From her native Peru, to the bustling Mexico, and now the cosmopolitan Barcelona, Lucero has lived in many different places. But wherever she went, she managed to feel at home, and it is largely thanks to the people she welcomed into her life and the relationships she openly sought.
As we continue to stay at home, distanced by a scary pandemic but united in our collective determination to survive, our ability to overcome this crisis greatly depends on the strength of our relationships. So we sat down with Lucero to discuss how it feels to be thousands of kilometres away from home at such a delicate historical moment, and how she manages to still feel deeply connected to her people.
Why Barcelona, what brought you here?
I’m drawn to cities that let me immerse myself in different cultures and feel them coliving and coexisting. I initially left Peru to go and study in Mexico, which is where I shared a flat for the first time. I loved it, it showed me a whole new way of living. I then came to Barcelona to continue my studies and to work, and three and a half years later, I still call this beautiful city home.
You had the opportunity to live with a relative here in Barcelona, but you still chose to share a flat with people you didn’t initially know. How come?
Yes, I had a relative here when I first came, and moving in with him would have been the logical thing to do, I guess. But after having experienced flat sharing in Mexico, there was no going back for me, I knew I wanted to replicate that experience here in Barcelona. And I did! This is the fifth flat I’ve shared here so far, and each experience was one to treasure. It has given me friends for life.
What’s the story you most fondly remember?
Oh, there are so many! One experience I’ll never forget is coming home from work one day, in a terrible mood because I’d officially broken up with my then-boyfriend that day, and learning that my two flatmates were in the exact same situation. Broken-hearted and a little bitter, the three of us snuggled under a fluffy blanket in the living room and spent the night talking and eating ice cream – lots and lots of ice cream! What started as a really sad day turned into one of the warmest memories. Having my flatmates there with me, feeling that support and offering it equally in return… It felt very reassuring. I knew things would eventually be ok. A little bit like right now, actually.
When you go through a crisis with someone, you inevitably bond on a deeper level.
Yes, the confinement over coronavirus. The situation has affected us all in many ways; has it changed your relationship with your flatmates?
If it has, it’s only been for the better. We’ve always been close, because that’s how I want to live my life so I seek people who share the same philosophy. But when you go through a crisis with someone, you inevitably bond on a deeper level.
We’ve always had dinner together, but now we have more time, so our conversations are longer and more personal. We’re learning to be vulnerable with each other, the situation calls for it, and we embrace it. It’s a beautiful experience, it makes you feel good.
We also do a lot of fun stuff together, it’s not all serious contemplation and deep conversations. Knowing how to be playful is important, I think. At eight o’clock sharp, we’re all out on the balcony, sharing a moment of appreciation for everybody working hard for all of us. After the applause, we always put on some music, not just for us, for the whole block of flats! Our neighbours love it, it brings us closer together for a moment and reminds us that we can still have some fun and laugh, it’s healthy for all of us.
You’ve also used this extra time to work on a personal project, haven’t you?
Yes, what a rollercoaster. A friend and I started a project just before the lockdown. We had worked hard to bring it to life, and then within a matter of days, everything came to a stop. But we tried to make the best of it and concentrate on what we could do.
We sell preserved roses – real roses which undergo a specific treatment to make them last for three to five years. They’re beautiful, so being able to work on this project almost felt therapeutic in a way. We have been working on creating content for our social media, which is something we didn’t have too much time for in the past, so in a way, the situation helped us. We definitely made the most of it.
What has been the most challenging part of confinement for you?
Not being able to see my family. I’m an only child, so I have a strong bond with my parents. They were supposed to come and visit me in May, but their flight was cancelled, understandably. I don’t know when we’ll get to see each other again, that’s definitely the toughest part.
Which is precisely why I am so grateful for having people here with me, for not doing this alone. I feel so lucky to have found Badi, because every time I used it, it put me in touch with people who ended up becoming my friends. And right now, having the support of those close relationships is invaluable.
Flat sharing almost sounds like a lifestyle for you…
It most definitely is. I see it as having a team, your team. As with any good team, there are people with different skills and abilities. And everybody does what they’re best at. Each of you knows your role and you contribute to the success of the household with the best of you. For successful coliving, it really helps to work as a team, and right now, amidst this unfortunate crisis, it’s been a lifesaver.
If you’re looking for a new place to live, whether it be now or once our lives are back to normal, give Badi a go, your team is probably already there.