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:Letter: Christmas greetings from Crailsheim

This month went by so quickly! I did so much and I had so much fun. At the beginning of the month, I moved in with the Zanzinger family. They consist of dad Ralph, mom Sandra and two daughters — Kira, 15, who is a friend from my class at school, and Liv, 12. It is the first time I’ve ever had a little sibling and I like it. I enjoy getting to know this family, and I am very happy here.

I continue with ballroom dancing and orchestra. However, I am no longer in soccer because it didn’t work with my schedule, but I hope to continue playing soccer again in the spring. I also began and ended my basketball career in one day! My host sister Kira asked if I wanted to come, and since this year I wanted to try new things, I said yes; but I then realized it wasn’t for me. I do have fun with my other activities, and I am busy with school.

I’ve done a lot of fun activities with my new family. We went to a pool in Bavaria, the neighboring state. There were different swimming pools with various levels of salt. In the most concentrated salt pool, you just floated and it was really cool. We also went to Friesland Museum, which is very similar to Pioneer Village. I was able to historically see how they lived, and I got to tour a house that was 200 years older than America. The Zanzinger family enjoys going to Merlins games quite often.  For those who don’t know, the Merlins are Crailsheim’s professional basketball club. The games are so exciting and so intense. It's fun to be able to see the same players in person that are also on TV. I was surprised to learn there are a lot of players from America. Our team isn’t very good, but it’s still a lot of fun to go watch and cheer for them!

The weather here has been a lot nicer than in Worthington. We had a really warm fall, and there hasn’t been snow yet. The landscape is also very pretty. With my family, I have been to various forests. The first place we went was the Villa. I had to hike up a hill and then, at the end, I could see all of Crailsheim. It was so beautiful and so amazing; it has become one of my favorite places here in Crailsheim. I also went to Burgberg, where I hiked through a forest and then climbed a tower. The view was stunning. Not only could I see Crailsheim, but also the surrounding villages and the hills beyond it.  I think the view here is so beautiful, and I love being outside.

I went to Nürnberg and visited the Christkindlesmarkt Christmas market. It was a wonderful experience. There were many stands with unique Christmas decorations such as nutcrackers, tree ornaments, nativity scenes and various colored glasses. They were almost all were handmade, which must have taken a lot of talent to make. There were also many vendors with a variety of food stands. I tried a traditional Christmas punch, which tasted a lot like hot apple cider and was very delicious. Nürnberg is a beautiful city on its own, but with the Christmas market it was even more spectacular!

I had such an amazing time this past month and I am beyond thankful to both committees and everyone that supports me during this year.