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Letter:

I have kept myself busy the last month with school, fencing and other hobbies. One of the more unique things I have done is switch between the ninth and 10th class. My usual class, the 10th, has begun taking practice finals. These are are high-st...

I have kept myself busy the last month with school, fencing and other hobbies. One of the more unique things I have done is switch between the ninth and 10th class. My usual class, the 10th, has begun taking practice finals. These are are high-stakes tests for the German students, and my friends have been putting in some serious time studying. I am exempted from these, so I have been going with the ninth-graders. It’ll make for an amusing story for my children someday when I tell them about the year I went from 11th, to 10th, and finally to ninth grade in school all without failing. So it’s back to being a freshman for me.

 

Fencing has been a ton of fun! Although I would say that I am athletic, my technique often doesn’t show my athleticism. In fencing, you straighten your arm before you lunge. I want to lunge and straighten my arm simultaneously. Every fencing practice I have to be reminded in a stern voice by my coach, “Erst dein Arm, dann du machst besser.” "First the Arm, then you make it better"

Both Skyla and Tom told me that you are really adjusting when you dream in your second language. I had my first dream in German around mid-January. In my dream I was in school, a place every teen dreams about. The class was EWG Geography-Politics. The teacher asked what the birth-to-death ratio was in India. I replied something like, “Zw'lf zu eins.” (12 to 1) The teacher said that was not right, called on another student, and she got it right. That's all I remember, but still it was pretty cool to have that! I’m happy to have reached that milestone in acquiring confidence in my second language.

Christmas was completely different for me. I am a Catholic. In Germany, there are many more Lutherans. One of the things I wanted to see was how different the mass was compared to mass back home. I rode my bike to the nearest Catholic Church, and I was shocked by how similar it was to mass back home. When I go to church on Sundays, I go to Lutheran because it is just easier.

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In Germany, they celebrate Christmas on the 24th, the 25th, and the 26th. Let me tell you: an extra day of celebration makes a huge difference. I woke up unexpecting on the 26th to see my host mom talking about what meal she was going to make to celebrate today. I was beyond confused, as I could only think it’s the day after Christmas - what more is there to celebrate? In America we go right back into business as usual on Dec. 26. I was glad there was another celebration because it’s hard to turn down food and celebration. Overall, I really enjoyed the difference of Christmas from mine. Yes, I wish I could’ve been home for mine, as it’s hard not seeing family at that time, but it created a memory from my time in Germany. I will look back on these times and miss them.

On New Year’s, I couldn't help but compare it to 2016. It was sometime during Christmas vacation when I decided to apply to be the Crailsheim exchange student. It amazes me how much a year changes things. I have had highs and lows going on this path, but I would do it all over again. Before this trip, I had only left the midwest two times. I went on a bus trip with my brother Sam, my dad, and my Aunt Shelby to see Gettysburg and Washington, D.C.. My second trip was with Mr. Loy and the WHS high school band to play at the Outback Bowl. Now, I have been to five new countries - Germany, Italy, Austria, France and the United Kingdom. I am gaining a lifetime of remarkable memories in the things I am learning, the friendships I am making, and being part of this great friendship between the Worthington and Crailsheim communities. I especially want to thank all the members of the German and American committees that built and have maintained this unique program since shortly after the end of World War II.

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