Tales from the Yucatan Jungle: Life in a Mayan Village

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Press: Sun Topaz LLC; 1 edition (January 1, 2012)
Publication Date:2012-1
Author Name:Ellingson, Kristine; Chapman, Carol; Ellingson, Kristine


Where would you go if you needed to get away from it all? What would happen if you never came back? Your life would change forever as it does for Kristine Ellingson in Mexico. 
She left her life in the U.S.
and moved to the vibrant land of the ancient Maya.Kristine Ellingson was a successful American jewelry designer with two grown children and a marriage on the rocks.
Because she needed some time to find direction and meaning in her life, Kristine left her home in Oregon for a trip to Yucatan that she believed would be a stopover on her way to Portugal.
Much to her surprise, her stop in Yucatan was not only longer than expected, it was permanent.
She found that taking a leap of faith can lead to a life full of adventure and meaning.Join Kristine as she recounts her journey in finding a new home and family in a peaceful village near the Mayan ruins of Uxmal.
From Spanish flash cards to falling in love with a Mayan hotel desk clerk, a transformation occurs both with Kristine and the village.
In spite of being an outsider and looking nothing like the Mayas--she is tall and blonde--she is accepted by the village and becomes an integral part of their community.Kristine creates multiple businesses in her village, fusing two cultures, two beliefs, two ways of life.
Twenty years later, and still married to the Mayan hotel clerk who is now her business partner, Kristine shares her real life stories of love, pain, loss, and learningOvercoming the typical expat story of frustration with another culture, Tales from the Yucatan Jungle: Life in a Mayan Village brings two worlds together and shares glimpses into a sacred, rich Mayan way of life.Kristine allows readers to glimpse a world seldom seen by tourists.
Some of the experiences she shares are:* Being brought back from the brink of blood poisoning death with the help of a "curandero" (a traditional healer)* Learning how to care for dying family members where there are no funeral homes* Buying a daughter for 10,000 pesos* Living in a rural Mayan family complex that includes two houses* Using childhood horseback riding skills at the annual village rodeo or "corrida"* Giving appropriate Mayan weddings gifts--not a blender or dinnerware* Building a house that the villagers think might be a hotel because it is so large* Constructing a road through the jungle to build the new house* Understanding how her upbringing in an Oregon lumber camp prepared her to live in a small Mayan village* Being fingerprinted when getting married* Surviving the harsh Mexican motoring laws after a traffic accident* Getting lost in Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, before knowing Spanish* Striking fear in salesmen while test-driving a truck because women did not drive 20 years ago when she arrived in the Yucatan* Participating in a shamanic ceremony to heal the landTales from the Yucatan Jungle answers some questions you may have about traveling across Yucatan.
You may wonder: Who are these people who live in houses made of sticks with roofs of palm fronds? What is the Mayan culture of the people dressed in colorful embroidered outfits who perform traditional dances, sell crafts, and serve you in restaurants and hotels? Kristine's living abroad memoir, including 103 photos, and describes an insider's view.  For a BOOK TRAILER of Tales from the Yucatan Jungle and photos of Kristine and her Mayan husband, scroll down and click on Kristine's Author Page.
 ABOUT THE AUTHOR--Kristine Ellingson grew up in small towns in eastern Oregon where people mainly made their living through ranching or the timber industry.
As an adult, she moved to Portland where she briefly taught high school before becoming a jewelry designer and manufacturer.
Several years later, she moved to Yucatan, Mexico, where she and her Mayan husband started a water purification plant.
They eventually turned it into a bed and breakfast boutique hotel, the Flycatcher Inn.

From the Author

If you are interested in Yucatan Travel or the culture of the Mayas, Tales from the Yucatan Jungle: Life in a Mayan Village may answer some of your questions. 
Traveling across Yucatan from Cancun to Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, do you ever wonder: who are these people who live in the houses made of sticks and thatched roofs of palm fronds? How can these houses survive the hurricanes? What is the Mayan culture of these people dressed in their beautifully embroidered dresses who perform their traditional dances, sell their crafts, and serve you in hotels and restaurants? Do they still speak the Mayan language? (Yes, in some small villages, about 80% of the people speak the Yucatec Maya dialect, and for some, it is their only language: my mother-in-law Carmen, for example).

From the Back Cover

"Kristine is a masterful storyteller who brings this part of the Mayan world alive to our imaginations."~ Michael Graham, lifelong student of Mayan culture

About the Author

Kristine Ellingson grew up in small towns in eastern Oregon where people mainly made their living through ranching or the timber industry. 
As an adult, she moved to Portland where she briefly taught high school before becoming a jewelry designer and manufacturer.
Several years later, she moved to Yucatan, Mexico, where she and her Mayan husband started a water purification plant.
They eventually turned it into a bed and breakfast boutique hotel, the Flycatcher Inn, which they operate with two of their nieces.


Travel,Mexico,Yucatan Peninsula,Biographies & Memoirs,Reference & Collections,General

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Comment List (Total:17)

  •     I stayed at Kristine and Santiago's Flycatcher Inn twice and enjoyed every aspect and moment of my time there but I had no idea of what went into the creation of this very special B&B. Kristine relates the history of that creation, along with that of hers and Santiago's, at a brisk (almost breathtaking) pace. I was captivated from the first page to the last and hated to come to the end of this well-told story. In fact, as I reached the final chapters I put the book down for several days to delay that ending! Kristine is an accomplished writer with a fine attention to detail that brings her village and her long experience there to vivid life. I'm looking forward to my next visit now that I've been taken to yet another rich level of understanding of the Yucatan I love.
  •     Talk about starting a new life in your middle years! This woman had it all in Oregon but did not let that stop her from moving on to what her soul beckoned. Loved her straightforward earthiness of telling her tales. My favorite was of her riding a horse barefoot. How she came to make a small Mayan Village her home and life touched my heart.
  •     We stayed at Kristine and Santiago's boutique hotel, the Flycatcher Inn, last spring and found them to be fabulous hosts in a beautiful location. When I saw the book on Amazon I purchased and read it immediately. The book gives a behind the scenes account of the culture, traditions, and life in a Mayan village. As guests at the Inn we wondered "How does a successful woman from the U.S. end up married to a Mayan man in an interior village in the Yucatan?" Santa Elena is far from the tourist experiences of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Kristine's embrace of and assimilation into the Mayan village gives a unique account of the village environment. This book will interest anyone who desires to travel, whether in person or by armchair, off the beaten path into the real Yucatan. I recommend the book, the Flycatcher Inn, and the sights around Santa Elena.
  •     An extremely interesting book. An wonderful insight into part of "real" Mexico.
  •     The author shows how one woman with an open heart and a little bit of money can improve the lives of so many.
  •     I really enjoyed it. It helped me understand the very simple life the Mayan people have. They have so little, but are generally content.
  •     These are real tales from a Mayan village - a document of the times that are fast changing... Fun and informative read for anybody whose interests include travel, ethnography,...
  •     I'm glad I stumbled onto the kindle edition today. Having lived in a nearby pueblo to Uxmal and well aware of the Fly Catcher Inn from local Maya and Yucateco friends, I'm eager...
  •     My yerno, son-in-law is from the same area as Kristine writes about. Her detailed accounting of the land, food, culture is right on.
  •     What a marvelous little book! My husband and I live in Merida, and knew Kristine briefly a few years ago when we lived in Ticul, but she was so busy starting up the inn that we never really had time to talk. When I spotted this book on amazon.com, I thought it would perhaps be mildly interesting, but she in fact tells a story so captivating that it's hard to put down. She has successfully captured the life in the Mayan villages without even a hint of patronizing the people, which is so common among the gringos (and surely very irritating to her). Knowing something of her personal history, which she tells in the first chapters, helps a lot in understanding that whatever Kristine put her mind to would be a success - including this book. Thank you, Kris, for risking telling your personal story in order to share with the rest of us the mysteries of life in the villages that only you are in the unique position to tell. And thank you, too, for the good grammar and punctuation that help make it so readable.
  •     Light reading, but engaging.
  •     I like yje simplest way of writting, she takes you in the daily life of the maya community, I love it
  •     If you've ever flown into Cancun and traveled a bit around Mexico, you'll see ruins and people very different than anything back home. But the typical tourist never gets to know what life is really like beyond a superficial glimpse into the lives of the friendly people that inhabit that land, even when traveling in the heart of the Yucatan. But the author of this wonderful book who married a Mayan man and has lived in his tiny village for 19 years, shares her insights and tales about the Mayan people, from beliefs about crop fairies to funeral rituals and cleansing ceremonies that she witness and participates first hand. A must read for anyone interested in the Mayan people and daily life in the mysterious Yucatan!
  •     I had heard on a couple of occasions that Kris Ellingson who I had known in high school back in John Day, OR had undergone a very significant lifestyle change and I wondered what had prompted it so when a FB friend mentioned seeing her book about it was available I added it to my Kindle, the second book by former classmates I purchased from Amazon in the last year. Having an inkling what Kristine was like as a teenager did not really give me much of an idea what to expect except that much of what her life became 40 or so years later was rooted to a solid early family life that I had a passing glance at 50 years ago. It was interesting to read her descriptions of her adopted lifestyle and remember the athletic and somewhat daredevil cheerleader from Grant Union High School years ago. Who knows maybe she'll turn up at the 50th reunion next month in John Day(49th for her) and I can get her autograph...hard to do on a kindle version but we could work something out. Four out of five stars seems fair for a work in progress book because Kris's remarkable story is still unfolding.
  •     I received the book at my office and made the "mistake" of opening it up just for a peek. Thus, my Friday workday ended early with me devouring Kristine's wonderful book of short stories. The flow and pacing of the book keeps you wanting more and interested where it will lead. I laughed, cried and relived some of our own travels in Mexico through Kristine's descriptions of her life and adventures living in a Mayan village. Her descriptions of everyday life and the culture of the Maya has opened a window on a culture I've only read about in the past tense. Kristine's commitment not only to her family but to her village is to be commended. She has found the right balance between honoring and preserving a culture and living in an ever changing modern society. Thus, it is no surprise that the proceeds of this book will go to create a craft center to showcase the talents of the craftsmen and women in the village. I can't wait to see the real people and places come to life when we travel to the area in the Fall.
  •     Excellent account of a fascinating life, and a fascinating place where we visited. Congrats to Kristine for candidly telling her story!
  •     Well written. Local tales presented in an easy to read style. I always search to learn more about the life in Yucatan.

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