Raymo & Raymo

By Alex Park

Megan and Marissa Raymo are fraternal twins who look alike, avoid wearing the same clothes and are often seen more than four feet away from each other. Born in Mexico and adopted by Minnesota parents the same year the Twins won the World Series, Megan and Marissa say they’re starting to get tired answering questions about what it’s like to be a pair, but that they’re willing to answer a few anyway. In the end, however, both say they see themselves as individuals first and foremost: Marissa plays rugby and studied abroad in Wales. Megan plays the sitar and studied abroad in India. Here, they talk about all of it.I’ve been told that you have an interesting life story.

Megan: Well, we were born in a little town outside Acapulco, Mexico and we were adopted when we were eight months old and brought to Maple Grove, Minnesota. Our adoptive mother was stuck at the airport for like a month coming back from Mexico because she couldn’t get a visa, so we almost didn’t make it.

Marissa: The Minnesota Twins won the World Series that year.

Megan: And we were born on two different days. But there’s some debate over that, because we weren’t born in a hospital, we were born in our biological familiy’s hut. Marissa’s birth certificate says she was born on February 28 at twelve midnight, but I was born at 12:13 on March 1. I think someone changed the date, personally, because that would mean our birth mother was in labor for over twenty-four hours, or that someone just wrote it up wrong afterwards. It also says that she had black eyes.

Marissa: And that you have black eyes.

Megan: Which is not true. I have brown eyes.

You’re fraternal twins, but I’m told that everyone thinks you’re identical.

Marissa: Yeah, but I don’t think we look that much alike.

Megan: Some people say we look nothing alike, and some people say we look very much alike.

I heard that you had specifically requested not to be in the same first-year course or on the same floor, but they put you together anyway.

Marissa: That did happen. Because we both decided to go to this school, we thought it would be a better experience if we didn’t live close to each other the first year.

Megan: So when it came time to choose first-year courses, I didn’t get my first choice and neither did Riss, but we ended up getting into the same first-year course, and that course was one of those where you live with everyone.

Marissa: So that meant that we had the same class and we had to live like a hallway down from each other. It ended up being pretty fun, though. I ended up being very good friends with my roommate and she ended up being very good friends with her roommate. But it was kind of infuriating.

Megan: That happened with our jobs, also. We both ended up being employed at the library for the same job. So, same first-year course, same floor, same job. And now, same major: anthropology. Also unintentional.

Some more twin questions: one of your old roommates told me that you can go to separate corners of Cafe Mac and come back with the exact same thing on your plates.

Megan: Yes, that happened today, actually.

Marissa: Yeah, we’ll end up dressing alike sometimes, also. But I don’t like to wear the same thing she does. That just gives people more of an excuse to make fun of us. That happens a lot.

Megan: We have similar tastes, I think.
Ok, no more twin questions. I’m sure you get those enough as it is.

Megan: Yeah, you get used to it. People want to know what it’s like but really it’s no different than having a sibling close to your age. I imagine it would be, anyway.

Megan, you studied abroad in India. How did you decide on that?

Megan: Actually, I wanted to go to Papua New Guinea, but there was no place in Papua New Guinea for me to go. Then I wanted to go to Sri Lanka, but there was a travel ban on that, so I found an India program and I went there. I was there for five months, learned sitar, sort of. Then at the end, I went to England where Riss was, and stayed there for a month and with her for four weeks.

How did the sitar come in?

Megan: One of the directors for my program played sitar, and he offered to give anyone lessons to anyone who wanted, for free, as long as they got the sitar, and he actually knew someone who made sitars. So he called up his friend, put up an order for sitars, we all went over there, I picked out one, and we started. So it was pretty cool. Then when I came back I thought, “How the hell am I going to find a sitar teacher that isn’t outrageously expensive. But when I came back to Mac, I saw a flier for a guy who was teaching sitar for free, so I get to keep learning here, which is cool.

How many strings does it have?

Megan: There are two styles; mine has six top strings and ten sympathetic strings. A lot of mine have snapped and haven’t been replaced.

Is it as hard to play as it looks?

Megan: Yeah. Not only do you have to learn how to sit- because you have to sit all twisted up- but you have to learn how to hold it correctly and learn where your fingers go. But it’s also about getting really fast at it and learning a whole different scale to go with it, because the Indian scale isn’t like our scale. The notes have different names and it’s just a whole different way of writing music. Usually it’s not written down; you just play by ear. But for Western students they write it down. There’s a lot of maintenance involved with it, too, because you have to tune it every time you play. So it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also really hard.

Marissa, you went to Wales for your semester abroad, and you play rugby.

Marissa: Yes, I was interested in endangered languages, and Welsh is an indigenous endangered language and it’s experiencing a revitalization, which is kind of what I’m writing my capstone paper on. So I went to Swansea University for five months and studied there for a while with a month break for Easter in between the two terms and traveled around Europe for a while.

I didn’t play rugby over there but I wish I had because that would’ve been really fun. I didn’t see a lot of women’s rugby over there, but I would’ve had to pay a fifty pound fee to get in, which is like a hundred bucks, and I didn’t bring my stuff with me.

Would you say Wales is a lot different than the rest of England, or are they actually very similar?

Yeah, there’s a lot more emphasis on their Celtic background. It’s a lot more like Scotland and Ireland in that way. They’re not anti-English but there’s definitely a English-Welsh rivalry. A lot of English students went with me and they’d make little jokes about the Welsh and the Welsh would make little jabs to them back. There were a few anti-English people.

I didn’t know anything about Wales before I went there, except for a little bit about the language, but I learned a lot about their Celtic roots and the language and their national identity.

Megan: One thing that’s cool that I forgot to mention is that when I was in India, I was in a Bollywood movie.

You have to tell me this story.

Yeah, it actually just came out a couple weeks ago in India. I spent the last week and a half in Mumbai with a friend because I was flying out of Mumbai to go to England, and literally five hours after we got into Mumbai we were walking down the sidewalk and some guy came up to us. Yes, this sounds shady, and yes it could’ve turned out very badly, but this guy came up to us with a little notebook and he said “I’m recruiting extras for a Bollywood movie that’s shooting now and we need Europeans.” And he said, “Would you like to be extras in a Bollywood movie?” And we were like, “Hells yes we would! That would be awesome!” So he said, “Ok, meet me at this time in front of McDonalds.” So we got to McDonalds at the specified time, and there were a lot of other Europeans there, so were like “OK, this is legit, kind of.”

We were all herded onto this bus an
d at ten o’clock at night we went to Film City in Mumbai and we got to this set of this fake Hindu temple and there were a ton of extras and we were split up and half got costumes. So I got one and we went into a trailer and changed, and we had to dance around and wave our arms and stuff. There were about thirty of us, and they kept saying “Just dance, just dance.” I got to play a tambourine with the hero-guy walking past, so that was my big break into Bollywood. I still have to find it, but I know the name now. It’s called “Raaz II.