Tag Archives: Detroit

To nod, to grin, to lend a hand

I realize blogging is no longer (was it ever?) the right platform for this, but in lieu of any real writing, it’s time to share some links.

First up, a great little article on FUME, the Fellowship of Unassimilated Manhattan Exiles in DC, that captures nicely the feelings of expatriotism. From the article:

If there were a Fellowship of Unassimilated Midwestern Exiles, it would have a waiting list for admission. Its members would congregate at the Olive Garden in Falls Church and wonder why you have to drive so far to find a good Dairy Queen and whether it’s really necessary for parking spaces to be so small or so expensive.

Every expat community has something it misses, something that stands for everything that is right about the place you came from and wrong about the place where you’ve arrived.

There is statriotism—that defensive instinct to start listing off stereotypically awesome things about your home town when some snobby east coaster questions its cred (see the opening clip of Season 4 Episode 15 of 30 Rock for an example)—and then there’s expatriotism, that longing for homeland of a small community in exile that makes ordinarily bagel-refraining New Yorkers talk at length about circles of dough when in DC. And while we’re at it, you know what I miss about the midwest, what I talk about with almost every Michigander I meet out here? Rain, the kind that smells good and is nice. And thunder! So all you Facebookers can please stop talking about the storms you’ve been having. (Via SC on the FB)

Next, we’re a bit beyond graduation season, but that means we’re in the thick of the season of figuring out what’s next in life. Map of the Week posted a great reference map for hipsters searching for a new city to live in.

Click for a larger image. Of course I felt particularly guilty reading the description of Detroit: “Something vague about hopeful post-apocalyptic urban gardening.” (Not sure of the original source, via MotW)

Finally, this goes out to all you alumni of the Calvin semester in Budapest, from any year, as well as any of our Hungarian pals. I need some help with a mapping project. I’m building a guide map to Budapest, and I don’t have the time, the memory, or the comprehensive experience to do it alone. Here’s the start of the map:

Follow the link for full sized map, and if you’ve got places to contribute, send me a message or an email and I’ll make you a contributor and send you instructions. I’m trying to put together blurbs on places to see, to eat, to drink, to experience, to go running, etc., and I hope to finish it before the new crop of students gets there in the fall. Köszönöm szépen!


city links

A good reminder from a friend:
Gardens cannot remediate everything.

Also, in case you haven’t seen it yet:

When this came on at the Super Bowl party I was at, the snack crunching and cell phone texting stopped and the room was rapt. No gardens here. I don’t know if I trust luxury marketing to keep Detroit beautiful, but I get chills every time I watch it.

Detroit’s a sleeping woman

Catherine Ferguson Academy is an incredible place. It’s one of very few schools in America for pregnant girls and young mothers; it’s lowered the repeat pregnancy rate among its students to 10 percent, which is less than half the national rate for teen mothers; and for the past 9 years, all its graduates have been accepted into college.

It also turned its inner-city school yard into a farm in the middle of Detroit. Check out this trailer for Grown in Detroit a documentary about the school and farm.

Our group visited the school last week and met its powerhouse principal and some of the students. Whatever you want to say about the Motor City, it’s got some damn fine folks in it, and they won’t walk quietly into brownfield oblivion. West Michigan, you might think you have the corner on this state’s agricultural identity, but for all your heritage tomatoes and nostalgically named CSAs, I have yet to see alfalfa growing on empty lots in Grand Rapids.