Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Biduum Noveboracense 2017

Salvete omnes!

I am just back from the first Biduum Noveboracense, held in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. I thought I'd share my experience and tell you some neat things I learned. It was about a four hour drive from my school, which wasn't ideal, but it was a heck of a lot closer than the other SALVI event I've been to in West Virginia! I wrote about that here. SALVI is also hoping to build regional nodes of itself so they can hold more Bidua throughout the country. So far they've had them in Los Angeles and Oklahoma, and they're planning more. Definitely subscribe to their blog if you're interested.

The basic deal with SALVI events is this: come make friends in Latin. That's basically it. I mean, there's a whole philosophical and pedagogical agenda to it, but what makes SALVI special is the atmosphere. I've heard Rusticatio described as "a big week-long house party in Latin." That's about right, minus the parts of a house party that are scariest to homebodies like me. The atmosphere is summed up with three dicta, thus:
regulae SALVIenses
serva patientiam!
Be patient, especially with yourself, but also with others. You will make a zillion mistakes, but that's okay. No one cares as much as you do. Keep trying.

mitte difficiliora - dic quod potes!
Throw out what's too hard, and say what you can. If you can't remember the exact word for what you want, find another way. For example, maybe you don't know how to say "Open the drawer please and get me a hand towel." That's fine. Instead, try this: quaeso, aperi hoc :points at drawer: et da mihi :mimes drying hands:. aqua in manibus est." Pointing and grunting is also a valid strategy.

memento te versari apud amicos
Remember that you're among friends. This is the big thing I like about SALVI. Sure, there're always be people you "click" with better than others. The expectation however is that we put that aside and treat one another kindly. The staff is explicitly there to HELP you through the experience, and not just to TEACH you something.

This Biduum was different from Rusticatio Veteranorum in a couple of key ways. First, it was Friday night through Sunday morning, so it was a LOT shorter. That length difference was my least favorite thing. bi is not enough duum! But that's a necessary limitation of doing these things during the school year. 

Secondly, there was more of a mix of proficiencies. Since RV is aimed at people with higher speaking & reading proficiencies, and Biduum is a mix, that's to be expected. I didn't mind this at all. In fact, it was kind of fun to hang out with people who hadn't done much spoken Latin and get to be one of the friendly (I hope) faces helping (I hope) them lose some of their shyness. At both RV and the Biduum, I felt totally safe asking questions during reading sessions.

Third, at RV, there is staff that feeds you. This is awesome. I was NOT looking forward to helping in the kitchen at Biduum because I am lazy. However, what I'd forgotten is that I like cooking and helping. I managed not to do a single dish the entire weekend, but I helped out a fair bit and definitely learned a LOT of useful words & expressions for food and cooking. 

Fourth, and this isn't a normal difference, but one notable difference between RV and this particular Biduum was BABIES! There were twin one year olds and a three month old, and they were so cute. If babies aren't your thing, not to worry; they are not a default feature of SALVI events. I did feel relieved, however, because I thought this would be my last immersion event for several years due to the kid I'm expecting in June. Now I feel like it doesn't have to be. I also learned some useful words for diapers and what babies do to them and so on, which will come in handy with my kid when I'm indoctrinating him/her into Latin nerddom enriching his/her brain by speaking Latin. The fact that there were babies running around was awesome for me personally, but it also expresses something about the comfiness of the atmosphere.

Anyway, so those are some words about my Biduum experience. Soon hopefully I will post two entries about different teaching & reading techniques we used. I still have to write them though so no promises!

No comments:

Post a Comment