When I was an awkward 12-year-old, trying to make friends, fit in and figure out my place in the world, I got plucked from a public school and put into a private Armenian institution for two years. It wasn’t by choice. The school district had a problem with the fact that I lived one street over from their designated city line and so off to Armenian school I went, for better or for worse.
It took one year (and countless horrific hours memorizing Armenian conjugations and reciting snippets of ancient Armenian history in front of a bunch of bored prepubescents) but I finally felt like I had made a place in this strange, yet comforting environment.
As the end of junior high approached, classes were routinely taken on trips to Armenia as a last hurrah before venturing off to the scary world of high school, where you end up right back down at the bottom of the hierarchy again.