As I mentioned in last Friday’s Simit post, we are happy to have a new writer regularly contributing to Today, I want to introduce Christian Dedrick in his own words…
Christian DedrickWhat do you do when you grow up in a family that went to Greek Festivals, attended Native American Indian Dance Exhibitions, and saw Carlos Montoya and Jose Feliciano live in concert? Well, if you were me (and it’s a good thing you’re not) you would build on that foundation by taking your wife and kids halfway across the world to learn another language and culture in Cappadocia, Turkey. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, let me go back.

I was born into a very interesting family. My parents grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite living only a mile apart, they lived on “opposite sides of the track.” My mom went with her parents to the theater in San Francisco; my dad watched his parents square dance at the Moose lodge. I grew up enjoying both! I lived in a small suburb of Sacramento, California where we could ride our bikes down dirt roads and have awesome dirt clod wars in the fields. But we could also drive an hour east or west and be in the city and night life of San Francisco or Lake Tahoe to get our culture fixes. The best of both worlds!

I went to school at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where I got a degree in Economics and Business. It was a unique place, living amongst the “cultured” elite in the mountains of Montecito, and driving ten minutes down the mountain to the hundreds of homeless and migrant farm workers. Three of my four years at Westmont I went to Mexico for Spring Break to build houses and shelters for orphanages. I also went to Madame Butterfly with Placido Domingo in Los Angeles. I was definitely exposed to both sides of the track and there decided I wanted to use my degree to help those with less opportunity than I had.

“Even though I was the teacher, I was learning much more from these kids.”

When I graduated in 1990 I went to work in the port of Los Angeles at an international freight forwarding company. While there I went to a church that was very active in the community and the world. I continued to grow a love for other languages and cultures through helping African American and Hispanic children at a housing project in the area. Even though I was the teacher, I was learning much more from these kids. They taught me how to persevere in difficult times, how to hope when circumstances looked hopeless. It was good to share life with them even though we were from different cultural backgrounds.

I met a fabulous woman who shares my passion for intercultural relationships and we married in 2001. Now we’re living in Cappadocia, Turkey with our three boys. We are really enjoying learning another language and culture and look forward to sharing life with the people here.