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Letter: Basketball game a Germany highlight this month

Hello Worthington! Yes it's already time for another letter from your exchange student. I've had another exciting month here. I love every minute of this country.

The most important news is of my new host family, the Mertens. My host father is an engineer, and my host mother is a teacher. That's a little ironic! I now have three brothers: Lukas (age 18), Joscha (16) and Antone (11). It's quite a change from four sisters! We live in Brunzenberg, which is almost as small as Hagenhof. It is a small village of about 25 people and is about 10 kilometers from Crailsheim. That means I'm not riding my bike to school anymore. Now I ride to school with one of my host parents in the morning and then take the bus back home. It takes about an hour on the bus to reach home from school. The Mertens family returned home in August from an entire year of sailing on the Mediterranean Sea. That would be an exciting year!

So, aside from changing families, what else have I been up to? I went to a Crailsheim Merlins basketball game. It was so cool. Such an exciting atmosphere, and a wonderful arena! The arena held about 1,000 people, and everyone really got into the game. There was a lot of music and nice German cheerleaders. It was also great that they won the game. The Merlins play other teams around Germany, and there are even a couple Americans on the team. A few days before Christmas, the Crailsheim Merlins have a special game and a big celebration where many people come to watch. I'm planning on attending that game, too. Halloween isn't a big deal in Germany, like it is in the United States. Only children younger than 8 years old dress up and go trick-or-treating.

Fall is here in fine form. The temperature is really cooling off, and the trees are beautiful. Around Crailsheim and throughout the parts of Germany that I have seen, it's much hillier with much more forest. Most of the trees are deciduous, so the colors have been amazing with deep reds, bright oranges and subtle browns. It looks really fantastic. I've been watching the weather in Worthington, and Crailsheim is generally about the same temperature.

I'm still enjoying the wonderful food of Germany. Spätzle and maultaschen remain my favorite German foods. Spätzle is just special noodles with different kinds of sauce. You can buy the noodles, but the best tasting ones are those you press yourself! There is a hand-operated press that is used to do this. Maultaschen are vegetables and something like sausage wrapped in pasta. Both of these dishes are really good.

Farming in Germany is way different than in the USA. Everything is tiny! You won't be finding any 36-row planters here. About the only crop that I seen in the field this fall was corn. I've heard that soybeans are grown in other locations in Germany. Unfortunately, I didn't get to witness the harvest because I was traveling at the time. I do look forward to seeing how things work in the spring.

I'm really enjoying my time here. Germany is just an incredible place -- like nothing I've never seen before. I'll update you next month.