The first time i remember being consciously aware of my being alive, of being in this world, was on the day we moved from Basel, Switzerland to Linz, Austria. I even remember the exact moment.

My best friend Philipp came past our house on the way to school — we were nine years old at the time — while i was playing with the hydraulic ramp of the truck that was carrying our belongings from Basel to Linz.

I remember being very excited about this massive and cool toy that i suddenly had and showed him which buttons to press in order to move the ramp.

He didn’t respond in his usual curious manner.

Instead he appeared to be sad while i did not understand how you could be sad when you had the opportunity to play with such a gorgeous device like a trucks’ hydraulic ramp and when i asked him, he didn’t want to talk.

The image of his sad eyes stuck with me. And during the day i had lots of time to think about why he might have been sad while we were on the eight hour drive to our new home. And at one point it dawned on me: we’re not going to see each other anymore every day. We will not continue to discover yet unknown parts of the city or find shop openings that had free icecream to offer, like we had done every single day the summer before.

There was a new thing in front of me and i had absolutely no idea of what it was. And when we approached Linz that evening during a beautiful sunset, i was torn between the feeling of loss and the feeling of overwhelming curiosity.

That was the day my childhood ended.

Thomas Schindler