You grew up in Lithuania , what did you study there?
Multimedia art, a university education actually, but comparable to an academy of arts.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
First I went to Spain on vacation and there I met Mario, we fell in love, he lived there but later he went back to the Netherlands and so I went there too. That was easier location for me to combine with studying in Lithuania. I was in the Netherlands for 3 months and 1 month in Lithuania, I went up and down by plane. That was fun, always a different environment.
Working in the Netherlands and partying in Lithuania.
How did you learn Dutch?
Suddenly I turned out to be pregnant, I just copied my mother, history repeats itself: getting pregnant right after the study, haha. So I had spare time and started learning Dutch. I followed a basic training from the government. I have a level 2 diploma in the Netherlands. But I also learned a lot watching daily a Dutch soap-serie: ‘Good Times, Bad Times’.
You lived with Mario in Utrecht, how did you like that?
Nice, Utrecht is beautiful and clean and the people who live there are smart. But like in Lithuania, I missed the outdoors.
How is the climate in Lithuania then?
In summer it is warm and not so variable like in Holland, but winter lasts even longer than in the Netherlands. Sometimes it really took too long before summer came. I don’t want to go back, I never say ‘never’, but at least not for the climate. I also left when I was young, I was 24 years old, everything is changed.
And what did you do in the Netherlands?
I worked at many factories through employment agencies, because I did not speak Dutch. At a biscuit factory, at Remia, I also work here in Estepona with Remia sauce, it’s haunting me. In the beginning I liked the job and I met a lot of different people, but in the end it is very monotonous work. It also pays really bad, hard work for little money.
After that I also worked online for a year for an English company, designing cards. That was fun. Graphic design. I did that at home, alone.
Then we got the plan to leave for Spain. I always wanted to, but first we got our son Troy and then you are busy with other things. When Troy was 3 years old, we thought, “Now we have to go, things will get trickier later!”
Mario’s mom is Spanish right?
Yes, every holiday we went to Spain, so we knew what it was like. But it is always different if you actually live there. But Mario already spoke Spanish, so that made it a lot easier. In the Netherlands he always had to help me, translating and he did it again here. But he liked to do that.
Mario’s cousin already lived in Estepona and Mario had all kinds of family in Marbella, so it was easier to find a house. At first we wanted to go to Marbella, I thought it would be more convenient to find work, since I only spoke English. But the houses in Estepona were considerably cheaper…
What did you do in Estepona?
At first I followed Spanish lessons from the municipality. After that I started quite soon working as a waitress at restaurant Vice Versa in the harbor. I also thought that I would learn Spanish much faster in real time. I worked at Vice Versa for 8 months and then I looked for something different and the next day I passed restaurant Sem’s on the boulevard in Estepona. There was a Dutch girl, from Eindhoven, who worked there and she said: ‘what are you doing here?’ because she knew I was working at Vice Versa. When I said I was looking for something new, she said I could work at Sem’s. So I have been working there ever since, from the start. Sem’s is the restaurant of a Dutch couple. Very nice that we’ve started together, tasting cocktails before putting them on the menu…, a nice experience.
How’s your son Troy doing here in Estepona?
Troy was 4 years old when we came to live here. Troy is used to live here, he misses his grandmother from Lithuania and stuff, he misses some people, but I just love that. Troy speaks a mixture of Spanish and English. I mainly speak English with Troy, I don’t even think in Lithuanian anymore… I also speak a little Spanish, but I don’t want to teach him wrongly. If I also speak Lithuanian… That’s too much. His father speaks Spanish to him.
You broke up and you live in a house in the center?
Yes, I am very happy with my house.
You are also tattooing, how did that start?
I always liked tattoos, but I didn’t dare before. Too little confidence I think, I thought I was not good enough. But then I ran into people who were very free, ‘hippie-free’, and they said to me ‘just do it, you can use my tattoo machine, if you want you can just try it.’ And I got help how to handle the machine. And later others also wanted tattoos from me … So I taught myself and I learned a bit watching YouTube instructions. Now I have everything I need: machine and inks.
Sometimes I get pig skin from the butcher to practice tattooing. The first time on a person was really scary, just like driving for the first time… I was really nervous. I started with a friend, Chris, and that tattoo worked out well, but I had also practiced a lot on the piggy, haha. At the moment, in the lockdown, I also tattoo a lot on my own skin, but it is uncomfortable and I also want to have beautiful tattoos on myself, not just exercises. I also wear shorts many times here of course. I don’t have that much place on my body to tattoo and I can’t even reach many places, haha.
You are now a waitress at Sem’s, but how would you like to see the future?
I want to get better at tattooing step by step and then I would like it to become my profession.
Would you rather work for yourself or for a company?
At the moment it is of course very difficult to work as an autónomo (entrepeneur), with all the costs that come with it, so I have to think carefully about it… In the Netherlands you are helped much more being an entrepreneur. So it’s probably best to work for someone else for the time being. Or maybe like two days as a waitress and the other days tattooing. A nice mix. I also enjoy my work as a waitress and I like to see Ida and Gerrie from Sem’s.
You are free on Wednesdays and Saturdays, what do you do on those days?
Wednesday morning I have me-time: for drawing, for tattooing, Troy is then at school. On Saturday I help Troy with his homework and split the time between the two of us. We always have a nice breakfast together and no rush, quality time. Now (lockdown) we suddenly have a lot of quality time, haha. But nice, we are baking pancakes and stuff …
What are your hobbies?
Drawing and sports. Like ‘body pump’, I made a small sports department in the attic of my house. As a waitress I also exercise a lot, but I still use other muscles with this kind of exercise. I also like music and reading, my favorites are esoteric books. That is really my kind of stuff: mystical world, so symbols interest me. Hence my interest in tattoos, you can see a lot of symbolism in that.
Do you often have visitors from the Netherlands or Lithuania?
Yes, my sister occasionally comes from the Netherlands and my mother from Lithuania.
You also have a twin brother?
Yes, he lives in Norway, but always goes back to Lithuania every 3 weeks. He was just about to come to Estepona, the planning was never right before and now: Corona… But hey, it will be all right.
Do you have a lot of contact with family via Skype or something?
Yes. Especially when I and Mario broke up, I had a lot of support from them. The divorce was difficult for both of us, but we are getting along well now.
Do you speak Spanish?
Yes, but not perfect! For example, if I want to speak with people from South America, I can’t understand them. That is a completely different kind of Spanish.
Have you made friends yet?
Yes. A lot! From different countries, for example Christian from Denmark and Jacob from Italy. And Irma, from Lithuania, she works at Louie Louie in the harbor. She has lived here for so long, she is almost Spanish. I ran into her by chance. You don’t expect that to happen.
What do you like about Estepona?
That it looks like my grandma’s village, it feels like home, when I walk here, flowers everywhere, everyone is happy, colors everywhere. What is also so nice is that it is not too big. Larger cities are ‘colder’ than smaller ones. If Troy is walking alone on the street, everyone will ask: ‘Where’s your mother?’. You wouldn’t expect that in a bigger city.
What are your favorite restaurants in Estepona?
Haha, ‘Sem’s’ … Difficult question. I don’t go out for dinner often. I like having dinner or lunch on the beach, so every ‘chiringuito’ (beach bar) would be good.
What do you think is the most beautiful place in Estepona?
The beach anyway, I love the beach.
Do you have any tips to do in Estepona?
The tapas route.
Are you going on holiday?
Yes, I went to the Netherlands around Christmas time and I would go to Lithuania in August, because my mother will be 60 years old, but that remains to be seen with the Corona. This is a special year for me because it’s 2020, I’m 33 and my mom is turning 60 and July 20 it will be 20 years since my dad passed away!
You have also learned Dutch by watching Dutch soap series, now you also watch a lot of Spanish television?
I also try to learn Spanish listening Spanish music, because I can’t follow the Spanish television series. I also try a lot of times to speak with Spanish people. As a waitress at Sem’s I also speak a lot with people, but it’s mainly English with all English and Scandinavian guests.
What annoys you in Estepona?
The only thing is that it could be cleaner. In the lockdown it is nice and clean, but even now you see plastic gloves everywhere on the ground. There must be rules, perhaps more severe fines for people who make a mess of it.
What are your future plans?
I would like to stay in Estepona because I am happy here and Troy is happy too. He goes to school and I want to develop my tattooing step by step and I would like to work as an artist and have more time for Troy and fun things.
You’re not only making tattoos, but you also paint, right?
Yes, I have also exhibited, in the Netherlands and in Estepona at café Tolone.
Or do you prefer tattooing?
No, I like both. But you just need inspiration, sometimes I don’t do anything creative for two weeks.
How are you going through the lockdown?
Before it all started I said: ‘Give me a little rest!’, but my mom always used to say, ‘Know what you’re asking!”
Now I discovered that the most important thing is that you have a good balance. Just working is not good, but just sitting at home isn’t good either.
Many people in Estepona don’t have good contracts, they are so unlucky. Fortunately I have a good contract, but also for me it’s: ‘fingers crossed’, because how long does this go on?!
Stay positive. Working will be tough after just sitting inside the whole time. But I think everyone will go outside when they can and people will even wait for a place on the terrace of Sem’s!
I am not worried but it will take a long time, I am busy organizing my house. Troy is helping. Sometimes Troy is fed up, then he stands next to the front door and says ‘ah, aire libre’, haha. Fortunately we have terraces. I have nothing to complain about in that regard. I can also be very good alone by myself, I am not easily bored. It just annoys me that I don’t get to see anyone. And I don’t like just communicating over the phone. Fortunately, I can walk a lot with our dog Orea, she is very happy: everyone at home and lots of walking.