Thursday, June 3, 2010

At the 58th National Convention of Esperanto-USA (Part 1)

I've returned from the National Convention, and I really want to blog about it. So, here we go!

On Saturday, May 29th, Jordon and I arrived at the airport in Baltimore, MD. My dad lives in New York (state), but has friends in Washington, D.C.. He drove down to visit them, and at the same time to help us get to the convention. Also, he generously offered to give me the car that he drove there. Thanks, dad!

When we arrived, we spoke with the people in the lobby, and paid for the Convention. That day, almost all of the attendees were on an excursion, so Jordon and I decided to eat dinner with my dad and his friends.

We ate at a Lebanese restaurant. When we arrived, all the regular tables were taken, so the hostess offered us a sofa next to a short, small table. We didn't mind, so we sat down.

We ordered a lot of food. When the waiter brought everything to the table, a plate fell from his tray, and broke on the floor. Although this scared us, no one was hurt. The hostess offered us another sofa, but my dad asked if there was an open table. Indeed there was, and she sat us there instead. By the way, my dad is a lawyer.

The food was very tasty, and after the meal, I felt very full. We returned to the Convention, and the other attendees returned after a bit.

We were very happy that a lot of young people attended (around twelve in all). The biggest group came from the Esperanto club at the University of Illinois, whose president is the one and only mythical Darcy Ross (yes, she can fly!) Jordon and I had only decided to go to the Convention two weeks previously, and I guess Darcy didn't know that we would be coming. She was very happy to see us, and of course, the feeling was mutual.

After we got to know each other, someone suggested that we go to a dance club. I'm not much of a dancer, so I felt a little hesitant. But in the end, I decided to go with them.

While we were dancing, I felt a little self-conscious and nervous, so I went to the other room to chat with two other guys from Darcy's group. They weren't really in a dancing mood either, so we decided to go to the restaurant next door, which had some nice vegetarian options. I enjoyed that a lot more than dancing.

Around 2AM, we left the dance-club/restaurant, and took the metro back to the hotel where the Convention was being held. Although the others went to bed, I decided not to sleep that night. (For future reference: this is nearly always a bad idea.) Instead, I prepared a lecture on phonetics, which I would be giving the next day.
Jordon also blogged about this event.
Vidu tiun ĉi blogaĵon en Esperanto.
[Update (10/13/11): I never finished writing the rest of this story. I'll get to that at some point…]

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Destination: National Esperanto Congress

Lately, it seems that I've been flying a lot, and I like to blog while traveling. Today, Jordon and I are heading to the 2010 National Congress of Esperanto-USA, in Washington, D.C.

I first heard about Esperanto back in high school, from the Nickelodeon cartoon Danny Phantom. In the episode "Public Enemies," Danny meets Wulf, an Esperanto-speaking wolf ghost. Here's a clip of the entire episode. If you want to skip to the Esperanto parts, they're at 00:50, 08:25, 11:10, 15:05, and 20:15. (Be forewarned: the grammar is atrocious.)

Anyway, I liked the idea, so I began the popular 10-lesson course, and joined Lernu. I didn't know any other speakers, and none of my friends wanted to learn, so I lost interest.

Esperanto found me again in Fall 2007, during my first semester in college. The language came up in conversation with my dorm roommate, and it turned out there was another speaker literally three doors down. Jordon approached me about starting a club, and we began meeting in Fall 2008.

As our Vice-President, I figured I should actually learn the language. So, I bought a copy of Teach Yourself Esperanto, and worked through it in about two months. Then, I created a Skype account, and began chatting with Esperantists from around the world. Little by little, my Esperanto improved, and I decided to attend the 2009 National Congress in St. Louis, Missouri.

On the way there, I was filled with nervous excitement about the idea of communicating in a foreign language. I didn't need to feel nervous, though; everyone was really friendly and helpful, and I had a great time. I spent the next two months backpacking through Europe with Jordon, where we had lots of exciting Esperanto adventures. (Jordon blogged extensively during our trip - definitely "Czech" it out.)

Now, one year later, we're going to the National Congress together. I'm lot more confident with the language, and I hope to experience this year's Congress on a deeper level.
Vidu tiun ĉi blogaĵon en Esperanto.