“I didn’t intend to come to Amsterdam, but the opportunity arrived and I ended up here in 2009. I was impressed with the OBA and the Vondel Park. I immediately thought it was a massively artistic, stunning and colourful city. Years later I thought about coming to Amsterdam for my studies.
Together with a friend, I travelled and worked in America for a summer. In December we arrived in Amsterdam. We stayed in a cold anti-squat building in the middle of nowhere in Halfweg - no heating, and with the trains running right in front of our door, with the flight paths of Schiphol planes right above us. Not a particularly great second encounter with my new home. Within two weeks I flew back to Lithuania because I was sick of both the house and the city. People at home said, ‘’isn’t this an omen? Maybe you shouldn’t live there?’’
But the magic of my first encounter with Amsterdam was amazing and, because of that, I returned without thinking too hard. However, in the meantime I had changed and was beginning to see Amsterdam in a different light. It took me a year to figure out what I wanted to do. I came to study, but I didn’t sign up for a course. I wanted to follow my heart. I didn’t want to study; I wanted to improve myself as an artist and photographer. Amsterdam gave me the opportunity to change as a human being and as an artist.
Right now I’m very happy in Amsterdam. Everything fell into place. I have a network of friends, places I like to go to, hobbies; I am in a better place financially and live in a nice house. Now that my life is stable, I’ve given myself time to find out who I really am. Or at least ask myself questions such as, “Where do I belong? Or is belonging to something or somewhere necessary?”
My friends in Lithuania have pretty conservative opinions. They think everybody smokes weed in Amsterdam, nobody does anything worthwhile, and everybody lives an easy life. I have to convince them otherwise. I convince them, not simply by telling them, but also by showing them how I live and how I’m not like that at all.