Last May, as part of my trip to Europe, I was invited to spend almost a week with two very good friends, Vanessa and Oliver, who used to live in Durham (“Dur-home”, as we called it) in 2010 and 2011 but currently live in Villanueva, a quite small town in Asturias, Spain, (aprox. 200-ish inhabitants).
(Villanueva, an extremely bucolic place)
I met them through a friend who studied Literature with me at college and who went to high school with Vanessa’s sister. We became friends very quickly since both Oliver and Vanessa (my dear “vuitres” –sorry, an inside joke–) share common interests with me: they love wine and cooking, have a witty and politically incorrect sense of humor (very British of Oliver), and are always excited about cultural studies, feminism, Marxism, and so on (as a matter of fact, Vanessa attended some Fred Jameson’s lectures at Duke with me when I took his course on diverse versions of King Arthur’s story). When I visited them in Spain, their baby, Amaru, was just few months old:
Another common interest that reinforced our friendship was their love for cats. They own two: Lorenzo and Arturo. Although Lorenzo was smaller than Arturo, he was the kickass rock star type of cat. In contrast, poor Arturo seemed to have passed through a terrible trauma when he was a kitty because he is very anti-social. I tried to play with both of them but my favorite was Lorenzo by far (I used to call him “cola de rat”, rat tail). We used to get along pretty well.
Before moving in Villanueva, they bought an abandoned house and progressively repaired and refurnished it. Even though reconstruction was still going on, the two-story house with a garden and a yard was mostly redone.
I haven’t heard from Vanessa and Oliver in years (well, in months to be more precise) so remembering some good memories of my stay in Villanueva (we ate a lot, we drank wine a lot, we talked a lot, we laughed a lot; basically, they were the perfect hosts!) and the beginnings of our friendship in Durham have encouraged me both to write this post and email them later.
¡Saludos desde Dur-home, queridos vuitres colas de rata!…