San Francisco Esperantists Unite!
Alright, before anyone laughs at me let me first introduce this by saying that Esperanto is a hobby. I think it's a rather fun hobby, however, my interaction with other Esperantists have been limited to Lernu.net and one other person. I've always wanted a chance to meet other Esperantists face-to-face, however, it's a very limited language.
For those of you who aren't familiar, Esperanto is a constructed language intented as an international auxillary language. That is to say, a language which can be spoken between nations who do not share a common native language. Esperanto originated from a man by the name lf L. L. Zamenhof, who published a book in 1887 entitled "Unua Libro" (Trans: First Book). I first discovered Esperanto some years ago through a friend and found that it was incredibly easy. I started with Lernu and a lot of practice. Eventually I found that I adored Esperanto and in only about three months (of near immersion; speaking frequently with some one face-to-face, writing, reading and listening to Esperanto music) I went from a complete novice to an intermediate level.
Esperanto isn't for everyone, but if you're the type of person who is interested in picking up a second or a third language or some one who thought that they were to old for linguistic study, you might find that Esperanto is a good starting ground towards learning that second and subsequently third language. It's been shown that there is a benefit to learning Esperanto as an introduction to foreign languages and it can help for learning the fundamentals of linguistic sutdy in order to learn more conventional languages.
Esperanto has grown in popularity and is even offered as a Conversational Espearnto course at Stanford University, which offers free and open classes. I've often lamented that I live to far away to attend the classes.
So what's the plan? I'm going to attempt to start a San Francisco Esperantist group, who meet once a month and perhaps spread the interest of this language. Why join? Why not? If you're hoping to get better at Esperanto, perhaps you could be around other speakers who could help you (goodness knows I could benefit from some one correcting my grammar every now and then) or if you're interested in learning you could hear stories from other Esperantists about how they came about it.
If you're interested please feel free to contact me by E-mail or follow my SFEsperanto twitter account for some updates and conversation about how this group is going to start and where it will meet. Remember, tell your friends!