M3 PT - June 2018

WEST HILLS 7230 MEDICAL CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 401 WEST HILLS, CA 91307 WEST LOS ANGELES 10474 SANTA MONICA BLVD, SUITE 435 LOS ANGELES, CA 90025

WWW.M3PT.COM / LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 / JUNE 2018

M3 AND ME

THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME VISITING MY FATHER’S HOME

Father’s Day is fast approaching, so to all the dads, granddads, and especially the great-granddads who have come into our clinic over the years, well done and congratulations! Being a father can be one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences in a man’s life. Thankfully, I learned from one of the best. My father has and always will be the most influential man in my life. The values and determination I hold are highly influenced by my father — and by my caring and strong mother. One of the most important of these values is to work hard to achieve my goals while never forgetting my roots. My father grew up in the city of Guanajuato in central Mexico. When he was just 17 years old, he left for the United States, chasing the dream of building a better life. He raised his kids on stories of the vibrant courtyards and bright adobe basilicas of his youth. Yet, in all his years, he never once returned to his hometown. So last June, in honor of his 70th birthday, my siblings and I decided to change that.

There was an incredible amount to see and do on this trip; I’ve never taken so many photos on a single vacation. The city of Guanajuato itself is incredibly rich in architecture, much of it dating back to the 18th century. Spanish colonial structures mingle with uniquely Mexican

works of art, including striking murals and frescoes by Guanajuato native Diego Rivera and paintings by his equally famous wife, Frida Kahlo. We were also lucky enough to head out to the countryside and take in the pastoral beauty of the Valle de Santiago, which is dotted with villages and stone church towers that predate the country of Mexico itself. As beautiful as all these sights were, they paled in comparison to the main event. You see, the house my father grew up in is still in the family, albeit owned by distant cousins. With their help, we were able to take my father back to the very place he was born.

“ “SEEING MY CHILDREN WALK THE PASTEL STREETS AND BUSTLING PLAZAS WITH THEIR GRANDFATHER WAS INCREDIBLY TOUCHING AND A LITTLE SURREAL.”

My father is an emotional man to begin with. He wears his heart on his sleeve; it’s one of the things we love about him. So needless to say, the act of stepping over the threshold of his childhood home had him welling up. If I’m honest, lot of us were shedding tears, too. The last time he’d walked out that door, he was a young man full of dreams and ambitions. Returning over a half-century later with the family he raised in his new country — well, it was moving beyond words. I’m so glad we were able to pull off such an incredible experience for our father. He’s given us so much love and support over the years, and he more than deserved this trip. Having seen and walked through the vibrant streets and landscapes of my father’s stories by his side is something I will never forget.

The family pooled our resources and booked an Airbnb home right in the heart of beautiful Guanajuato. Between kids, spouses, and in-laws, the trip ended up being a veritable family reunion, with a total of 13 merry travelers joining my dad on this trip back to the home of his youth. No one wanted to miss out on this momentous occasion! I’m especially glad my kids were able to come along with us and that they were the right ages to enjoy the beautiful artwork and traditions of their heritage. Seeing my children walk the pastel streets and bustling plazas with their grandfather was incredibly touching and a little surreal. The sight of generations of Lonas strolling arm in arm amid the landmarks that filled my childhood stories was magical, like something out of a Márquez novel.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa.

–Dr. Raul Lona

LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 | 1

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