[This post is the first part of a three-part series on my weekend at the 18th Fall Esperanto Gathering.
Here's Part 2.
Here's Part 3.]
At the 58th National Convention of Esperanto-USA in 2010 in Washington, DC, I met a lot of friendly Esperantists. Two of them were Chris and Kaitlyn from Rochester, New York. I visited Chris in January, but aisde from that, we hadn't seen each other in a long time.
A while ago, Chris told me about the 18th Fall Esperanto Weekend, which would occur October 8th–11th 2011 in Silver Bay, New York. I now live in Albany, four or five hours away from Rochester, and on the way to Silver Bay, so the three of us decided to attend the convention together.
As a side note, the convention is officially called la Aŭtuna Renkontiĝo de Esperanto, or ARE for short. “Are” (pronounced ['a.ɾe], AH-reh) is also Esperanto for “as a group.” Esperantists seem to appreciate clever names.
Chris and Kaitlyn came to Albany on Friday, October 8th, and stayed with me overnight. We and three of my friends made a bonfire at my friend's house. It was cold out, so we enjoyed the heat of the fire. We chatted (in English – booo) [my friends here don't (yet) speak Esperanto] about various topics, including linguistics, economics, and vegetarianism.
On Saturday, we left for ARE. First, we stopped to eat lunch and to buy food at the Honest Weight Food Co-op, a cooperative grocery store in Albany. I love that place. There are tons of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers, and also a variety of prepared vegetarian foods.
When we arrived at the convention,
|The main meeting hall at ARE|
After that, we payed for the convention (only $5 each, as students), and went to the house where we would be staying.
|Our house at ARE|
There, Normando Fleury, president of the Quebec Esperanto Society and organizer of the convention led some ice-breakers. First, we split up into small groups, and introduced ourselves to our group. Each of us chose a color from a list, and explained to the other members why he chose that one.
|Everyone chose a color, and explained to the other group members why he chose that one.|
Next, we sat in a large circle, and everyone presented himself to the whole group, saying his name, where he comes from, and three words to describe himself. I chose the words “thought,” “learning,” and “cooking.” There was a variety of responses, many interesting and thought-provoking, and several funny ones, for example, “I don't know.”
Finally, we each received a small paper that said “Ĉu vi…” (“Do you…” in Esperanto) and wrote a yes-no question on it. Normando collected the papers, mixed them, and passed them out again. Then, everyone read his new question, and everybody either stood to reply “yes” or sat to reply “no.” Again, there was a variety of responses, but the one I most clearly remember is “Do you speak Esperanto with your pet?” I stood up for that one.
I really enjoyed the ice-breakers. In my opinion, Normando organized them very well, and they were especially well-suited for this kind of language gathering. If/when I teach English as a foreign language, I'll definitely borrow his ideas.
After that, we returned to our house, and played Dixit, a card game which I actually played for the first time in Esperanto, at the Summer Esperanto Study run by the Esperanto website lernu! in Slovakia in 2009.
The first day of the convention was great, and I fell asleep smiling, happy to be among Esperantists again.
|My name badge for ARE|