Interview with Landis Grace

How do you like living in the Yucatan, Mexico?
I have lived in the Riviera Maya all my life. I spend a lot of my time on the beach, which is great. We also go to 'cenotes' to swim in here, there are no lakes, but an underground system miles and miles long. Some times the limestone rocks break above the rivers, giving us pools to swim in and that's what a cenote is.
I love my school, all the kids come from all over the world. We have a boy from Holland, some from Argentina, United States, Canada (that's me!) Switzerland, and from all over Mexico - I have one friend from a state called 'Chihuahua' - I still can't believe there is a state named after a dog!
Do you have any Mayan friends?
I have a few, they mainly come from the south of here, in a place called 'Felipe Carillo Puerto'... their families have been here for almost a thousand years, its kind of cool to think of it like that. They still really like to live off the land, I like that, too, because sometimes we get so caught up in buying everything from stores, we forget that we can grow everything right around us!
What's it like having friends who live in palapas?
There are all kinds of palapas made here. My mother built us a palapa, which is basically a house made of tree trunks and leaves, but instead of palm fronds (the 'chit' plant to be exact) for the roof she used cement, so ours is more secure than palm leaves. She rents it out on a internet site and people love to stay in it because they say it is so different.
My friends palapas are cool - the people who build palapas are called 'palaperos', and they like to cut all the wood and the chit palms on the full moon, because it does something with the sap and the wood and leaves last way longer than when they are cut at other times.
I really like palapas, because they smell nice to stay in, but sometimes there are some really weird bugs living in the roof, that part I can live without.
Usually we sleep in hammocks when we stay in a palapa.
What do you eat when you stay with your Mayan friends?
In the afternoon, in the siesta time, usually their moms make tortillas by hand and cook them on rocks in the fire outside. Then she will make a 'cochinita pibil', which is sort of like a pulled-pork stew. It is really good, and they put stuff like serano peppers, 'cebollas' - onions, and 'zanahoria' - carrots, in the pot on the fire... When its time to eat dinner - which is usually around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, she will shred some cabbage, and put cooked beans out on separate plates, and we can all scoop up the beans and the cochinita pibil with the tortillas, which are usually still warm! We don't usually have to use plates, because the tortillas become our plates, so we don't have to do any dishes after! I like cooking on a fire, its more natural, and I think the food tastes better,
What are your teachers like?
I go to a really cool school where I live. As well as us kids being from all over the place, so are the teachers... Most are from Mexico, which when we say 'Mexico' like that, we mean Mexico City... but we have a few Canadians, one from the United States, one from France and one from Germany.
Everyone seems to speak a different language, sometimes there are three languages going on in my classroom at one time!
A couple of times a year my school puts on a 'feria', a fair, where we bring our favourite foods from our homeland. That's a cool day, and I make something like 'french toast' with maple syrup dressing for the Canadians.
Do you have a Mayan boyfriend?
I don't have a boyfriend right now, but a while ago I was dating a cute guy from Argentina, but he grew up in the States until they moved here.
Do you have any pets?
I have a little Chihuahua named Karman, she is 8 years old now and stopped jumping up on my bed, I have to lift her up. She has had 6 litters of puppies, and we give them away to friends usually. One of her puppies moved to Canada, one to France and one is even in Italy now.
We also have a bigger dog, that my mom got from the Animal Rescue place. She is a good dog, and very smart. The other day I was still in bed and my mother came back from an errand, and she had a puppy with her! She found her running along the sidewalk, scared and very hungry, so I guess we will have her for a while until we find her a home.
I also have a cat, but as much as I try to love her, she still likes my mother better. She brings in all kinds of animals in our house.
We also had a baby 'claxuache' which is Mayan for a type of Mayan opossum, which I am sure is the ugliest creature on the earth. We raised it from a baby, then one day it left... its name was 'Uglee'... we have actually had a million different pets - we had a beautiful green iguana named 'Iggee', but my mom didn't realize they can literally walk up a solid wall, so Iggee is living free on the outside of our garden now.
Published 2014-01-13.
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Books by This Author

Best Books for Young Adults - The Secret At Chichen Itza
Price: $3.50 USD. Words: 48,970. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » People & Places / Mexico
~SOON TO BE A PILOT FOR TELEVISION SERIES!~The SECRET AT CHiCHEN iTZA will be Landis and Maya's first television experience! Watch as the the teens are entrusted with a copy of an ancient legend codex secretly unearthed at the Chichen Itza Pyramid and follow the girls and the clues to discover the whereabouts of the legendary Princess Itza Emerald. The adventure is full of interesting Mayan facts!