Come Together

Last week I talked city with the mayor. This time I reel it in to address our neighborhoods. The unit we call our neighborhood is changing. I’m trying to figure out how; and I’m following my gut by taking the first steps toward an idea I’ve had since arriving here last summer. After getting back…
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Your City And Neighborhood Aren’t What They Used To Be.

Who are the people in your neighborhood? No, really. What can you tell me about them? When most of us were kids, we knew our neighbors. But these days it’s a different story—for a couple reasons. 1.) Globalization: The script of settling down in your twenties in a neighborhood with like peers is changing. Someone…
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New Plateaus’ 1st Book!

After eighteen months of writing about humanity and my experiences abroad, I’ve deemed it time to assemble a book (and an eBook) of my writings while living in China and traveling Asia. This time proved extraordinarily fruitful with insight regarding: poverty—why are the impoverished poor and the rich, rich?; education—what are colleges in China like?;…
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Mr. Ferdig Goes To City Hall

Just before Christmas, I visited the mayor’s office here in Minneapolis. You ever visit your mayor? You might want to try it sometime. 🙂 Here’s what happened, and here’s a post about advocacy, those who advocate, and the process of seeing policy change. It all started when a friend of mine got a traffic ticket.…
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New Year’s Recognition

I don’t get too caught up in the hoopla–it is just another day, January 1st. But there is significance. There’s significance because a year is a tried and true measurement of time. As such, we’re used to having it mean something. We use it for grades through school, seasons for sports and television, and for…
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A New Plateaus Christmas: )

Let’s go back to my year in China for a moment. In fact, let’s turn it back exactly one year. I was walking into my adult English class with my $.45 Santa hat on that I bought at nearby stationary store. It was the kind of store in China that doesn’t have a cash register—it’ll…
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Book Alert! (and New, Old Article)

Some of you have been awesome and followed me around China for as long as I’ve been blogging here on Area Voices. Others of you are also awesome and enjoying some of my older pieces in black and white in the Sunday editions of The Pioneer. I’m excited to say that I’m taking all 70…
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Children From All Over The World

The restaurant I work at recently hosted an annual get-together for an area adoption agency. What followed was an evening that really affected me… Now typically my first thought when I hear “adoption agency” is of a white, middle-class couple who can’t conceive. That’s commonly the case, and growing up I can remember my pastor,…
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The Elders Among Us

Speak to the elders in your life. Last week I wrote about two conversations I had with each of my Granddads. Both men live vivid and classic lives exemplifying American/Minnesotan culture. It was awesome how telling their lives are for the “American” in all of us. It revealed to me the importance of culture as…
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Stomping-Ground Culture 2: Our Grandparents

While I was still “up north” as we say, visiting my family in Blackduck, I decided to stop out at each of the grandparents’ places. Some may consider this dull, but it was enlightening. Here’s why: As if the Fates of blogging were looking down upon me, my time with my old granddads offered fresh…
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