'We’re not actually twins’

By Caitlin Opperman

Erica Martinez ’12 (Denver, CO) and Landy Kus ’12 (Memphis, TN) both play soccer, are both anthropology majors, both studied abroad with SIT, and frequently wear matching clothing. The Mac Weekly sat down with the dynamic duo. How did you meet? Landy: Freshman year. Soccer. Preseason. Erica: I actually remember our first meal was with all the freshmen sitting at a table and the coach was asking us about our lives and it was kind of interesting. Landy was sitting across from me, and I was like, this girl looks kind of cool. She ended up being my first friend at Macalester. Cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Landy: I have to say I don’t actually remember that. Erica: We both had salads because we were afraid that people would judge us for eating something other than vegetables. Landy: I remember I sat next to Erica at our preseason meeting and the only thing I remember about her was her peace sign necklace. Then she judged me when I used paper towels in the bathroom instead of the dryer. How is Minnesota different from home? Landy: It is soooo cold here. I don’t know why I came. Erica: I’d say topography and Denver is known for its 60-degree winters. Then all you do is go the mountains and go skiing all the time. Landy: Also southern accents. Erica: And Mexican food. Landy: Southern food. Erica: Everything here is fried and has cheese all over it. Landy: Like hot dish. Erica: And cheese curds. Landy: Those are good though. Erica: Everything is on a stick, it’s very phallic. What are you studying at Macalester? Erica: Anthropology is my major. Also, pre-med, community and global health concentration, biology minor. Landy: Anything else? Erica: I think that’s it. Landy: I’m an anthropology major too. Erica: I was an anthropology major first. Landy: Actually, I declared it before you. Erica: But I decided I was going to be an anthropology major before her. Landy: That’s beside the point. I’m also a French and Francophone minor and an African studies concentrator. What are you involved in on campus? Landy: Women’s soccer, Amnesty International. Erica: Women’s soccer, Amnesty International. I’m also part of Adelante, and I’m also senior rep on MCSG. Oh, we’re both on senior week committee, so if you have any suggestions e-mail one of us. Erica: Freshman year we were both part of the Emerging Scholars Program. Landy: Sedric, who is in charge of the program, noticed that Erica and I showed up to every meeting together. That was because we lived on the same floor freshman year, too. Every time he’d see us, he’d be like, oop, dynamic duo. Then if he saw us on campus without the other one, he’d always ask us where our sidekick was. Who’s whose sidekick? Landy: She’s my sidekick. Erica: She’s my sidekick. Actually I guess I’m more of a sidekick…no, actually, I won’t admit that. But Landy keeps me in check, so maybe I am the sidekick. Landy: I like that. Erica: Whenever I’m about to go on a little rant, she’s like “Erica calm down.” Landy: I have a calming effect on people. So you’re sidekicks, not twins? Erica: Yes and no. A lot of people joke and say that we’re twins. Actually just the other day someone called me Landy three times in one day. Landy: I think that same day somebody called me Erica. Erica: We don’t even look alike. Landy: But sometimes we accidentally dress alike in the same colors. It’s not on purpose. Erica: It’s really not. Freshman year we would always dress up as opposites. Landy would wear a red shirt, jeans and blue shoes and I would wear a blue shirt, jeans, and my red Chucks. This happened all the time because I had bright shoes and wore dark colors on top and she was always wearing dark shoes and bright clothes on the top. Then all of a sudden we started wearing similar colors. For the first five or six senior seminars this semester we would show up and take off our jacket and be like “oh man.” Landy: The first class we both had on turquoise and then the next class red. Erica: I think it’s a psychic connection. Talk about your study abroad experiences. Erica: I went to Cochabamba, Bolivia through SIT. Landy also did SIT. Landy: We’re not actually twins. Erica: It was awesome. I did an independent project that I’m using for my anthropology capstone right now. My project is about the effects of international migration. A lot of Bolivian parents leave to go work in other countries, and the majority of the time they leave their children behind, so I was looking at the effects that immigration has on children. Just under a quarter of the population lives outside of Bolivia, so it’s a big issue Landy: I studied abroad in Bamako, Mali, in West Africa with SIT. I’m also using my independent study project for my capstone, and I’m looking at how Malian women obtained their traditional plant knowledge and why younger generations don’t have the same amount of plant knowledge as the older women. What was your favorite part of study abroad? Landy: My 5-year-old host brother. He was my teacher and best friend. He’d always help me with Bambara because he had the most patience. Everybody else in my host family just spoke to me in French. Erica: One of the people I interviewed was a principal of a school and when I gave him my project he was flipping through the pages and I was giving him contact information of this NGO that I interviewed that could help him with the problems he has with children who are having issues because their parents are gone. He was sitting at his desk and he’s this really serious, big guy, and all of a sudden he teared up and got out of his chair and gave me this huge hug. He was like, “Thank you for everything. I could never do this on my own. It’s so great that someone is helping us.” I was like, wow my paper is doing something, even if it was just for that one school or that one person, it’s still pretty cool. What are your favorite soccer memories? Erica: My favorite soccer memory is probably our last junior varsity game this semester because we played a team that we had originally lost to earlier in the season, the University of Minnesota club team. We were losing 1-0, and then we were losing 2-0 after half, and then Landy scored a goal. Then I scored a goal to tie. The game ended up tied, but that’s ok because we played a really good last game and Landy and I scored the two final goals of our soccer career. Landy: I got lime green cleats for my final soccer season. I had had these cleats for four soccer games, and I play right midfield so I don’t typically score. Erica: That’s what she said. (laughs) Landy: Anyway. . . for those four games that I wore the green cleats, I scored in each game and the shot was the same way each time. It was a miracle. Erica: It was one of those kicks where you think it’s going to be crossed and you’re like that’s an impossible angle, she’s never going to score that, she has to cross. But all of a sudden it would arch over the goalie and go far post. Landy: No big deal. Erica: Pure skill. Rumor has it that you belong to a club called the White Mamas Club. What is the White Mamas Club? Erica (laughing): The White Mamas Club is a coalition of mixed beautiful people. Landy: Our club isn’t very big. Erica: There are three members and we are two of them. We also have an honorary member because that was his birthday present. Landy: He’s a good friend of ours. Erica: But the White Mamas Club is a group of three girls who all have white moms and non-white dads. Landy: Our other friend’s dad is black, Erica’s dad is Mexican, and my dad is Malagasy. We can’t wait until graduation when all of our families get to meet and we can take a large family photo. Erica: We want pictures of our white moms, our non-white dads, and then all of us together, and also one with our honorary member. He does have a white mom. Landy: But his dad is white. Erica: That’s why he’s honorary. Any post-grad plans? Erica: I want to go to medical school, but I will take a year, maybe two off. I’m applying for the CDC’s Public Health Associates Program, which is two years. I’d like to do something with a health non-profit working with immigrant/refugee families. Land
y: I want to take a break before going to graduate school for public health and possibly nursing. In the meantime, I applied for an English teaching assistantship through the French government but I don’t find out until April. Hopefully I’ll get that; it’s for a year. If they give me my top choice, I’ll either be in Martinique or Guadeloupe. If you had to write a six-word memoir of your time at Macalester, what would it be? Landy: Cold. Fun. Friends. Soccer. Rowdiness. Dancing. Erica: I knew I could do this. Landy: Look at you trying to be all inspirational. Any last words? Landy: Oh you know what experience we didn’t talk about? Going to the Mall of America on Black Friday. Erica: Three years in a row. Landy: We weren’t seriously shopping, it was mostly to people watch. A lot of people called us crazy. Erica: We ate Chipotle, probably got some Coldstone, and went to Ragstock and tried on hats. Landy: We got mukluks. Still have them. Erica: She got red. I got dark blue. refresh –>