TO: Nathan Chad Georgia Fraser Peter Matthew Goldie Tim Alexander AJ Hugo Claire Danielle Ben Ian Mat Kevin Alex Mat Brendan Mandy Stuart Michèle Anthony Chris Maize Kevin Darshana Nico Tom Katelyn Aaron Ben Alex Jesper Josh Amani Sam Christian Thomas Evelyn Jess Luke Brendan Chris Harry Benjamin Dan Louie Dominica Hong Terry Trent Izzy Max Jamie Barnaby Sophie Zane Nina Ryan Greg Michael David Harrison Susan Andrew Monica and everyone whose name I have forgotten (sorry!) or whom I haven’t had the chance to talk to
SUBJECT: Freeplay 2015
MESSAGE: How can I put this in a way that doesn’t sound too dramatic or hyperbolic? I don’t think I’ve ever, ever felt so welcome in a community. In my entire life. Immediately after I landed in Melbourne last Wednesday, things got crazy (as my fantastic hosts can attest) and they never truly went back to normal. The festival’s been awesome, and lots of people far more important than I have already expressed far more eloquently the immense respect for the organisers one is bound to feel; but beyond the talks, the workshops, the fete… what really made this special for me was the sense of suddenly being surrounded by such great people. It takes a lot for me feel like I belong somewhere, to overcome the ever-present social uneasiness; I would never have guessed that after just one week, that anxiety would be no more than a faint murmur, essentially forgotten. That’s not my doing. It’s thanks to everyone who went out of their way to extend a hand, to introduce me to friends, to take a bit of time to chat and get to know each other… You have no idea how much it means. I hope Freeplay continues to thrive, and that in the following years I get to meet more of the kind and talented people who have contributed to its conviviality, which I can’t help but think is at the very heart of the event. I know I will do everything I can to become part of it, so that maybe, in the future, I can also show disoriented foreigners around.