I have now finished the first couple of days of a trial, after having been picked on Wednesday to be a juror in a court case. The whole concept is new to me and I’m learning so much from the experience, but alas I cannot share any information whatsoever about the proceedings, so as not to compromise the case, or get slapped with a penalty. I can say that I’m looking forward to being a part of the process and the deliberations, which may or may not be similar to what goes on in the movie “12 Angry Men.” I eagerly anticipate watching it again after many years, now with some personal insight to the American judicial system. It’ll be quite a different experience for me than when I read and saw it in school, at age 12 or 13.

This is one of those moments where I am extremely grateful for my bilingual education. I went to the English School in Helsinki for 11 years of my life, and I can honestly say that without those early years of consistent training in the English language, my life in New York these days would be quite different. I can thank those years for instilling in me my love of the English language and a great foundation in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. I still have an accent, but I feel quite confident in my communication skills these days. It is my Finnish skills that I really need to be working on right about now….

If it weren’t for my history at the English School, I suspect it would be difficult for me to serve on an American jury today. And yet, at the same time, here I am–not even having finished high school! Who am I to talk about education? Well, the amount that I did receive, I received well. And I certainly want to study more and expand my horizons for the rest of my life. I have come to see very clearly that the adage about education being the silver bullet is no joke. I’m admittedly making up for lost time.

Here’s one area where I am extremely grateful to my parents: for understanding that learning a second language at a very young age was important. There are many things that can be said about the school I attended as a child, and not all of it is positive. I certainly remember numerous traumatic experiences and injustices, and I’m sure I’m not alone with these recollections. But I’ve also put plenty of the lessons I learned to good use. And as with any experience, I can always take what I like and leave the rest; I am learning that now. I can finally apply that to my old school and heartily appreciate the gifts it has given me, “12 Angry Men” among them. I’ve now officially opened the wrappings.

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”