The Periphery On The Issues: The Confederate Flag *Video Feature*

It’s a topic as American as apple pie–or anti-American, perhaps. With two sides firmly in place, the controversy over the use and meaning of the Confederate flag is as relevant today as it’s ever been. So during my journey through the South last summer, I figured it was time to address the elephant in the room–an…
Read More

Tour And Conversation On A Southern Farm

This was as close as I’d get to a plantation on my Southern tour. (Yes, Southerners, I know you don’t like people using that word. But “plantation” is simply how we Northerners distinguish–and imagine–farm settings around the country. We up here have our Old McDonald, Charlotte’s Web-style farms. The American West has sprawling ranches. And…
Read More

Southern Experience #7: Stories (And Lessons) From A Memphis Retirement Home

Who better to share about the South than those who’ve been there the longest? On July 27 on my Southern Experience road trip, I arrived to Memphis, Tennessee.  The next day I visited a retirement home, where I met Barry, Frank, and Margaret.  They opened up to me about growing up in the South, about what it…
Read More

I Received An Old Dollar Bill As Change; A Lesson Ensued

  “Hold on,” said the barista as she studied the bill she was about to hand back to me for change. She looked down at it with wrinkled brow. The she held it up to the light. I joked about counterfeiters probably not wasting time producing dollar bills. The barista couldn’t find her counterfeit-finding pen…
Read More

Interviewing A Special Woman In The “Real” Village

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about life here in my village, Magulilwa. Soon after, I got an email of my school founder, and native Magulilwan, Evaristo Sanga. You wrote about the new part of Magulilwa, he said. If you want to see the “real village” you should visit my mother about 25…
Read More

Education Is Bigger Than Schools

Enjoy this piece on educational philosophy by guest contributor, Joseph Preesh. Growing up and going to school is such a ubiquitous part of Americana that we hardly even think about the subjects learned and the ultimate purpose for why we went yesteryear and send our kids today. It’s simply what is done. Education reformer and…
Read More

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…
Read More

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…
Read More

Stomping Ground Culture, Part 1

If you’d asked me before about the culture of northern Minnesota, or America even, I’d have suggested it better described as a lack of culture. Growing up, we never had our version of a pow wow or exotic clothing—nothing drawing back to the days of ancient ancestors. Removed from lederhosen and the German language (though…
Read More

Home Sweet Home: China In Minnesota

All the pictures and words and emotions regarding China came to an end, folks. This post is about my arrival back and experiences being re-introduced to Minnesota. I left Zhuhai on an unusually clear, beautiful, warm, sunny day. The car ride to the airport featured lush green palm trees and bright blue skies that lit…
Read More