Gifts From Above (2021) digital, Mr. Jakob


It’s with heavy hearts that we have to say goodbye to the boys for now. We will have to retire to families of our own and dry our eyes with the brand new socks we will all inevitably be gifted by those we love the most.

Though the week’s not over, so many have already flown the nest. In home-stretch, we want to wish everyone the best of the best over this winter season.

See you all soon!

-The Olympus Boarding House Team

Punchlines: Some Weekend Activities Notes

Our weekend activities over the 10th to the 12th.

Aleksei went to sample the new Disney film, which was unfortunately not as consistently entertaining as he would have liked.

Aleksei and the girls pose with the poster for the motion picture they sampled over the weekend.

And Maksim and Nikita in the throes of our boxercise activity

Maksim looses himself in the heat of combat, finding that sweet spot. The space between spaces. The glorious void between Boxing…and Exercise.


A relaxed weekend as the semester winds down.

Rituals: Chocolate Cauldrons, Snow Flurries and Formal Attire

As I’ve written here before, change is the thing that doesn’t. Things are always changing but something I’ve not focused on entirely is the biggest change to all of us. In this cosmopolitan world, globalisation has us all thinking that we’re closer. More connected. When I don’t know that that’s entirely true. Perhaps we’re all listening to each other more but are we doing much of anything different? How much has our behaviour changed in this cross-cultural mass-communications forum? Questions for people with a broader scope and university grants, I should think.

What I’m trying to say, is that the virus changed everything because for the first time in a long time, everyone had to deal with the same thing. The virus is universal and everywhere and it’s thrust upon us very very difficult times. Uncertain times.

Working in education, where so many students feel uncertainty far more strongly than anybody else -especially those who are making their first real choices in life through a path into higher education- having to contend with such a powerful additional dose of entropy is incredibly challenging to contend with.

As much as we do for the boarders, they do so much for us in return. Putting on brave faces or outright helping to keep things together where they can. So many have been as much of a part of holding this community together as any staff by stoking the spirits of everyone here, staff or student, just the same.

In this uniquely international community, shared experience is very much at the centre of our foundation and that includes sharing the best of times and the worst and making it through, together.

Thrown in, mixed together. An alloy is always stronger than outright purity.

The snow fell thick last week. Thick and frosty, down from the peaks.

The snow brings about change. Mostly in gardening expenses as a tree has shattered from the weight of the virgin snow.


The snow fell thick over the last week. There are few who would think of it as not being unlike a sheet of white paper, a symbol of a fresh start with the advent of the new year. The old ground covered by a perfect sheet to be withdrawn like a magician’s silk handkerchief. And alakazam! A brand new world. Filled with new chances.

That image is one we don’t discourage here. As much as the snow might just be a covering that can’t undo. We think of it as an encouraging sign that things that have been, need not continue to be as such. Efforts can be renewed and brought in from the cold as we near the spring.

But before the spring, the winter gets its share. And to pay to tribute to the season, boarders and staff alike at CDL enjoy each others company at the annual Christmas Dinner.

Two of our Olympus boys, Alexandre (centre left) and Victor (centre right) are joined by fellow CDL boarders Gabriel (left) and Milla (right) in a black and white format as formal as their sharp attire.


It’s an event that provides not just an atmosphere of levity, but a touch of formal ritual that can add meaning to the changing of seasons and lend itself as a platform for the elevation of the usual cheer that follows any CDL gathering.

‘Yuletide Cheer’ (2021) Digital Photography

Aleksei enrapturing the rest of the Olympus boys at his table in a story.

A mature and pensive attitude is present during the entrées for Azamat and Alexandre.

Aleksei, Kirill, Nikita, Maksim and Ilya anticipate the next course.

Rayan, Boris, Victor, Bruno and Nikita enjoy the atmosphere

Victor has gotten separated from the group and appears to have fallen in with some other splendid CDL boarders.


A delightful affair, un-dampened by the circumstances. As I’ve said before, the boarders really do the heavy lifting in these gatherings. Doing each other the favour of each others company. Reminding everyone of the community they have here. As tough as times can get, the net they grow here between each and everyone of them will catch them no matter what happens.

Aleksei (the youngest) and Boris (the oldest) bring down a deadly rolling pin upon the chocolate effige of the legendary cauldron.


And speaking of bonding rituals, CLD being within the borders of the canton of Geneva, we pay respect to the most famous and important custom in the region. The smashing of the chocolate cauldron to commemorate the thwarted nocturnal invasion of the city by the French Savoyars mercenaries who tried to conquer the Protestant city for the Duchy’s Christian rule. 2,000 commandos were sent in the dead of night wearing woollen foot-wraps to scale the defensive walls of the great city. But were thwarted by a variety of different things depending on who tells the tale.

A boy chasing a chicken? A young man returning from his forbidden love’s home? A lame dog, lost in the woods or the ghost of Saint Martin himself. Whoever alerted the watchmen, did so. And the heavy ropes that held the city gates were severed and the city gates were sent crashing down upon the mercenaries and despite their hooked ladders, citizens and militiamen fought alongside each other to defeat the stragglers and send them home either dead or in shame.

And in the middle of the melee, a woman hefted her boiling cauldron from the window of her apartment and sent it plummeting down upon a Savoyard soldier, burning him horrifically and forcing him into a life of touring freak shows or simply killing the man, depending on who tells the tale.

And so a milk-chocolate cauldron filled with marzipan vegetables is broken open as a sacrifice to the spirit of those who defended Geneva from invasion. The youngest in the household and the oldest; unite in breaking open the cauldron and then all are invited to gorge upon the sweet entrails of the confection.

The chocolate cauldron is shattered by the might of shared force. LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC!

It’s good fun.

We’re all from different places with different ideas. This season is one that is subject to many rituals. From the pagan rituals of the equinox, to simply the advent of the new years. Santa Claus, Saint Nicolas or Father Winter. The spirit remains. All of us, together. United against the cold within ourself and at our doors.

With a joke or with a helping hand, there are many ways to take a turn and stoke the fire around which we all gather.

Wishing you the best of the best from Olympus Boarding House over this winter season.


Golden Boons for Our Golden Boys: The Boarding Awards 2021

I’ll keep this brief.

Our boys brought home the gold, yesterday. And we are beyond chuffed.


Jinwoo, Nikia K. and James won award for being excellent boarders.


Here they are once again. Not even the least bit less impressive.


Our boys Ilya, Tony and Tamuno winning award for their activity participation!


DOUBLE TROUBLE! Our boy Tony winds an award for his stellar academics! We’re going to need a neck-brace for all that strain it’s putting on our champion’s shoulders!


We can’t be more proud of our boys bringing home the gold so that we can melt them all down and construct our giant mega-medal.

Best Wishes,

Olympus Boarding!

Olympus Birthday: Nikita!

A Happy Birthday for a Very Happy Boy!

The winter months aren’t just about the birth of one very special boy. But the birth of many. Including the very ones that find themselves sheltered from the Alpine cold under the mighty roof of Olympus.

And today, we celebrate another such birthday for Nikita! He’s a wonderful lad and an honour to have among us here in the boarding house.

Here’s to you, Nikita!

States of Water: Weekend of the 3rd to the 5th of December 2021

The water cycle. Down from the sky it comes, in great big sheets. Dripping down the mountains and slipping into our soil and our lakes and then back up it goes into the clouds, all to come on back down again. And boy did we feel it this weekend at C.D.L.

It snowed and it rained. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Because we were all out in the rain, you see.

A lovely sight from the Nature Walk activity this weekend! The rivers are full and flowing thanks to the snow and rain over the past few days!

Our boy Tony fights the elements in the Running Club. Battling his way forwards through the deluge for another record-setting lap. We assume. He doesn’t keep track. But he always makes it back to the house sooner and sooner.


It isn’t just nature that controls water’s states of matter. It’s also man. And this weekend, we had the privilege of visiting the skating rink in Vernets! Hockey-rink by day and hockey-rink by night, there’s nothing this hockey-rink can’t do!

And there’s nothing our Olympus boarders and staff can’t do when they put their minds to it!

Mr. Xavier and Murat are out on the slipping gallery! Skating up a storm! Crushing the ice! Dancing the Bladed Mambo! Having a good time!


And as much as it can change, that’s what makes it all so much fun. Because we’re all so often like water. Colder and more resistant, or warmer and letting our spirits float a little more freely than usual.

Either way, it was another successful weekend here at Olympus Boarding House! We sincerely hope yours was as wonderful as ours!

Good Share Day: Cooking with and for Friends

A lot of things change. Our hairstyles, our fashion choices. The media we so enjoy shifts and morphs with every passing year into something different. Change is ironically the thing that really doesn’t. But something that never changes, is the joy in preparing and then sharing a good meal.

Michel, Nihad and Mirsadi all joined forces to prepare some Khinkali dumplings, a favourite in Azerbaijani cuisine and a recipe taught to Nihad by his grandmother.


Three of our boys knuckled down and prepared a favourite of theirs for the pleasure of our boarders and CDL community.

The ‘khinkali’ dumplings are knotted dough sacks stuffed with minced meat, vegetables and spices and then boiled to cook.

Nihad shows off a khinkali that’s ready to be cooked.


Michel fills the sacks with mince and spices and then binds them to seal them when cooking to retain the juices. While Mirsadi flattens and rolls out the dough for Michel. An efficient operation to say the least!


Nihad boils the khinkali to perfection!


And with hard work and dedication, Nihad, Michel and Mirsadi produced enough for the day after! Preserving them in the fridge for later consumption.

Leo enjoys some Khinkalis!


Mr. Xavier is thrilled at the opportunity to share some fine Azerbaijani cooking while Nihad adds the finishing touch to a delicious meal.


Cooking together and eating together. Since the dawn of time. The hottest hearth used to be the centre of our first villages. Where the fire is the warmest, so are the hearts. And if the kitchen in Olympus isn’t our heart, then we don’t know what is.

Boris gets in on the cooking by preparing a juicy pair of steaks for himself and for Mr. Xavier.


We’re proud to say that all of our boarders share food. If there’s somebody cooking on the stove, you bet they’re asking around if there’s anybody who wants some. And there almost always is. We don’t use the smaller pots and pans here at Olympus. Because we’re always ready to share.

Come on by and we’ll be sure to show you we mean business!

Best wishes and appetites from Olympus Boarding House!

Snow Place Like Home

Gabriel, Nihad, Mirsadi and Nikita experience a gorgeous volley of Alpine snow on our very own crepuscular campus.


Just a quiet night-time drop-in from your friends at the Olympus Boarding House with a few notes on the winter season that careens towards us at break-neck speed. Simultaneously welcomed and…braced for.

Despite being after our curfew, we couldn’t resist letting our boys out for some extra time to shove each other into snowbanks, drop ice down each others shirts and in the case of Gabriel, be kidnapped by Hawaiian Aliens and dropped back to earth through a Christmas Display at Globus.

We all celebrate the winter season differently. Deeper in European regions, Christmas is very much in the Christian tradition. Christ’s birthday is the centre-piece of the season. But with our international campus, we all celebrate some semblance of the holiday. Often divorced from the original religious significance of the season, but very much a celebration of family, community and cheery, charitable spirit. For so many, the burning hearth is a symbol of this season. And I have always interpreted the stoking of the flames as the kindness that we do unto each other, stoking the hearths in each others hearts.

For when the night is at its darkest and at its longest and at its coldest, we crowd closer to the fire. And in spirit, closer to each other in the harshest time of the year.

So we wish you all the best from Olympus. And as much as we’d love to trust the boys with fire, we’ll have to stick with our central heating. And crowd around the warm communal spirit we’re so lucky to have firmly at the heart of our boarding house.

Warm winter-time wishes from Olympus!

KING OF THE HILL: The Olympus House Competition

Hercules, Hector, Perseus, Jason (2021) illustrated by Mr. Jakob


The Alpine crown weighs heavy on the head of Switzerland. It’s a great honour to have so many high, high mounts of such quality. There’s nowhere in the world quite like it. The peaks that mark the border between land and sky in our beautiful country are as famous as our heroes.

At C.D.L, the buildings that stud our campus are named after these summits. Eiger, Cervin, Saleve, Mont Blanc…


‘Olymp.’ the golden mount. The landing of the Gods. Zeus, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hermes, in all their glory and immeasurable violence ruled over the Greek Isles with irresponsible wrath and questionable logic. Unlike the proud sentinels of C.D.L’s mount Olympus, whose rule is fair and only somewhat irresponsible.

Mount Olympus was scaled by many. But only the Greek Heroes were able to heave themselves atop the marble platform. And proceed onwards into the annals of Elysium as legends. And this thirst for championhood is something we encourage at Olympus, accomplishing it through the inter-grade House Competition!

Raking together points through good deeds and victory in glorious combat, our grades compete to scale the mountain and reach the top. Those who penetrate Zeus’ temple at the summit, get to ask favour of the Gods at the activities committee and secure funds for an Olympus-related adventure like no other.

Mr. Tom can be seen waving in the background as the imposing wooden slab of mount Olympus can be seen in the foreground, mapping out the progress of the different grades within the boarding house and their proximity to sweet victory.

Bringing up the rear, Grade 12 (Hercules). In fourth, Grade 11 (Jason) close behind third place occupied by Grade 09 (Perseus) and leading the way, Grade 10 (Hector)


Only the truest champions can labour their way to Godhood.

May the best win and may the fall from the top break only your bones. Saving your spirit for the day you try once more.

All the best from Olympus Boarding House!