I must include a link to Isabella Mori's guest post.
As a sidebar to the Russian connection, my passion for languages had a similar origin (albeit sans ex-german-soldier teachers). I was very fortunate to study Latin in high school (elementary school would have been even better, especially if Greek had also been part of the curriculum). Typically, it was part of the 'alternative curriculum' and was not even offered in the main high school building - although I didn't mind trekking over to the nearby mini-school.
I am very glad that Isabella emphasizes the usefulness of studying these languages, and the way it can "open up language and make it easy".
After all, human knowledge and culture are almost entirely encoded in language.