For someone who lives (and makes a living) on the Internet, I've been surprisingly delinquent in posting here regularly. Months ago, I started collecting topics on Wunderlist that I want to write up. Instead of actually getting them out there, the list just keeps getting longer! In lieu of all those, here's a not-so-brief update on what's going on with me.
The biggest news first (and probably pretty obvious): I got my visa to stay in Berlin: a freelance work permit!
In the middle of January I moved into an apartment in Kreuzberg, not too far from Cocolo, one of my favorite ramen places in Berlin, and coincidentally down the street from Feli, a San Francisco, Hamburg, and now Berlin friend.
My friend David and I are thinking about finding a place together though not in a rush, so if you happen to hear of any great 3-4 room apartments with a balcony in Berlin with good transit connections, keep us in mind!
The good folks at Democrats Abroad Berlin elected me to the board, where I'm serving as the Communications and Media Coordinator. I'm really looking forward to planning working together with the new board and getting some of our ideas off the ground to engage Americans and people interested in U.S. politics over the next two years. If that sounds like fun to you, drop me a line.
Finally, I've been tossing around the idea of starting a podcast (in English) about being all the exciting things going on in Berlin. Since it's about stuff that I like, it'll probably be a mix of cultural stuff, events, tech, and miscellanea. Suggestions, advice, ideas, and offers to come on the as-yet-undebuted show are welcome.
Through a lucky confluence of events, I started off the year with an exciting project: organizing a trip in March to San Francisco and Seattle for a group of German media folks (editors and publishers). I got to work with Ulrike Langer and Annette Milz (Chefrunde, Medium Magazin), and we put together an eye-opening set of technology and media companies, focusing not only what they're changing/disrupting but also how they're doing it.
I just signed on for the New York version of the trip at the end of June / early July, so I welcome any suggestions for and introductions to New York-based startups.
I've also been working on a project for a documentary film, The Forecaster. We're putting together a crossmedia website to accompany the film, which covers a lot of historical and financial topics. I'm working on pulling together the editorial content and links to resources for people who want to know more about things like the Nikkei crash in 1990 or the role currency played in the fall of Rome, or even what caused the housing crisis (though Planet Money has done that better than just about anyone).
What's especially fun has been just being introduced to various startups in Berlin and getting to know the cool things that people are working on. They deserve their own blog posts, but most recently: Kitchen Stories (thanks Verena!), TestCloud (run by another SFer in exile, Frederik), and Resmio (I owe Yasha a coffee).
In December, I flew to Michigan and spent Christmas with my family there, which in addition to being a much needed visit, was calculated to put me right over the threshhold for United Premier Gold. If you didn't know that about me, I am a little obsessive about frequent flyer programs and collecting miles. So far all I've gotten out of it is picking Economy Plus seats early on United flights and some time in a lounge in Newark.
One of my reasons for moving to Europe was to travel more and to do it spontaneously. That's how I ended up deciding a week or two before Mobile World Congress and 4 Years From Now to go to Barcelona. Many thanks to the friends who convinced me that it would be really fun and not stressful (Hendric, Feli, Malte) and to GfK for the extra conference pass.
With just a weekend back in Berlin, I flew off to San Francisco for about two weeks the above trip and also to catch up with all the friends and folks I didn't really say goodbye to when I left a year ago on my sabbatical (which then turned into staying in Berlin forever). I also took the time to clean out my old room in the Mission, which was the last big thing tying me to the city. Surprisingly, despite how striking San Francisco is, gorgeous views like this made me happy to be there, but not heartsick for what is probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived.
Seattle was a great way to round out my West coast return, I hadn't been there since I lived in Portland and my parents took us on a trip through the Pacific Northwest.
For the next few months, I'm planning on mostly staying put and enjoying the summer in Berlin, though I'll be in New York (and Philadelphia), and there's a part of me that wants to take a last minute trip to Pioneers Festival in Vienna.