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.
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?
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.
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.