For a general introduction to Esperanto, I think I'll refer to something I wrote almost six years ago: my first and only "zine". Its title is "How Esperanto Changed My Life" (4 MB PDF file).
To answer what happens at Esperanto meetings, I have to ponder a bit, because there are several different types:
- The "granddaddy of them all" is the annual one-week Universala Kongreso (worldwide conference), held in a different city each year. This year's was in Buenos Aires. The two that we've attended were in Japan (2007) and last year's in Iceland. Next year's in France will be special, being the 100th one. (The first was in 1905, but they weren't held during the years of the two world wars.)
Presentation about the Northern Lights
- A completely different type of gathering, held especially in Europe, is one meant for families who use Esperanto as one of their daily languages. Often the children in those families don't meet many other children who speak Esperanto, only other adults.
Daughter "helps" her dad give
a talk on graph theory
- Yet another style of meeting is the type that the eastern Canadians do so well: a weekend of just being together and doing excursions.
Walking tour in Ottawa
- Another kind of get-together is educational, to improve one's language skills. In July we were at that kind when we did the annual 8-day intensive Esperanto course, this year held at the University of Victoria.
Younger members of the Esperanto
course in Victoria
No matter the type of gathering, we always have fun being with other Esperantists. It just feels so good to be easily talking to people from all over the world, with nobody feeling inferior while trying to come up with the intended word or mangling the grammar. And that’s why we want to get in as many Esperanto events—and visit as many Esperanto friends—as possible, rather than see monuments and museums.