So what’s the deal? Why the book? I hear you ask. Well, for lots of reasons really. I’ve always enjoyed writing from a young age. I remember sitting by a typewriter at about nine years old with Craig typing stories about football in the bedroom. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to write a book of some description. I’ve written diaries on and off through my entire life and they end up being thrown, lost or destroyed. I even tried Poetry at one point in my late teens and had some published but nothing I’m proud about. Now things have changed, not just within me but within the world. Thanks to the World Wide Web we can now save things online without any charge, any worry of storing reams of paperwork everywhere and with every online tool you could think of to help you along the way. There’s no doubt that I’ve changed too. After thirty-six years of making many wrong turns (more than most I’m sure my friends and family would agree), many wrong decisions and so many mistakes, maybe….just maybe….I’m finally grown up enough to accomplish something in my life.

I started the year wanting to make a Blog. I’ve made many websites in the past but just fancied trying a blog to see how it turned out. The plus sides of a blog are that it’s free, easy and most of all for me, it’s a new hobby to take into the New Year. So I started a diary and it gave me something to do, something to get my teeth stuck into each day. After just twenty days I realised that I had quite a lot of content already, and by the end of the year there would be more than enough to fill a book.  After finding out that Agnieszka, my girlfriend, was pregnant on top of the fact that this was clearly going to be a huge year for me as I tried to settle in Germany away from my English roots, I decided a book was going to be my goal for this year.

So ‘A Year Over The Wall’ was born. I know it seems like a strange title considering that the Berlin wall came down twenty-two years ago but after being here for a couple of months I realised that there was still quite a divide between the east and west. The east seems so much less advanced in so many ways. I’m living in Neuenhagen which is a thirty minute train journey to the east of Berlin centre and the biggest difference I’ve found as an Englishman is the language barrier. People to the west of the wall were always taught English in school so all the younger people and many of the older can manage a conversation with me. Here on the east though they were taught Russian in school until after the wall came down so although some younger Germans can speak English, very few of the older can and I’ve found myself right in the middle of them. The other very noticeable difference is the buildings. There are beautiful houses all over Germany but the sad thing is there are so many derelict houses and buildings here which are covered in graffiti and just left to rot. It really is a property developers dream as these are mainly detached villas which can be snapped up for next to nothing.

So that explains the title. To me, it feels like the wall is still there in so many ways and I am spending my first year here. I moved here on 1st November last year, 2010 and spent those first two months settling in and getting used to my new way of life. Now it’s time to live here. The holiday is over and it’s time to make a life over here. This is my story….
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