For the second time in three years, we hosted the child of a friend of ours from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Unfortunately, Hugo has passed away and his son, Alexei and daughter Irina are now left with their mother and stepfather in P.V. Alexei is now a young man of 24 and works in the computer field in Guadalajara.
Irina is his almost 22 year old sister. I would describe her as a cutie pie. She is impish, smart, smiley, and very with it. I guess the world is a lot smaller with all the computer things- the net, Instagram, Facebook, text messages and a host of other things. Irina knows them all and can communicate in all of them. She is aware of the same kinds of things that 22 year olds in our country know.
Carol and I decided that we would do the same thing with Irina, as we did with Alexei. We called a couple of our female (with Alexei it was male) scholarship winners, who live fairly close to us and who were approximately the same age as Irina. To say that they got along would be a less than accurate description.
They were three peas in a pod. There was very little that Irina did not understand. If he did not know a word, she would turn to Rachel, who has had a number of years of Spanish and Rachel would tell her. The two girls, Carol and I picked up Irina at Dulles Airport. We had to wait three hours while Irina went through customs. She said it was an arduous task.
We spent that first night at the Hampton Inn. We actually ordered pizza for our room. We were going to go to a restaurant, but most close at 10 and we were way past that. Now that I am on a gluten free diet, I had to order one pizza for myself. It’s great that chains now have the gluten free stuff. It looks like pizza and really taste the same as the cardboard box that it comes in.
The next day was going to be a trip to the Air and Space Museum near the Dulles Airport. Would you believe that we did not make it there? As soon as Irina saw a Washington advertisement for outlet stores near Leesburg, the space museum was out.
We spent most of the day at the outlet stores. I have never seen a span of stores in either a closed mall or an outlet mall. The stores ran on forever. However, I should have understood that Old Navy, Aeropostale, and suchlike were going to be our first and probably are only stops along the way. Old Navy does not exist where Irina lives. There may be one in Mexico City, but we don’t know that. Irina could not be happier. The girls helped her to pick out the kind of clothes that she wanted. I have never seen a happier threesome.
The time at the stores was also fun for Carol and me. Although I am not into buying women’s clothes, I was trained as a boy to hang around while grandma, mom and my older sister spent time looking at all the sales at Macy’s Ohrbach’s and S Klein on the square. Seriously, it was really good training.
The shopping went on for many hours. The kids were pretty tired when they were finished. We headed back to the city to get the girls into their hotel and then moved on to our friend Neil’s home. Neil was Carol’s roommate Sara’s husband. Sara had recently passed away and Neil is happy to have company. We were very pleased to see him.
We then went to a rather upscale Japanese restaurant. Neil is a Japan scholar and you must rely on him to get you to the best. This was not a hibachi chain or anything like that. It was a really comprehensive Japanese cuisine and we tasted things that we never had before. All was good and we were happy to have been there. Afterwards we drove the girls back to their hotel and Carol and I went back to Neil’s, first having picked up some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the girls.
The next morning we were off to Union Station and the Hop on Hop off bus. We traveled the complete circuit of Washington D.C. We then went into the Reagan office building and had lunch at a wonderful food court. The building is very close to the White House, which Irina wanted to see. Although we could not get a reservation, she loved seeing it. Her other choices were the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian.
We did them all. We were all pretty tired when the day ended. The next morning we hopped into our van and headed back home. Irina was anxious to see the snow. When we got home, she and the girls built a snowman. I believe that Irina must have taken 100’s of pictures of herself in front of almost every place we stopped (a selfie). They are now posted on her Facebook page. The two girls said their goodbyes and took off for home. They are both still students at McDaniel College in Westminster MD. We have known them both since they were13. We still have an attachment which we, hopefully, shared with Irina.