Monday, November 14, 2005

Day 38: Ann Arbor, MI

Journeyed from Western Michigan to Eastern the University town of Ann Arbor. How are University towns generally strongholds of culture? Perhaps it's simply that the bulk of people are exploring life, themselves, each other, their world, etc. University towns are typically refreshing...

Holly and I had a spare few moments, so we caught Good Night, Good Luck, which was a fantastic film. A McCarthy-era black and white film about censorship, corporations funding the news, and some daring souls seeking to present truth even when it went against the cultural and financial grain.

Then we were part of an experimental church service. First time I have sweared into a microphone in a church. Felt strange, but freeing to share my story in its truthful form.

Got some good sleep and then had breakfast with our friend Wendy. Learned about Counter Culture Coffee and how many of the FAIR TRADE COFFEE practices are not all they seem. Certainly coffee with that label has a certain amount of regulation that went into the production and purchase of it, but it doesn't always mean that it was the best-crafted situation. This coffee company is big on relationships and developing sustainable methods in farming for coffee farmers. All that to say, find out where your coffee comes from and who grows it and what the relationship with the farmers is like.

Some interesting exchanges in conversation the last couple days. Some things that I'll blog about in the near future. Today, we're off to Ohio to see Paula and do a house show with her. Sweet.


JennO said...

love you both cant stop thinking about you....damien and jenn

gdwill said...

Thank you for mentioning this about Fair Trade coffee. I have written similar warnings in blogs of old, but I have felt like the lone voice of dissent right smack in the midst of a clan of dissenters! Fair Trade can become the emerging walmart if we stop doing the real research and blindly trust an impersonal logo. There is no substitute for relationships (as the Counter Culture website mentions).

Nate Custer said...


Mind sharing the name of the experimental service you went to? I grew up in Ann Arbor (in a 70s intentional community there) and still go back to visit, it would be cool to know a good place to go worship, since I am no longer welcome in my community of birth.

One bit of advice, if you swing through that area again, spend some time in Ypsilanti its right next to Ann Arbor, and has most of the culture without all of the pretentiousness. The coffee shop I lived in (Mudd House) is no more, but in its place is The Ugly Mug and it is well worth a visit.


Mike Stavlund said...

you know how when some people come to visit, you need to hide the liquor and other contraband?

I'm currently drinking the last of my fair trade, shade grown coffee. Two days ago, I impulsively and thoughtlessly bought two pounds of Whole Foods Pacific Rim, because it is so dang cheap.

I'm gonna need to hide it from the Sharps. Or maybe just put it into the Fair Trade bag.

sarah douglas said...

hello ryan and holly!
this is sarah douglas, and i am a friend of wendy's.. met you at space briefly.
i am in love with holly's painting "Wedding Blessing."
can i get a print or how much are you selling it for?

also, it was such a blessing to meet you both, thank you for sharing your stories and your time with us.

God bless you both in your travelling!