A return to academia, the Carolina Conference on Romance Studies, returning to UNC.

Although I consider myself more of a teacher than a scholar, I do enjoy research and writing. Also, I get to do my research at my pace and not at the breakneck pace demanded by the research universities.

If you are an old timer of this blog, you know that my PhD dissertation was on the early works of 18th C. Francisco de Isla, before he wrote his best-selling Fray Gerundio. This time I focused on Isla´s first writings after the Gerundio, still up to his old crafty rhetorical tricks and double plays. Right after selling out the first edition of the Gerundio overnight, the head of the Carmelites denounced the book to the Inquisition, Isla´s defense of his novel is the Apologia por la Historia de Fray Gerundio, and that is what my paper is on.

And it was accepted at the Carolina Conference on Romance Studies. So, with the generous support of my school, off I went to present my research at my alma mater.

Chapel Hill will always have a special place in my heart. The four years that I lived there studying for my PhD were very enriching, even though I was teaching and getting my doctorate at the same time. I loved the University, my classses, the town, the community, my colleagues and professors, my volunteering, the lot.

So without the Covid restrictions of last October’s lightning visit (read about that here) I was able to see old colleagues and classmates, to spend time with Irene, my dissertation director, to have a long conversation with my old spiritual director Fr. Bill, to have a great catch up with my favorite librarian, Teresa, to revisit the Ackland museum, to go to mass, to have a meal at Imbibe and a drink at Zog’s with Mandey the owner, to enjoy a cigar with my brilliant friend Jedd, to buy too much UNC gear, to walk around campus, to enjoy a YOPO frozen yogurt, and basically to walk and soak it all in. It was so comforting, it felt like coming home.

Rocinante in North Carolina

Rocinante loves North Carolina! She loves the beautiful country roads, she loves taking me to discover barbecue restaurants and most importantly she loves riding in the winter!! (She also likes coming into the house when it is raining or when I leave Chapel Hill to come to Spain).

Sadly, since I walk to work, Rocinante and Helmut (the car) just sit on the driveway passing time, I might take them out once during the week to run an errand or to buy groceries. But on the weekends I make sure to go on a nice ride. Since Chapel Hill is really a glorified village we hit the back roads very soon, which means I have yet to get very far. Basically I have been discovering the myriad roads around Orange county and they are all beautiful.

In September I bought a bicycle. It is an old Schwinn road bike. The biggest bicycle retailer in the US happens to be Performance Bike

in Chapel Hill – who knew, right? aaaaand the husband of one of my colleagues happens to work there. They were having a charity fundraiser for MS so I bought it for $300 for the cause. I love it! She is aluminium with carbon fiber fork and seatstays. As they would say in old Boston, she is wicked fast. My last road bike was called the Millennium Falcon, so for now this one has the same name. I love going on rides on the country roads around Chapel Hill, although I have already managed two flat tires. I also use it to go to the gym or to specific events around campus. Normally I walk eight minutes to Dey Hall, so I do not really need to ride.