Last month, the German Esperanto Association held a communal national Esperanto conference at the same time as the Danish and Polish Esperanto Associations. I think this is brilliant, because the whole point of Esperanto is to speak to people of other languages, so this is a great way to bring people together internationally. In any case, this time I’d like to present Tristan Foy, who attended this as his first Esperanto conference. Learn more about his experience in his own words below.
Attending the Komuna Esperanto-Kongreso (KEK) in Berlin from the 25th to the 27th of May helped me finally realize a long-held dream: After years upon years of teaching myself Esperanto and reading it, I was finally going to be able to meet a group of fellow speakers, and maybe even some native speakers of the language, which has interested me since I was 14.
Upon arriving in Berlin I got myself promptly lost, as I have all the sense of direction of a broken chair. While wandering up and down the street looking for the Orangerie, I was approached by two individuals looking for some place I didn’t understand. But I noticed that their print out was in Esperanto and quickly I changed from a mixture of English and German (not sure which language they’d understand better) to the language we more or less all understood, although mine was probably the weakest, not having hardly ever used it with another soul.
I helped them find their hostels and even was able to translate for one and then we finally made it to the KEK in a taxi. I was surprised by how many people showed up: I had been expecting something around fifty, but as I recall, they could have been something up to four times that number.
What surprised me even more though was that I was actually able to converse with people and understand most of what they said to me. Even though it felt like my jaw was made of metal as my brain tried to adapt into Esperanto-mode, I could express much of what I wanted, and noted down several new words and expressions to study later.
In addition to attending the KEK itself, I also joined a small group in the Ekzotika Renkontiĝo (Exotic Meeting); a group in the KEK which focused on some of the more culturally diverse parts of Berlin. I visited two delicious Asian restaurants and spent a healthy part of my time at the Carnival of Cultures, which showcased examples of food, music, beer, clothing and gifts from the dozens of cultures that call Berlin their home.
But of course the best part was being able to finally meet other people, including even that rare breed of native Esperantists, with whom I could speak and stay in touch with after the KEK.
It was quite inspiring to finally see other people, both young and old, use Esperanto, and I definitely plan on participating in future Esperanto events.