adventures take you to unexpected places
One March day I decided to go for one of these so called networking events. It turned out to be much less than that and so much more than that. I met the most awesome of people and was asked to write a post. And this was the beginning.
May. A friend was going for a Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. Sounded like a cool event of course, language learners united, 4 days of talks and mingling. But Berlin? Hostel booking, travel hassle, paying money, socialising… seemed a bit too much. Until I saw , the creator of Toki Pona Sonja will be there giving a talk and selling the newly published TP book. I could get a signed pu! To go or not to go turned into an easy decision.
We had some nice TP and non-TP related chats. That she liked my stickers pleased me too. And most of all, it was comforting to hear from the creator herself that she is not prescriptive about it – so all the so-to-the-point discussions and criticising each other over trivialities on the Internet is missing the point of the language. So apart from the signed pu what I brought from Berlin was Toki Pona linguistic freedom.
November. Email from Memrise Ben. A call for assistance in this. An event that turned out to be a mix of creative output, language learning and philosophical discussions. The Guardian’s journalist was present*, Sonja joined us on Skype, Memrise magicians made super funny videos, people played games. For two days we were all in a Toki Pona universe. It was all closed off with a dreamy Christmas party. It was a shame to land back in reality. Or rather, a shame that my daily reality is is not closer to being that pona.
* She described the event here.
I emailed my favourite academic, researching attitudes to conlangs and as a casual note she mentioned she was giving a talk at the upcoming LCC6 which for the first time was taking place in the UK (not the US). “How did I not know about it earlier?!” I thought and quickly booked a ticket to Horsham where it was meant to take place on April 25-26. Talks were inspiring and at the same time… depressing. In the sense that, when you are confronted with too big talents you feel like the progress you’d have to make is to immense for it to be worth trying. People who could have invented the world (and indeed they did) – visionaries writing stories, creating races, maps and languages with maths systems and orthographies. Highlights of the event were David Peterson (of course!) “the one who made it in the world” and Britton Watkins, an author of many stunning writing systems and fonts who was also filming the event for the purpose of a conlang documentary.
A very surreal event all together. But added another grain to my growing determination to learn Láadan.
Sometime in perhaps March or April 2015, jan Sonja toki tawa mi kepeken Facebook. She said there is guy who is writing a feature about Toki Pona for the Atlantic and is looking to interview some speakers. Of course I was interested. I spent a whole hour with monsieur Roc Morin and said many more and less silly things. It was fun to be talking about TP after so much time of not really using it. I forgot about it, until the article finally came out and I became “the Polish citizen” (at least among my Facebook followers). Then it got republished in the Business Insider and I seemed to have seen it allover social media (perhaps because I follow all TP and language related groups). Needless to say the TP Facebook groups experienced an influx of member request. Wohoo!
Another article that was somewhat related to TP and to Adventure 3 above. It turned out that one of the Hackathon’s participants was a New Scientist journalist working on an article about language learning apps. TP received a small mention and was credited with helping Hannah learn Spanish.