This last month has been very exciting with lots of fun packed in! The main event was my graduation from the Realschule zur Flügelau. In Crailsheim, graduation is a little different than it is in America. Everyone dressed up in fancy attire, and I wore my prom dress from last year that I had also worn to the Abschlussball earlier this year. The ceremony consisted of a long program that included the graduates singing songs, performing skits, participating in quizzes between the separate classes, speeches, a buffet, a photo booth, and finally ended with the students getting their report cards. I was surprised when the principal called me to the stage and thanked me for being there and gave me a little gift. I didn’t receive a report card, but I got a certificate that stated I had studied there. After the ceremony, students go off on their own to celebrate with each other. I really enjoyed my classes, and am very thankful for the people I met and the friendships I made. It was so much fun to get dressed up with all my friends, and I am really proud of them for passing their final exams. It is unbelievable to me to think that the school year, which was a big part of my year, is over already.
I was supposed to have an orchestra concert this month and have been practicing for it a long time, but sadly it was cancelled. However, I am still grateful for all the lessons because I feel I have really improved my cello playing skills.
The third weekend of July was the annual “Kultur Wochenende,” which translates into “Culture Weekend.” This event lasted from Thursday until Sunday night and always had lots of activities going on. Performances included musical bands, comedians, dancers and activities for children. All of the performers I saw were really talented. My favorite performance was a trapeze act. They had a crane, and connected to the crane was a circular ring about 20 feet off the ground. There were four girls dressed all in white and they would perform tricks all at once on the ring. It was amazing, but also kind of insane. They would be flying around in the air as if it was nothing, and then they would dangle two of the girls and only hold on to them by their feet. Then, for the grand finale, they added fire. They had these long matches that were lit, and they held onto them with their toes. Then, they were wearing hats with little pockets, and they put sparklers on them; it was so cool how they did it. I know I would have been terrified if I would have had to do that and admire their courage. At the festival I also enjoyed some delicious food, like bratwurst, cheeseburgers and Flammkuchen, which is really similar to flatbread pizza. They ended the festival with a spectacular show of fireworks that were the best fireworks that I have ever seen!
I was able to see Liss Huss again as she returned home to Crailsheim after her year in Worthington. We both agree the time went fast! I also met Mariah Hennings, the next exchange student, and I gave her some advice on how to deal with homesickness. I am very happy for her because she will now be able to experience an amazing year in a fabulous city.
I enjoyed a farewell party to say goodbye to my host families, special people I know, and some friends. It was held at a small lake. We served Leberkӓse, which has the consistency of meatloaf but tastes like ham, and lots of salads. At the end of the night my friends threw me into the lake fully clothed, and then we swam late into the night. It was so much fun, and I had an amazing time!
This will be the last letter for my year as the Worthington-Crailsheim exchange student representative. I am ready to travel back home and begin my senior year of high school. Time went by so quickly! I have fallen in love with the city of Crailsheim, and it is hard to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I have met. They will all have a special place in my heart forever. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
I am beyond grateful to my family, relatives, friends, committee members who have supported me, and the Globe for allowing me to share my experience with the people who have read my letters. Thank you!