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Friday, July 01, 2005 | was born in San Diego and grew up on the southeastern most corner of Balboa Park. I spent many days playing football at the park, baseball and basketball at the Golden Hill Recreation Center, and even sneaking onto the ninth hole at the Balboa Park Golf Course to see if I could drive a golf ball to the fourth green. It’s a great neighborhood to grow up in, with a great front yard – Balboa Park.

In the summer, we would walk to the Balboa Navy Hospital pool to cool off and in the evenings walk the Balboa Park Golf Course 18th hole or play tennis at Morley Field. In the fall, my brother, some friends and I would walk to Balboa Stadium to watch the San Diego Chargers. As I got older, I continued with sports and became an elite distance runner, and even captained my Saint Augustine High School track and cross country team whose home course was Balboa Park. During my college years, I ran with the San Diego Track Club and in our races through Balboa Park, I ran through the International Houses of Pacific Relations but noticed there was something missing.

My family hails from Mexico – my dad is from Mexico City and my mother is from Culiacan Sinaloa. My older brother and sister were born in Mexico, and then my dad’s work brought him first to Tijuana (where my sister was born) and then to San Diego. Every summer we would spend time in Mexico to visit family and celebrate our proud Mexican traditions. During the school year, we would spend many weekends visiting Tijuana where the boys would get their haircuts and my mom would do some shopping. Our parents always instilled in us the pride in our Mexican roots, and I looked forward to visiting Mexico where the welcoming spirit is “Mi casa es su casa.”

In the mid 1990s, I was twice elected president of the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and we held events with other groups in Balboa Park. But something was missing. There was the House of Sweden, House of Scotland, House of U.S.A., House of Ireland, but where was my house – the House of Mexico?

On Nov. 7, 2004, the International Houses of Pacific Relations finally voted us in. Now our more than 200 members are working to raise $225,000, and the San Diego City Council must approve a change in the Balboa Park master plan to allow the construction of more international houses. Our mission is to educate others of the wondrous art, culture and history of Mexico. We plan to showcase different states every month, with the typical food, art and culture of the regions. We want both the region’s children and adults to learn about Mexico’s grand history and traditions. The House of Mexico will promote the wonder and beauty of Mexico, from Tijuana to Merida.

Enrique Morones is president and founder of the House of Mexico,

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