There are things you love about a new country, and things you hate. What doesn't get discussed so much are things that affect your life, maybe a lot, but that you neither love nor hate. They just are.
The Armenian language. I posted about this a couple of times. The Armenian language is hard, and I never got much of a handle on it. In Serbia I reached the point where I could understand a simple conversation; in Romania I could actually talk, sort of. In Armenia I never got past the basic expressions and counting to ten.
Why not? Well, first, it's just a hard language. It's officially Indo European, but in the way the duck-billed platypus is officially a mammal. I've managed to get a grip on one non-Indo European language, but Indonesian is a creole with drastically simplified grammar and lots of borrowed words. Armenian isn't easy in that way. It isn't easy at all. The grammar is complicated and the cognates are usually distorted out of recognition.
Second, the alphabet. It's hard to grasp a language when you can't read it. Third, Armenia isn't one of those countries where people light up and get excited when you speak a few simple phrases. I mean, people don't discourage you from speaking Armenian, but they don't strongly encourage you either. This made a difference.
And fourth-fifth-sixth, I wasn't as motivated this time: I had less time on my hands, I knew we'd only be here a couple of years, and Armenian (unlike Serbian or Romanian) doesn't help you pick up other, related languages.
(Totally random note: In Romania, someone once asked me if I spoke Russian. I replied that I didn't, but that I spoke some Serbian, and that helped -- "because as all my Serb friends tell me, Russian is just bad Serbian!" Hilarity! Everyone thought this was funny.
(I tried that same joke half a dozen times in Armenia. Nobody ever laughed. I have no idea why.)
The sound of spoken Armenian left me nonplussed too. There are languages I find pleasant just to listen to -- Palauan (a Micronesian language that, to my ear, sounds like chortles and coos), French -- and languages that sound unpleasant -- Cantonese (hissing and whining). But spoken Armenian didn't affect me one way or the other. Someone or other described it as "Farsi with a Russian accent spoken while banging on a pipe", which is a reasonable first approximation. It's not attractive to me, it's not unpleasant either. It just... is.
Anyway. This has nothing to do with the relative merits of Armenian, which I'm sure is a wonderful language, powerful and subtle and able to express the most subtle shades of feeling and meaning. "The Armenian language has walked through history in iron boots," someone or other is supposed to have said, and I don't doubt it.
Living in a country where you don't understand more than a few words of the language is a very different experience from living in a country where you have the basic vocabulary. You're more isolated. You worry about situations that wouldn't normally be worrisome -- can you get around on the Metro? Can you order food from the little kiosk? Will the taxi driver try to rip you off? Small stuff, but the effect is cumulative.
Not speaking any Armenian was part of our experience here, and not in a good way. If we'd learned some, I'm sure we'd have enjoyed our time here more. But, for the various reasons given above, we just didn't.