Lisbon EP. This is not a success story.

Helen Vechurko
9 min readMay 19
shot and designed by Helen Vechurko

If you are into success stories, this is not the one. This is a story of how the chain of spontaneous decisions leads to a better good. Or to worse. As you never know the potential outcome of acting differently than you did. Call it a coming-of-age story, but the lead is 36.

This is a story about a daring immigrant who squeezes her life into one suitcase to create new memories at a place she has no knowledge about. “What would you take to a deserted island?” — I remember this question from my classmates’ journals.

We used to hand to each other those eclectic notebooks with lists of questions decorated with drawings, collages, and bubble gum stickers, and dry flowers falling from folded pages captioned “secrets”. “What would you take to your new life?”. And my 9 y.o. self would answer “A bottle of water and a book.”

This could set an exposition for an adventure movie. Years later I’m leaving with my laptop and camera. And if you are into positive thinking, what you imagine next is a house with an ocean view, Vogue publications, and maybe love at first sight.

This story doesn’t give you fast relief. Life doesn’t provide you with the luxurious quality of the time ramping that fiction has. If you studied filmmaking, you know that to make a good movie you cut out scenes without a twist, regardless of better or worse. Also, exclude blissful moments, because who can relate to a steady well-being? As well as no one wants to follow a long line of repeated misfortune.

In a good movie, a long struggle to get a work contract without a work permit because to get a work permit you need a work contract is squeezed into a 2 minutes sequence of failed attempts, and then you cut to another scene through the caption saying something like “2 years later”. What you call a good movie is a set of dramatic accidents, uncertainty, and restlessness. My story will be no other. So if at some point it leaves you heartbroken and hopeless, remember that I cut out the serenity of ocean walks, rare moments of sweet long sleep in someone’s braces, and joyful morning coffees. I might also substitute months of chasing fortune with generalizing captions. In the film school, they teach you to squeeze the entire universe into one line.