BY NAREG KUYUMJIAN
I landed in Los Angeles at 5:24 pm and I was at Ferrahian at 6:42 p.m. Granted, for whoever isn’t familiar with the traffic we Los Angeles residents need to endure, this might seem like a long time, but I can assure you that with Thanksgiving weekend freeway conditions, I couldn’t afford to make any pitstops; the scenic route was for another day. My sister was going to play her first alumni game as a Varsity athlete and I going to play my first alumni game as, dare I say it, an alumnus.
The alumni game didn’t always seem this important to me. When I left, I thought that as a college student I would be too busy to think about a trivial alumni game. I mean from what I had heard, the first semester of college would be living hell. And while, that might have been an exaggeration, one thing I know for sure is that I have so many things to keep track of now that I finally convinced myself to make a Google Calendar. It’s an odd thing to get used to. I would have never thought that things would get so hectic that I would have to resort to a digital program to tell me what to do and when to do it. Nevertheless, the adjustment process was an experience, and contrary to what most people try to portray it as, it’s more than doable. The funny thing about it is that in order to make the transition smoother, I found myself trying to recreate a version of home by implementing elements that reminded me of Ferrahian. I subconsciously decided that if I couldn’t stay at Ferrahian then Ferrahian was going to stay with me. And it is because of this that the idea of the alumni game evolved into something much more than just a day where alumni and students play a basketball game. As I went about recreating my mini Ferrahian, while creating my own unique freshman college experience, the idea of the alumni game evolved from a mere event into an opportunity, my opportunity, to reunite with my loved ones in the home I had grown to love: Ferrahian.
When my life-long friend picked me up from the airport it was like I had never left and, although I hadn’t been back ever since I left for college four months back in August, we picked up right from where we had left off. We took the 405 N all the way to the 101 and one by one I read the exit signs just to make sure they were in the same order until we finally reached one that I had never realized looked so beautiful: White Oak Ave. The nostalgia kicked in. We parked, and I couldn’t help but look at the field, the school, the church, and just smile. I was home.
The wafting smell of soujoukh sandwiches wasn’t even enough to distract me from the feeling I got when I first entered Avedessian Hall. I heard my friends yell my name, run toward me, and in the distance my dad stood up and lit up the entire gym with one of the brightest smiles I had ever seen. The feeling of being back to the place where it all began, surrounded by my Armenian community, was a feeling like no other. I watched my sister play as the blue and yellow colored Armens court popped up from under her neutrally colored gray shoes and I remembered what it felt like to be a Ferrahian student. I took the court with my friends and, like I knew we would, we clicked as if we had been continuing practices ever since our record breaking state championship playoff run back in March. When the game was over and we shook hands with the Varsity players, flashbacks of high school flooded my memory. The memories turned into watery eyes and as I got to catch up with my friends, teachers, and relatives I felt a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my chest. It was good to be back.
Nareg Kuyumjian graduated from the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School in 2017