Why should I spend eight hours a day working at something I am not interested in? Just to get a reward in the form of paper which allows me to pay the rent for my house, in which I don’t spend much time since I am working all day. That kind of things never made any sense to me. If you ask the people here, they simply answer: „Yeah that’s how it is.“ But my mind just does not get it. How can people take everything here for granted? They don’t ask, they never criticize. Their constant monotony emotion made me so angry. And anger can cause a lot of things. Once you question other peoples lifestyle, you criticize their way of thinking, yeah then they start to defend themselves. Because, of course, they need to protect the way they live. Well, let’s go the point of WHAT they actually need to defend. And after some time, they realize .. nothing at all
Sometimes in life, there is no why. When I was 15 years old, my mother died. From that point on, everything changed for me. All that remained from my family was my father and me. And grief. My father suffered a lot, and I remember that I turned into “the strong” one, helping him and being there as much as possible.
I learned to deal with the situation, but the sadness devasted my father and slowly broke him. When I was 18 years old, he got diagnosed with cancer. It was tough. This year, I was finishing high school, and in September, I decided to leave my home, South Tyrol and move to Vienna as I wanted to study there. A new place, new people. Experiencing a different surrounding. Staying at home and watching my father die would have been unbearable.
One year later, my dad had an epileptic fit and got transferred into the hospital. I came back to South Tyrol immediately. Inwardly, I knew that the time had come to say goodbye to him. Indeed, two days later, I got a call from my aunt that he was on the verge of death.
Now it has been 5 years that I live in Vienna, and it feels almost like home. I am lucky to have a close friends circle. I learned that family is not always connected by blood. It is important to live in the moment. To continue. Living with the thought that there is not always an answer to what has happened.”
I want to study artificial intelligence. I am fascinated by facts and numbers. I like it much more than writing for example. During high school, I already developed an interest in maths. I remember sitting at home, calculating and calculating. I practiced for hours. Well, it all paid off. One day, I suddenly, had this moment when I started to understand. I saw and understood mathematical relationships. Chaotic numbers changed to the pattern of pure ordinary.
My passion for mathematics grew enormously during that time. Slowly I considered studying in that field. For real, I needed a study in which one has to think logically without having to deal with a lot of text, I honestly don’t really like writing. Accidentally, I stumbled upon the program “artificial intelligence” which is located in Groningen, Netherlands.
Artificial intelligence interests me because it is a super new, modern but also very complex study. Definitely, it will provide us with many technical opportunities in the future to make operations more efficient and faster. Also, it combines various disciplines such as computer science, logic, philosophy, and artificial thinking. I mean isn’t there anything more exciting than the human brain?
I love skateboarding. Back in the days, I can’t really remember the first time standing on a board. The more I practised the better I became and that also leads one to keep continuing it. Once I felt confident enough I also started to go more often to the skatepark. Here, I realised that skating is still more accomplished by men. I remember feeling sometimes ashamed by getting judged by others. But that’s part of it. Sometimes you fail, and that’s totally okay. We all do. Skating teaches me that you can’t lose. You either win or learn. Time goes on and skateboarding became so much more for me. I see it as a certain kind of meditation, because in the moment of movement I easily can forget everything around me and only focus purely on myself.
I am 26 years old and study psychology. It’s been a year since I made the decision to move from Chile to Austria to continue my studies. I had many ideas and happy expectations of the Austrian culture. However, after my first month here in Austria, I saw how big the cultural difference were. I somehow felt strange, left alone and sad. I lacked the warmth and closeness of my Chilean friends and family so much. Well, I guess that was mostly because I was not able to speak and understand German. I could not participate in society and that really had a negative impact on my self-esteem. I believe that without speaking the native language one is losing his own identity. However, after a while, it got slowly better and better.
Things changed and I am feeling involved and accepted now. It was definitely a hard time but it gave me to unique chance to grow over my boundaries.
My parents told me that I loved music very early on. Already at the age of four, I started to sing the songs I heard on the radio and I loved dancing too. At that time a student-founded a children’s choir in a neighbouring village and my parents sent me there. That’s where I started singing and it did not take me too long to perform as a soloist at a concert. I was only five years old then. Besides that, the teacher motivated me to play the violin. After that, she taught me how to play the flute and all the basics. I felt that I already had an inner final decision for music. A decision that influenced my whole life tremendously. I always did my “homework” well and after a while started playing the piano. Years passed and I realized that my hard practice paid off.
After having participated in a lot of concert and festivals, I got the opportunity to create my own concert together with a class mate for one evening and to moderate it myself.
Many people who supported and accompanied me in my music career appeared on that day. Well, that was a very emotional and touching moment for me. To know, these people are here to listen to me. Some of them have accompanied me on my musical career since I was little. Music teachers became my best friends, the people who understood me without the need to exchange a single ord.
Even if it is not always easy – the last few years have brought me to make a decision again and again, very deep inside, I knew: the music is there. And it will always be that way.
A pair of dark eyes is watching me attentively.
Jakob takes a puff of his cigarette and lets the smoke slowly move over his lips. “It has definitely changed me.” Laughter wrinkles frame his eyes. “To be on the road for 18 months is a lot of time to see things from a completely different perspective. The best decision I could make.”
“One of my highlights was my trip to Colombia. Well, I just left Santa Marta and arrived in Minca. I planned a trip to the lost city. For 5 days and four nights, I was in the jungle and this was the most exhausting trip in my life. Additionally, I suffered from a peanut allergy which did not make the situation much better.“
„Well, if you have the chance to do something like that – go for it. It is crazy how much you growing beyond your borders. It’s s true. The way is the goal. Not only the goal itself is from importance.. because during this whole trip I had fought a constant battle against myself. I guess this was triggered due to the stimulating climate and the insane effort the trip costed me.
However, there were positive aspects as well. I finally found peace with myself and could process things which burdened me.”
Jacob squeezed out his cigarette.
Even if I was really fucked up in the end of this trip, at some point you just want to get the best out of yourself.
You simply enjoy what remains. The little things. For example, when the humidity settles on the leaves and sunlight shines on them.”
“We should generally be more open, towards every single person. Just fight these prejudices. It is also important to realise that you can learn the most from the poorest. They give the most. For the simple reason that they have nothing. Following this attitude: I do good, to do something good for myself. I give good things in order to receive good things. It’s that simple.