'When I walk in the streets of Vilnius I put my headphones and feel like in a movie', A. Serna told DELFI more than four years ago. Now, in 2019, 47 years old Columbian is creating his own movie. During these years he found many friends that he calls his family and is planning to share his secrets as a barber by opening a new barbershop. Moreover, A. Serna already speaks Lithuanian after learning it from his clients and at Vilnius University.
- How do you feel after almost 5 years living in Lithuania? Does your perception of the country has changed?
- During these years living in Vilnius, I discovered that having a positive mind and being an optimist always work. I would say that there are many myths about Lithuania. Some say that here people are cold, negative, insensitive and do not know how to dance. All of this is untrue.
I noticed that Lithuanians are always kind to me. They are warm, smiling and curious. Sometimes I am called by some Lithuanian friends by the name of Pablo Escobar. It always makes me laugh. Also, I like to talk with local people about Colombian soccer. And the language barrier does not exist for me anymore because I have learned Lithuanian during these years.
On Facebook, I have created a page that is called ‘Teigiami Zmones’ (Positive People). And I see that the number of followers is always increasing. Now there is a trend to be positive.
Also, I really like to dance and sing. As I mentioned before there is a myth that Lithuanians do not do that. I have witnessed so many times Lithuanians enjoying themselves while singing and dancing. And Lithuanians can perfectly dance Salsa, Merengue, Bachata or other Latino rhythms. If someone told me now that Lithuanians are insensitive or cold people I would say ‘no way’. It is quite the opposite. Lithuanians know how to love, respect. While living in Lithuania my circle of friends on Facebook grew up to 5000 friends. Majority of them are Lithuanians. Also what I find similar between Latino people and Lithuanians is that all of us love to travel.
- So can you say that your life in Lithuania is perfect?
- Not everything is perfect for me. There are still some things that I miss but the country is almost perfect and I am sure that with a bit of patience there will be more tolerance in the country. For example, for diversity and support for same-sex couples. But when you find the right people everything is fine.
- Have you noticed any change in Lithuania while living here?
- I see that Lithuanian is changing a lot in a positive way. Also, I feel that people are changing as well. Lithuanians are becoming very international. They like to travel a lot and come back with new ideas. After living here since 2014 I see a big change especially in the mood of people. Life here becomes more and more positive.
- What was the biggest challenge for you when you had moved to Lithuania?
- It was all paper things, immigration procedures. The staff of immigration could not understand what I was doing here. They still think that it’s strange that some foreigner decided to live in Lithuania.
- You already speak Lithuanian. Was it difficult to learn?
- I am still improving it. When you start learning Lithuanian you have to forget all other languages you had learned before. You need to learn it from scratch. Lithuanian is absolutely different. I am still learning which name is girl’s and which one is the name of a boy.
- Was it easy to create a social circle after moving to Lithuania?
- I guess because of my character it was not so hard. I am always looking for meeting new people. And here they have very strong relations among each other.
- Is there anything you miss from Columbia or Latino world?
- I miss my country but I feel also good here. Some Lithuanians really remind me, Latino people. So here I feel like in a family. Moreover, in Lithuania, there are many Latino people living. We meet from time to time. We party together. We share Latino food together.
- Was there any time you were considering leaving Lithuania and moving to another country?
- I think about that in winters. They are hard. It is really cold. I also see how the mood of people changes in the winter. They become more closed. But in cold winters I go and dance, go to a sauna and keep myself warm and happy.