New country means new beginnings


Contributed by Ahmet Minnich.

Ahmet Minnich sits with his mother, Kader Minnich (right) and a family friend visiting from Turkey (left). He was 7-years-old at his first Indy 500 race.

Looking past the racist jokes and stereotypes tthat were placed upon him hroughout middle school, junior Ahmet Minnich, who used to be known as Ahmet Karacan, has accustomed to a life in the U.S after moving from Adana, Turkey when he was almost 7 years old.
The only father figure Minnich knew was his stepfather (now his legal parent), that his mother met when he was 4. It was difficult for them to communicate because Minnich’s stepfather had only a small range of Turkish vocabulary. Sometimes, he’d use a friend from his base who could translate. At the age of 6, Minnich, his stepfather and mother all decided to move to the U.S. The main purpose for the move was for Minnich to receive a better education and have a better life. In first grade, he was held back because he hardly knew any English. Making friends and communicating with his teachers was a huge challenge his first few years in the U.S.
“We came for opportunities we didn’t have in Turkey like having a nice house, being able to go to college and owning nice things,” Minnich said.
According to Minnich, the struggle was much greater in Turkey to have a good paying job and to go to college.
Aside from language being a challenge when Minnich came to the U.S., he also had to face some fears. In his new house, he had a big room compared to his old one, and slept alone. It was much different than how he was used to sleeping in Turkey.
“In my new house, when I was sleeping in a room by myself, I’d get so scared because I was so used to sleeping with my cousins,” Minnich said.
The last time Minnich went to Turkey was in fourth grade when he was 8. He misses his grandmother the most because while his mother was working hard all the time to support him, he stayed with his grandmother. He is still able to stay in touch thanks to the new video chatting feature on Facebook.
Recently, Minnich’s father made being his guardian official, by adopting him, which is why his last name is no longer “Karacan.” Minnich didn’t want his biological father’s last name anymore because he has grown so close with the only man he has ever known as a father, and this made him want to share a last name with him. Because he is adopted, Minnich has the benefit of attending college for free because of the military benefits his father receives.
Thanks to the energy Minnich witnessed his stepfather give while watching American football on TV, he decided to move on from soccer and try something new in fourth grade. Minnich has now been starting as defensive safety since sophomore year for the varsity team at SHS.
According to Minnich, a big difference between the two countries is that in Turkey, everyone is Muslim, and here, it seems like everyone is Christian. Minnich remembers going downtown and always seeing a giant Mosque and seeing hundreds of people praying each day. The wardrobe is very different as well. Minnich’s mother is Muslim and his father is Christian. Although he says he puts forth the effort to practice both, he has not committed to just one.