Greetings from snowy Burg in Spreewald! So, why would I be writing you from a youth hostel in the middle of the Spreewald (Spree forest)? Because I’m currently attending one of the largest Esperanto youth meetings in the world, JES (Junulara E-Semajno, Youth Esperanto Week). If you want to learn about the history of JES, you can read my blog post Celebrate the New Year in Esperanto. This year there are over 300 participants from over 25 countries at JES!
On the track in the Berlin main train station, we had the pleasure of meeting Kimo, previously a member of the band Esperanto Desperado. In the end, we had a group of 10 people in our travel group to Cottbus! That worked particularly well, since we had two 5-people train tickets, Brandenburg-Berlin-Ticket which included the regions of Berlin and Brandenburg, so we could all travel for 5,20€ each.
When we changed to the bus in Cottbus, it was amusing to see so many of my Esperanto friends there! When you travel to and from Esperanto conferences, it can almost feel like you’re approaching Esperantoland, because you hear Esperanto from more and more people around you. In fact, on the bus to Burg, over half of the passengers were speaking Esperanto!
Once flying to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil after the Universala Kongreso (Universal Esperanto Congress) in 2002, I came across some Esperanto speakers I’d never met before and shocked them by saying “Pardonu” (Excuse me) as I passed by! In the end, they ended up helping me a great deal since my host in Rio was unavailable the first night I was there. They helped find me a place to stay for the night with Sylla Chaves, a famous Esperanto author in the city!
Anyway, let’s get back from winter in sunny Brazil back to winter in cold, snowy Germany. We arrived, registered and grabbed some food (vegetarian and vegan options also available). Then the show began while we were still eating! Well, two local politicians welcomed us in German with an Esperanto translation. It was quite amusing at one point as someone from the event organizers gave a very elaborate thank you with lots of details and formalities which was then simply translated to Koran dankon! (Heartfelt thanks!)
Then Kimo surprised us all by coming out and putting on a great concert! Despite his gray hair, he was much more youthful than many of the younger crowd who sat in the audience. He got everyone singing with classic hits like Ska-Virino (Ska woman, lyrics). His most popular song was probably Sola (Alone, lyrics) Both sounds can be found on Esperanto Desperado’s Album titled Brokantaĵoj (used merchandise) published by the Esperanto music company Vinilkosmo (CD, download).
Then we joined Pete Lypkie in the trinkejo (bar, literally: drinking-place) for a nice evening of chatting with old and new friends as well as spontaneously playing a game of flicking beer bottlecaps across the table which ended up with me spilling some of my beer on the table. But, no use crying over spilt beer! If you want to read Pete’s account of the same day, you can check it out on his lifelong language learning blog at Language Fixation. Come back soon to read more about this event!