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Okay, so we reached the middle of the year yesterday in our review of 2011 via Circus blogposts, and as the cold wind blows outside the windows of the office here on Rosenthaler Platz it is hard to picture those warm and sunny days of barbecues in the park where we left things, but we will use the power of the blog and an ability to link to take us back to the recent past…

July. The Women’s Football World Cup got serious as we reached the knock-out stages. Germany, as always, were great hosts of the tournament, but they fell foul on the pitch to a surprise defeat at the hands of the eventual winners Japan. Here at The Circus we made a film, brought Dandy of the Grotesque into Fabisch, and began our tours to Kreuzberg with Jim Hudson whilst Jule and the other Jim took people to explore Marzahn.

Into August and Rani delivered the first designs for the new cafe and lounge at the apartments, whilst Sasa and the gang began the long process of deciding what special things would be served there. Berlin commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall with a series of different events and exhibitions around the city, whilst we met a 70 year-old on his birthday who had been born in the very building that now houses The Circus Hotel. Meanwhile Andrew was having a weekly struggle with the weather, Toga was off to watch his team at the Olympic Stadium, and Sandra was getting “in the mood” with her plans for new apartments. It all seems so long ago…

In September we met Carl Oskar for the first time when he popped by the hotel for a visit, but otherwise it was work, work, work, work, on the Circus Apartments. Meanwhile, we were checking out the international literature festival, and many of our guests were gaining our complete admiration as they took on the Berlin Marathon course. As we moved into autumn a friend of ours published a book on a subject close to the hearts of the English-speaking staff members of The Circus – beer – whilst Preston ran a special photography tour for the festival of lights and Digel waved to passing members of the St Pauli football team on Torstraße.

Into November and we hosted the inaugural meeting of the Berlin St Georges Supporters Club down in Goldman’s Bar, began our new fundraising campaign with our friends at Multitude, celebrated Thanksgiving in the Circus Cafe and drank our first glasses of glühwein at the Berlin Christmas Markets.

And so we reach December and the end of 2011. Sometimes December can be a calm and quiet month at The Circus, but not this year. We had a film crew come by the hostel to make a special clip for our website (coming soon!) but mostly we were getting the apartments ready for launch, which we did last week.

So as Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaches, we reach the end of our special review of 2011 (part two), and we would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone – guests, staff, partners and friends – who have been with us during 2011 and the next year of the Circus story. In 2012 the Circus will be FIFTEEN years old… who could imagine what would have happened when the doors opened on that first 40-bed building close to Friedrichstraße.

Ah, enough of the nostalgia. See you soon.

As you might have seen on The Circus Blog, last week lots of bits and bobs from the hostel and hotel “lost and found” were given to our friends at Multitude to use for their fundraising efforts at the RAW Fleamarket. Isabelle, who works for both The Circus and is heavily involved in Multitude, sent us this quick report to let us know how it went…

“On Sunday 27th November nine volunteers (including myself!) who work at the NGO Multitude based here in Berlin were running a stand at the RAW-Tempel fleamarket. We were there with all the lost and found kindly donated by The Circus, and we held our pitch from 10am until 6pm… eight hours in which we raised €310 for Multitude. We will us this money to be able to buy more public transport tickets for the refugees that we support, as well as food for some special cooking evenings at the temporary refugee residences.

This was a great amount of money, but we also finished the day with quite a lot of clothes and other items that we could not sell. So we will bring these things directly to the refugees’ residences so that everyone living there can choose some clothes for themselves. Everyone at Multitude would like to give big thanks to The Circus and to say that we are looking forward to future markets… Isabelle.”

…and everyone at The Circus would like to give a great big WELL DONE to everyone who volunteered for the fleamarket, and congratulations on the money raised. We will keep you posted with future Multitude fundraising actions here on the Circus blog.

rawThis Sunday, after a two-week break, the RAW fleamarket is taking place at the former Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk near Warschauer Straße S-Bahn station in Friedrichshain. It’s a great, relatively new fleamarket, filled with all kinds of goodies and a crowd made up of students, locals and bargain hunters. This Sunday there will be a very special stall at the fleamarket, organised by friends of ours at Multitude.

Multitude is a Berlin-based NGO that focuses on refugee rights and their life in Berlin. It was founded in March 2011 and relies on the work of around 100 active volunteers. Once they arrive in Germany, refugees and other asylum seekers live in temporary accommodations, mostly on the outskirts of Berlin, as they wait for news on the asylum process, which can take months or even years. During this time they are unable to work and study, face restrictions on their freedom of movement, and need to get by on an income of around €40 a month.

Multitude’s idea is to visit and plan activities with the refugees, to help take their minds away from what can be an incredibly negative process that they have to deal with, and build a multicultural exchange between the refugees and the wider German society. The activities include German lessons, cooking and watching movies together, playing with the children, organising picnics in the park or games of basketball. To raise money to finance these activities Multitude will have their stall at the fleamarket on Sunday, which will be piled with clothes and other assorted goodies and curiosities that all come from the Circus lost and found. So if you ever stayed with us, left behind a pullover or a pair of flipflops, and never got in contact to claim them, then you can be happy that your contribution will be helping to make a small difference in the lives of people who find themselves in an extremely difficult situation.

The Multitude stall will be open from 10am to 6pm, will be staffed by Multitude volunteers, and they will be on hand  not only to sell you a bargain or two, but answer any questions you might have about the organisation.

Multitude Website
RAW Fleamarket Website
Google Maps