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Letter: German student’s time in Worthington winds down

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Hello Worthington! Pretty soon my adventure here in Worthington will be over and I have to return back home to Germany. My last months were quite busy here, and I’ve been to lots of places.

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Through the Worthington committee I met Jason and Jean Johnson, who are involved with the Worthington-Crailsheim committee. Jason Johnson is a big fan of NASCAR, so he asked if I would like to join them in the middle of May to go to the Kansas Speedway. I said yes and on May 10, we headed to there. The trip included Jason, his wife Jean and also their daughter Skyla. We arrived in Kansas City and had temperatures in the lower 80s, which was really nice.

The NASCAR race was spread over two days. On Friday they had the qualifying, and on Saturday the actual race took place. Before we drove home on Sunday we stopped at Worlds of Fun and enjoyed the rollercoasters. One tip from my side; stay off the wooden one! I had an awesome weekend with the Johnson family and am so thankful to them that they took me on this trip.

One week later I graduated from Worthington High School, which was also a great experience and much different than in Germany. In Germany we do not wear the matching caps and gowns. I also attended many, many graduation parties of friends and as a result ate too much.

On May 28, the time had come for my family to visit me here in Worthington. Together with Kristie and John Nordell we drove up to St. Peter, where we met my parents and took them out for dinner. We celebrated our reunion at a pub in St. Peter called Patrick’s. After some good American burgers we started heading back to Worthington, and we arrived at midnight.

The next day we drove together with the Lindners to Sioux Falls. We did a small sightseeing tour through the downtown, and we stopped at the falls and went shopping at the Empire Mall. Later we visited the Rib Festival, where we had some nice ribs and also listened to some live music.

On the next day, my family got to see Worthington High School. We walked through the whole school, and I think my parents really enjoyed seeing an American high school. For lunch we had some barbecue. With a full stomach I showed my family the beautiful parks around Lake Okabena and also Worthington’s downtown.

A real highlight was my graduation party on Friday evening, May 30, which was organized by the committee. Lots of people came to my party, including my host parents and host grandparents and also Mayor Alan and his wife Janice Oberloh — as well as many classmates, friends and of course my family. With so many guests in attendance, I was very pleased. It was really amazing what the committee had organized for me.

On Saturday we were invited for lunch by Dale and Shirley Martin. It was very good. The last evening, my family and I spent some time with committee members in a relaxed atmosphere at Nordells.

On Sunday we drove up to the Twin Cities because our plane would take off Monday morning. That was when we flew from Minneapolis to Fort Myers, where our Florida tour started. We went from Sanibel Island over Naples through the Everglades to Key West and then to Miami, Vero Beach, Cape Canaveral, Orlando, Daytona Beach and St. Augustine. For the final touch, we went on a cruise to the Bahamas for four days until my family had to split up again.

I’ve been back for two weeks and am enjoying the last days I have left with my friends. On July 16, the committee will have a farewell picnic in front of the Atrium downtown at 5:15 p.m. For that I want to invite my guest families, the Martins, the Wietzemas, the Nordells and also the Lindners. Also invited are my friends that I met over the whole year (The committee will provide beverages, but please bring your own food and dishes).

When I return to Germany in a couple of weeks, I will have a few months before I start back to high school in September. My family and I are excited to host Worthingtons Crailsheim exchange student Jessica Herrera.

I want to thank the community of Worthington for a year of fun and the opportunity to live and go to school here. I enjoyed the many activities I was able to be part of, and the people and friends I have met.

I have made many memories that I will always carry with me, and your kindness will be with me forever. I hope to see you again someday.

Lars Opaczek Crailsheim exchange student to Worthington

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