Return to Washington

Every so often, Yoli needs to renew her Bolivian papers: her passport, her national ID, etc. Unfortunately for us, this work can only be done in Washington D.C.

That’s not exactly convenient for us, so we always try to turn it into a weeklong adventure.

The kids stand in front of the actual castle set, from the Neighborhood of Make Believe on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The King Friday puppet is a replica.

The kids stand in front of the actual castle set, from the Neighborhood of Make Believe on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The King Friday puppet is a replica.

Henrietta and X's tree set, from the Neighborhood of Make Believe on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Henrietta and X’s tree set, from the Neighborhood of Make Believe on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Family photo in front of a bridge in Pittsburgh

Family photo in front of a bridge in Pittsburgh

This time around we drove along I-70 stayed the night in Pittsburgh. We woke up very early Sunday in hopes that we could get to Pittsburgh in time to visit the Heinz History Center’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibit before the museum closed. We barely made it, but we had enough time to see all sorts of puppets and sets from the show.

Jadzia has read and re-read some good books on presidential assassinations, and she asked me frequently before our trip if we could come to Ford's Theatre.

Jadzia has read and re-read some good books on presidential assassinations, and she asked me frequently before our trip if we could come to Ford’s Theatre.

Josie was the one who wanted to get a photo with the White House.

Josie was the one who wanted to get a photo with the White House.

We made it to Washington around lunchtime Monday. The Bolivian consulate was closed because of a national holiday (“Día del Mar”, the day they remember losing their Pacific sea coast in a war with Chile) so instead we visited Ford’s Theatre and took photos outside the White House. Jadzia really wanted to see the theater because she has been reading a lot about presidential assassinations. This year will be the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. Josie wanted to see the White House. There was LOTS of walking, and consequently lots of complaining. But we still had fun and got some good photos.

Jadzia's take on our morning at the Bolivian consulate.

Jadzia’s take on our morning at the Bolivian consulate.

We spent much of the next day in the Bolivian consulate watching well-produced tourism videos, filling out papers, and paying money — or running around the city on a paperwork wild goose chase. The consulate had NO RECORD of any of the marriage licenses or birth certificates we have registered at the consulate over the last decade.

Unbelievably frustrating — but honestly not surprising. That’s why we always make these trips at least a week long; there’s always a good chance things won’t go according to plan.

Doug took us to Oriental East Restaurant, which was very tasty. It was great to see him again.

Doug took us to Oriental East Restaurant, which was very tasty. It was great to see him again.

We salvaged the day by eating dinner with my former colleague, Doug Wong. He took us to the Oriental East Restaurant, which was very tasty.

The actual Spirit of St. Louis

The actual Spirit of St. Louis

A totora reed boat like those made around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.

A totora reed boat like those made around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.

The girls in front of the U.S. Capitol building, which is undergoing renovations.

The girls in front of the U.S. Capitol building, which is undergoing renovations.

Yoli got a charque khan at a Bolivian restaurant near D.C.

Yoli got a charque khan at a Bolivian restaurant near D.C.

The next day we re-visited the Air and Space Museum, and made our first-ever visit to the Museum of the American Indian. Both were awesome. We were returning to our car, when things went crazy on the street. Police started showing up out of nowhere, barricades were rising. We didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late — it was a presidential motorcade. If I had realized it sooner, I would have stayed where we were to get a photo.

Photo with Mark, Maria Ester, and Jonathan.

Photo with Mark, Maria Ester, and Jonathan.

We finished the trip with a jaunt to Harrisonburg, Va., to visit Yoli’s friends Mark and Maria Esther, plus her former host mom, Lucille. We had a lot of fun in our short time there, and then it was time to head back home.

About Josh Renaud

I'm the Emperor of the Renaud Empire, which is to say that I'm the husband of a Boliviana and the father of three daughters and one son. When I'm not conquering lands and expanding borders, I'm a newspaper designer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Find me on Twitter (@Kirkman) or Google+.
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