Berlin LO’G

My teaching hours have dropped rather dramatically recently. All of the groups that started in September or October came to a rather abrupt end in January. There also doesn’t seem to be much demand out there for English lessons at the moment.

All by myself...
All by myself…

While this is a little worrying, it is also part and parcel of being a freelancer, and instead of falling into a massive funk, I’ve been trying to find some more productive things to do in order to fill my current abundance of free time. (OK, there has been a little bit of funking and panicking, as well.)

One of these things was responding to an ad I saw on Craigslist, which was looking for writers for a new website called Berlin Logs, an online publication about, you guessed it, Berlin. After all, what better way to spend my free time than gallivanting around the city I love and then writing about it?

Writing in Berlin
Writing in Berlin

I got an email a couple of days later inviting me to a meet-up in a café, along with around ten other people who had responded to the ad. I arrived first (as usual) and met Daniyal, the man responsible for setting up the site. Tea was on the house which made me instantly warm to him.

Other people started arriving in dribs and drabs and soon we’d taken over most of the café. It was an interesting mix of people – Irish, English, American, Australian, German – all of whom were in Berlin for various reasons. Everyone introduced themselves and gave a little background information. (I talked about how it’s possible to almost get yourself lynched in Latvia.) Then Daniyal explained why we were all there.

Berlin Logs had actually started life as a German website but he couldn’t find enough German writers to keep it going – crazy Germans… So he’d decided to switch it to English. Good for me as I can write about four words in German and keep forgetting what the shortcut keys to the special characters are.

A lot of the current content had been translated from the original German site, but now we would have a team of English-speaking writers who would write about all sorts of topics, from the perspective of people who actually live here and really know the city – or are, at least, trying to get to know it. I thought it sounded like a great concept so I immediately committed to writing an article a week.

Me, hard at it.
Me, hard at it.

So far, it’s been absolutely wunderbar. It’s a fantastic excuse to go out and explore the city a little more and go to events that I otherwise might not have attended. This has led me to Grüne Woche (an international food and agricultural expo), a creepy abandoned water park, and the “could it be any more hipster?” Berlin Village Market.

New articles are going up every day and readership is growing. All of the writers have their own tone of voice and write about the things that interest them so I think it’s got a nice fresh feel. I, for one, am very happy to be part of it, and I’m hoping for great things in the future.

Below is an extract from my article on the derelict water park. To read all of it, just click on the link.

BLUB: From Rat Haven to Home-owner Heaven?

 

…As we walked along, Florian helpfully pointed out spots that would be useful for burying bodies, so very soon, we were both jumping at every cracked twig and crunch of broken glass. The silence was eerie, and the haze of falling snow didn’t do much to quell our giggly unease. However, the only sign of life we saw was a guy practising his BMX skills in a large derelict building, and he nervously scarpered when he saw us nervously peering at him through a hole in the wall. Although we didn’t see them, it was clear that some people had set up home in a couple of the smaller buildings. Opening a door and seeing a makeshift bed and some personal belongings felt like an invasion of privacy, so we quickly closed it again and moved on…

To read the full article, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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67 thoughts on “Berlin LO’G”

  1. I was thinking about you when I saw Kate Ferguson’s recent blog post. She’s an Irishwoman in Berlin working as a journalist and translator. (Do you know her? Just kidding.)

    Kate posted this link last week: “If you’re an Irish person who teaches, researches, writes or creates in an area related to language-learning,…”

    http://katekatharina.com/2015/02/10/calling-all-language-learning-enthusiasts/

    Heading over to read your post on Berlin Logs!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You wouldn’t even need a dust finger in our bathroom! We have red towels and their fluff gets EVERYWHERE. I can clean the sink then come back to the bathroom half an hour later and find red fluff all over it. Why?!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Free tea? So that’s why you keep sending us all over there to read your articles! 😉
    By the way, I sent your own about English teaching to a friend who wants to move to Berlin. She’s now terrified. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, tell her I’m sorry! It’s not impossible, it’s just a bit up and down – no guarantees from one month to the next. I can give her some schools to contact if you want to give her my email address! There’s not much work out there at the moment though!

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      1. She’s currently working as an English teacher in Karlsruhe (but as a part-time employee, not freelance), but her plan is to move by the end of the year so I will definitely put her in touch with you once she starts more concrete planning.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. thats the thing. there s money for the unemployed and social compensations etc but there will always be those who cant make it.

        btw I admire your optimizm and ability to find jobs so quick. must be the luck of the irish!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You can. Cheaper housing would be a great start. I’m old enough to remember when homelessness was really a minor issue. Then they decided to make the cities prettier, which involved tearing down the older, cheaper housing, or gentrifying it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s perfect! A great way to see more of the city and meet more people 🙂 One more article and I get a media pass so there’ll be no stopping me then har har 😉

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  3. WHERE IS THE FOOD EXPO POST???

    It’s really weird to reconcile Germany and squatters/homeless people, bc I expect all this issues to be efficiently solved in a German manner. It’s disappointing and depressing, that a state as successful as Germany might have failed here. I want to know why.

    “I talked about how it’s possible to almost get yourself lynched in Latvia.” – I would change that from “possible” to “almost inevitable”, bc you’re equally screwed for hating on latvia and praising it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. unemployed people get decent support from the state, free courses to learn a profession and there are cheap apartments for them so yeah most people on the street have chosen to live this way. there a few punks near the university where I work who just sit around all day with their dogs and beg for money. I think if they have money for all this flashy punk gear, money to feed their dogs to do the haircuts, jewelery etc I dont know why they cant just get a job to pay the bills

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, there are quite a few people like that near where I live! They just sit around listening to music and drinking and then beg you for money when you walk past. I’m like ‘um, what am I giving you money for? So you can get another tattoo?’

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