Gee, January has gone by quickly, and it's time for an end-of-month blog entry. Everything is going well in our preparations. We lined up our mover for February 20. We switched our large storage unit—found one in the same building that's a tad bigger, brighter, near a better elevator, and cheaper, so that was a no-brainer. Fortunately we didn't yet have too much stored in it, so it only took an hour to move everything. We continue to pack boxes and bring them to the storage unit.
But the best news this month is how well Pasporta Servo is working. To refresh your memory, this is a service whereby Esperanto speakers offer their homes for free to other Esperanto speakers. We were hosts ourselves 25 years ago, and had about ten guests from foreign countries over several years; also, Les used it in Berlin at that time. We were a bit concerned because Pasporta Servo has been defunct for the past few years, with nobody to take it on (an unpaid volunteer job). It was always a paper book that was published each year, and you could buy a copy for a nominal amount. Last year we heard that somebody was trying to get it going again, but online this time. Word was that it would be ready by January, and—amazingly—it was!
How exciting the first time we logged on, to see where all the offers were coming from. We wrote to about ten people, and got replies from most, almost all positive. So we now have two-night stays lined up with six families: in Berlin, Herzberg (Germany), Bruges, Brussels, Bern, and central England. Not only will this save money, but it gives us a chance to see how people live in each of those places, and the pleasure of meeting new Esperantists. (Actually, two of the hosts are not new to us; we met them at the family conference in Xanten Germany two years ago.) The hosts are very kind; for instance, the one in Bruges has offered to take us bike riding through the town and to the seashore. We realize that it's probably too early to get people to commit (seven months ahead, in some cases), so—now that we know that it works—we'll probably back off for a few months before trying to line up hosts in other places. In addition to homestays through Pasporta Servo, we'll be staying with Esperanto penpals in several cities.
The other thing we've been doing this month is registering for Esperanto events. We're now signed up for the big international conference in Lille (8 days), the Italian meetup in San Benedetto del Tronto (7 days), a class/tourism combination in Martin, Slovakia (9 days), and a family get-together in the Grésillon castle in the Loire valley (8 days). We're waiting for registrations to open for the short conference in Glasgow, a family affair in Esztergom, Hungary, and a few days at the Esperanto Cultural Center in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
The high-speed Internet at the boat is working great, which makes Les happy, and bodes well for the two months that we'll be living there. We're both very excited about our upcoming adventure, and we can't wait to get started.
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