Revisiting London, and A New Trip To Madrid

This blog posts omits The Edinburgh Language Event. See last blog post before this one for Edinburgh.

So in the last blog post, I talked about the fun, Edinburgh Language Event, but how did I arrive there in the first place…

Continue reading “Revisiting London, and A New Trip To Madrid”

The Edinburgh Language Event in early 2020

Hi everyone! I’d like to first apologize for lack of posts and updates about what I have been doing, as I have been very quiet after my Brazil trip. What exactly have I been doing and studying, I will reveal in a post shortly. But, I will tell everyone about a small but new language conference I just attended this past leap weekend. (February 29th was on Saturday)

What up from London! As I just arrived here from Edinburgh, at the time of writing, here is where the journey began. After a few days, I went up to Edinburgh on the LNER British trains on Friday morning. (What I ended up doing in London, I will reveal in the next post.) I arrived in London a little after 3 PM, and before anything, I had planned to reunite with friends first before meeting everyone else at the Welcome Drinks evening at a bar across the street from the Edinburgh Waverly train station. Well, it kinda went like that. I met one friend, and ended up doing something really neat for his YouTube channel. (Video will be shared on my social media networks once it’s released.) I actually met more of my friends at the welcome event rather than checking in at my accommodation first. Oops! (Contemplating this, I’ve been a horrible planner that weekend. Haha) Once I left my stuff, I helped my friend celebrate her birthday with her friend, and decided to meet everyone else the next day rather than meet them back at the bar.

So on Saturday morning, we went to the French Institute of Edinburgh, the host venue of the Language Event. It was a very elegant venue. The event was held on the first floor (second floor if you’re an American. Haha), where we had a room for us to hold the talks, and then get a break outside the room. There was only 1 track for talks, so we were all in the room watching the presentations. Although the theme of the event was to showcase the various languages of the British Isles, there were a few talks about other topics, such as the Ladino language, a study of sex, drugs, and multilingualism, a talk about a polyglot’s impressive book collection, and a study on bilingualism and autism, to name a few. During the breaks, we were able to have something to keep up energized at the café on the ground floor, or lunch. We were able to chat with fellow attendees, and chat with the sponsors present at the event. During lunch that Saturday, the craving for fish and chips won out among my friend circle, and we tried a restaurant for said meal. Saturday’s portion of the event went a little longer than Sunday, because of the earlier start time on Saturday.

That evening, a large group of us went to another local, but big restaurant in the city. This part was planned a while ago, but since it seemed that the place was able to accommodate more hungry polyglots, myself and my 2 roommates/friends squeezed in and attended. I would estimate that about half of the entire cast of attendees (about 100 or so in total) had dinner and drinks there. Most of the group followed along to a local bar afterwards, where we continued the chats until we all went home for the night.

Sunday was a another day of great talks. I did not attend the chats after lunch, where I decided to stay local and go to the café instead of outside, and went to take a nap back at my hotel. But I really enjoyed the early talks I saw: the impressive language book collection, how learning Welsh led to a job teaching Russian, among other things, and a study on bilingualism and autism. After I saw the last presentations on language learning, it was time to end the neat, little conference. A raffle took place to give away a set of language books for Welsh, which I wanted to participate in but never found the time to sign up for it, but I’m happy for the winner, nonetheless. (I thought the raffle prize was for Scots, which I have developed an interest in.) Richard Simcott then introduced the team of organizers of the Edinburgh Language Event, which also included Gary McCann and Maureen. He also made a nice announcement, stating that the concept of The Language Event is something he created to give access of a language conference to those that don’t usually get it, given how far some locations can be for certain polyglots. He announced a Language Event for Auckland, New Zealand, for July 17-18, later this year. (Those dates are a Friday-Saturday, although he may mean that weekend of Saturday-Sunday), and 2 weeks after, The Language Event will be going back to its first city, Melbourne, Australia, that first weekend in August. He said that he is also open to taking The Language Event to a place that could want it, so anyone reading now that may have a location suggestion, hit him up. Haha

We wrapped up the night quickly escaping to a local sports pub, where we found perhaps the cheapest beer in Edinburgh (this statement may be a stretch, but paying 2.50 for a Sol beer was amazing for me. Haha). We all got Thai food at a nearby Thai restaurant and took it to the bar, but not before having ourselves a fun moment of polyglottery. The workers were surprised to see a big group walk into the place on a Sunday night, and they were a bit curious as to why. I stepped in to explained that there was a language conference that happened that weekend and we had just wrapped up. I asked her where she was from, given the fact that she didn’t seem to be a local, and answered Greece. A few of us spoke Greek to her and her face lit up, and was impressed. She asked us how did we learn, and why, and we asked her where in Greece she was from, and shared a few fun phrases in Greek. We all then went back to the bar, ate, drank, talked in various languages, about various topics, and even saw some football, as that Sunday evening was the evening of Spain’s “El Clasico” between Spanish rivals Real Madrid (host of the match) and FC Barcelona.

The experience was a little similar to the time when I attended North America’s first language conference (which would later be named Montreal LangFest), because we were in a great, lovely city, there were a small number of attendees (this was done on purpose, and ticket sales were capped) which allowed us to get to know each other, and there were really good presentations. I actually didn’t do much tourism of Edinburgh until Monday morning, but for good reason. Haha. I had a wonderful time being in Edinburgh, catching up with my close friends, the polyglot community, and meeting great new people. If there is another event in Edinburgh next year, I would show interest in returning, but I’ll see how things play out. A huge thank you to the organizing team for the hard work, and when I get the time, I’m off to search for the Scots Radio channel online. Haha.

P.S. My experience of being in the U.K., and my next country, Spain, will be in my next post. See you all in a bit.

Let’s Close Out 2019, and See What’s Going On In 2020!

Hi everyone! I haven’t written one of these in a while, but I haven’t forgotten about it. Especially in this case when we’ve reached the end of a great year! Let me review the languages done, the trips, and some bonus things…

In 2019, I started learning Czech, and Portuguese. I’ve gotten to a decent level in both, but I was also studying Slovak for a return to Bratislava for the 2019 Polyglot Gathering. As the year ends, I can admit a bit of a secret; at the beginning of the year, in the summer, I was planning to start studying Ukrainian. I already had a good textbook in mind to start studying it, and I was also planning a trip to Ukraine during the Slavic trip I made in the summer. However, I ran out of time to fit a few days for Ukraine in the summer trip, so I had to leave it for another time, and then, after returning from that trip, I decided to go back to studying Serbo-Croatian, but I picked up more momentum after mid-October. After announcing that I’m making a trip to Brazil, I went back to studying Portuguese, but my European accent and vocabulary currently still has a bigger influence on it than the Brazilian accent, and I’m still trying to develop it.

In the section of the language conference trips, I was only able to do a Double this year, attending the 2019 Polyglot Gathering and the 2019 Montreal LangFest. I had fun going to my first Gathering in 2018, but I did better this year. Giving a workshop on something that I really liked, and that later on in the year, served as something really cool and useful, and having more opportunities to practice Slovak and meet more people at the Gathering and have a lot of fun. In Canada, it was a new set of firsts and breaking traditions at LangFest, new venue, new people, and karaoke night. I sadly was not able to go to the Polyglot Conference in Fukuoka, Japan, but by the looks of it, it was a grand event, with a lot of singing and interviews done.

It was quite amazing having gone back to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, France, and Canada, and go to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Bulgaria for the first time, and to be able to close out the year in Brazil.

Thinking about 2020, I have my language projects set, but not chronologically. I’ll start off in Brazil, and plan to go back to Portugal later in the year, so Portuguese will have a big presence in 2020. I’m also planning another trip to the Balkans, as well as a happy return to Poland for the 2020 Polyglot Gathering, which will be held there for the first time, so I’ll be going back to studying Polish as well, and also hoping to do much better with it than the last time I went there.

As most of my year is shrouded in mystery, I do know that I plan to make another return, this time to Mexico, to my family’s home state of Puebla. I usually go there to visit family, but in October, there is a wonderful reason: the 2020 LangFest Conference, or the PolyglotFest, or just the Polyglot Conference. Now why am I coming up with these funny names for what will happen in October, you ask? Well, the story is that the 2020 Montreal LangFest will actually not take place in Montreal, in August, but will take place in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, in October 2020, in a historic one time fusion with the Polyglot Conference. Being that there were going to be 2 language conferences in the same continent in a span of 2 months, this rare, possible one time merger makes sense. I am looking forward to many of my polyglot friends coming to Puebla to the event, and I have some ideas in my head about it, but I’ll hush for now. Haha. It is as exciting as when the Polyglot Conference was held in my home city, NYC, back in 2015.

I am also embarking on a possible new career path: online English teacher. I’ve researched that it isn’t easy in the beginning, but I hope that it goes well for me. I’ve liked helping learners, and done so in person for a few years, and now, I’m taking my talents online, and seeing where it can take me. Wish me luck!

I hope that you all, my amazing readers, friends, fans, have an amazing and successful 2020, and if you are also a language enthusiast, I hope to see you at either one of the 2 language conferences in 2020. There’s only 2 of them in 2020. Haha.

P.S. Thank you Anja S. for helping to make the Polyglot Conference going to Cholula, Puebla happen. You are awesome!