he was an original.   That takes courage–especially when one’s originality is in the spotlight.   In an interview, Jerry Seinfeld was once asked about modern comics. He could have responded by listing the ones that…
Read More

Guest post Ayla 2

A Norwegian In Tanzania: Ayla Visits A Secondary School

From February 20-28, Ayla–by way of mutual acquaintances (and Minnesota’s connections to Scandinavia)–visited the school in Tanzania where I volunteered in 2014. Our organization Change it Forward-Tanzania as well as the leaders at Magulilwa Area Secondary School made arrangements for Ayla’s arrival. The adventurous 20-year-old from Norway came to Magulilwa as part of her global trip…
Read More

Lysa Yang

What Is Home? A Hmong-American Woman Reflects On The Many Homes She’s Had

Home. What is home? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary gives us two definitions: 1) the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives, and 2) a family living together in one building, house, etc. A child in primary school could possibly tell us this, if exposed to the word “home” at an early age. As…
Read More


Five Ways Cultures Can Learn From Each Other: A Presentation

*This Saturday I’ll be a panelist at Global China Connection’s Midwest Conference taking place at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Titled “Global Leadership,” the conference’s aim is to “build a platform to get students more involved, early in their college life, in the real world outside college.” It’s an all-day event with speakers from…
Read More


Ever Been To Chicago? Photos And Footage From My Weekend There

Over March 24-27, I drove down to Chicago and soaked in this magnificent city.  First was some unexpected nature shots. Ice storm in Wisconsin the day before + crawling freeway traffic = an opportunity to take these pictures out the window: …and I took this trip to enjoy city living! Later this night, I got…
Read More


Snow Ghosts In A World Above The Clouds: A Spiritual Experience Skiing In Montana

Giselle Mejia is a dance instructor and performer in the Twin Cities. She’s also an avid traveler and writer. In this passage, Giselle shares her recent experience skiing in Montana. Taken from her journal, she expresses what it was like to be up there in the quiet stillness of the stunning, white mountains.  *** March 8th, 2016…
Read More

Trump KKK hood

What Will Adversity Turn You Into?

These days we’re seeing all sorts of popular movements responding to the problems in our country: presidential campaigns, Black Lives Matter. Sometimes they inspire solutions; sometimes they motivate vandalism and violence.  I wrote in the Star Tribune in February about groups in Minneapolis solving the problems of inner-city struggle. Today, the website Transformation is Real published my…
Read More

guest post Czech Jana

Checking Back In From The Czech Republic: Jana Part 2

In 2009, Jana Dvořáková did what many Americans dream of: traveled to her ancestral homeland to connect with the culture–and distant relatives. While away, she sent emails back home to family and friends in Minnesota. Last week, we enjoyed the first story of this series arranged from these emails. This week, we enjoy Part 2 from her…
Read More

Media, Life Isn’t A Fairy Tale (or How Meanness Has Become Mainstream)

There is a long history of news as a tool for gossip and agenda promotion. These tendencies, however, seem to be the driving force behind a growing body of media. We don’t complain. We either cheer it along, consuming our favorite partisan news. Or we’re neutral, unaffected as we don’t know the people targeted. But…
Read More

Prague (

Discovering Her Heritage In The Czech Republic

Ever since she was a girl, Jana Dvořáková had an interest in her heritage and international ventures. Her grandfather’s death in 2006 woke her up to the reality of how short life is–and thus, motivated her to pursue the things she had dreamed about. In 2009, Jana went to the Czech Republic to see distant family and to learn…
Read More