Meet Luis Velasco from Spain. He came to Lithuania, fell in love with Vilnius and looked for his dream job. He was fearless about changing positions despite not knowing the language and settled down in the cold north while everyone else dreamed of never-ending sunshine. Velasco is a Spanish visual director who has now spent more than a year and a half in Lithuania.
© Asmeninio albumo nuotr.

What follows is his interview with Euroblogas.lt.

- Luis, why did you choose Lithuania and how did you end up here?

- Previously, I lived in Indonesia, where I studied with the help of the “Darmisava” scholarship. During my studies, I met and made friends with a lot of Lithuanians. After coming back to Europe, I travelled to numerous different countries and, after an invitation from my friends, I came to Lithuania. I grew fond of Vilnius and it seemed like there were a lot of opportunities here.

-How did you start?

- First, I found a place to stay and then started looking for friends and work. The fastest way to start off was to teach individual Spanish lessons. Knowing a language that is popular throughout the world is a big advantage, because then, there will always be people who will want to learn it. Teaching wasn’t very rewarding financially, so I moved on with my search.

A friend with whom I studied in Indonesia offered work on designing a book cover and getting it ready for printing, so that’s what I did. Through my job hunt, I found work as a creative teacher in an outdoor kindergarten. I would spend an entire day with children, nurturing their creative abilities.

- A Spaniard working in an outdoor kindergarten in the winter. Almost sounds like the start of a joke.

- It was very challenging for me. During the winter, I used to put on all the clothes that I had and think to myself “I am not worried about those kids, they won’t die, they’re Lithuanians. I am worried about myself.”

My first winter here was quite harsh because I wasn’t adequately prepared. The apartment that I was renting was very cold, so I followed the advice that my friend Raimonda gave me and filled plastic bottles with hot water and put them under my blanket to keep me warm during the night. This past winter was much easier.

Luis Velasco with Jurgis Didžiulis and his team
Luis Velasco with Jurgis Didžiulis and his team
© Asmeninio albumo nuotr.

- How did your life continue after the winter?

- In the middle of the winter, I decided that spending the entire day outside was too cold for me and I wanted to go back to my main speciality and passion – visual solutions. That is why I contacted AVON and became their graphic designer in the Baltic countries.

- Was all this work legal?

- Right after I arrived in Lithuania, I got myself an individual activity business certificate, which cost me a lot less than it would’ve cost me in Spain. During my first months, I paid about 27 euros. In Spain, it would’ve cost me more than 300 euros. This was another positive for me to choose life in Lithuania.

- Did you have any difficulties setting up documents to live in Lithuania?

- Because I am a citizen of the EU, everything was a lot easier. I sorted out all of the documents myself, but I sometimes, funny moments happened when I tried to communicate with the institution staff. In the end, we would always figure it out.

- What do you do now?

- Now I am a lecturer of photography in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and I also work with Jurgis Didžiulis (Lithuanian musician). I am responsible for all of his creative visuals, such as making videos, Facebook visualisations and graphic designs. I’ll have an opportunity to play guitar alongside him and I am currently practicing intensely to get ready for our performance.

The success story of a Spaniard in Lithuania
© Asmeninio albumo nuotr.

- Jurgis Didžiulis? How do you manage it all?

- The beauty of Lithuania is that in this small country, everybody knows each other. Making contacts and meeting people is relatively simple. People appreciate you and your work if you work hard and make sure what you do is of the highest quality. I think all of my jobs were acquired through relationships with other people, I was either recommended, offered a chance to join, acquainted with people that I was looking for or contacted them directly.

Meeting Jurgis was a funny story. I met an artist in the Rupert creative incubator who saw me and immediately said: “You have to meet Jurgis.” Last summer I was finishing my work and was looking for more opportunities. One of my friends arrived from Indonesia and asked me to shoot a video for his music here in Lithuania. About a month later, I got a message from the artist I met in in Rupert. The message said that he and Jurgis Didžiulis had met and are inviting me to come meet them.

At that moment, I was with my friend from whom I borrowed the camera to shoot the video. I started to doubt, should I really go? My friend encouraged me, and so I went. When Jurgis saw the camera in my arms, he said “I have a better one, you can borrow it from me,” That is how we became friends, and later colleagues. Rolling Stones magazine picked the video which I shot in Lithuania as the best music video in Indonesia.

- Was the Lithuanian language required for you to find work here?

- Not at all, English was enough. My friend Jesus couldn’t find work according to his profession in Spain, so I invited him to Lithuania, where he found work doing what he loved.

- How would you measure your life in Lithuania overall?

- I rate it very highly. Due to the amount of work, I haven’t had time for a vacation ever since I arrived.

Translated from Lithuanian by Aivaras Medeubetovas

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