[RE-UPLOAD] Pizza Day

[ORIGINAL DRAFT DELETED DUE TO IMAGE QUALITY ISSUES]

“When the moon hits your eye like a big Pizza pie,

That’s Amore!

When you swim in the creek and an eel bites your cheek,

That’s a Moray!”

Imanali poses with Pizza as we haul them from the kitchen back up to Olympus.

“Ayu Ready To Rumble!?” Our boy Ayu plows ahead with the bulk of the delivery. Don’t let his slight frame fool you. When it comes to Italian food, there’s few as motivated.

pizza…

Pizza.

Pizza!

PiZzA!

…not pizza…

Experienced Beginners: Mountain Weekend January 28th-30th

It was in the last mountain weekend post that I mentioned how the Swiss geography really lends so much to the C.D.L experience. Switzerland is its own compact eco-system. It doesn’t take much to bound from bustling metropolitan areas to grandiose rural splendour. The snowy peaks and tender alpine valleys are only ever a train-ride away. The opportunity to share a back-yard like no other with our students, too good of an opportunity to pass up!

We spent our first mountain weekend in the summer among the green slopes of Leysin, mountain-biking, climbing, horseriding and so many other wonderful things. But with this January coming to a close, we’re still in the winter swing of things and that means we’re looking to strap on our respective carbon-fibre sports equipment and take to the snow!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, over this past ski-weekend, we journeyed up into Crans-Montana for an unforgettable weekend!

We approach the mountains, basking in the glow of the setting sun. Believe it or not, it’s a sight that doesn’t get old around here. It’s amazingly difficult to convey the scope of the mountains through the lens of a camera. The parallax can’t be replicated. From down bellow at the bottom of the valley, the mountains look impossible massive, almost unattainable.

The Communal Crest of Crans-Montana

We spent our weekend at C.D.L’s usual lodging at the La Moubra, home of many summer-camps being held in Crans-Montana.

Between Saturday and Sunday, activities were split between the two days. Skiers and Snowboarders would head up onto the slopes for either morning and a number of activities were available to others such as Snow-Tubing, Ice-Skating, an Excursion Day that included a visit to an Escape-Room and some time in the town of Sion and for those more hardcore than the hardcore, there was the study-hall.

Aleksei shows off his winter look. Practical as well as dead stylish.

Even though the sun shone very brightly down on us, we had to wrap up tightly.

Aleksei hefts his tube back up the slope for another of countless rounds of sliding down a snowy slope in a huge inflatable donut. Truly, the world of tomorrow.

Boris, Mr. Xavier, Iyowuna and David stop for a quick photo-op between helpings of adrenaline.

Iyowuna and Boris and a number of other, lesser non-Olympus boarders braving the glorious slopes together for a gorgeous day of controlled-sliding-based activities.

Skiing is something that people who live around here have grown up with. It’s difficult to find someone who lives here who hasn’t learned to ski as a youngster and so it’s often a wonderful experience when we welcome a boarder who has no experience in the sport at all. It really ‘is’ a pilgrimage to the mountain, with all of the rituals included. Early-rises and crisp mornings filled with brand new snow to be sliced through at top speed then followed by the gradual and smooth slow-down into the lunching hour. There’s nothing like some hot fries on a cold crips day on the slopes.

Nihad (in the frightening reflective helmet more suitable to be worn on the silver screen by a super-hero in a Japanese monster-movie) and Michel (in the pleasant orange jacket) pose with a wonderful instructor up on the slopes.

Nihad has removed his intimidating disguise and is now free to be mistaken for a young John Stamos holidaying away from the set of Full House to catch some sun and snow.

Boris with some inconsequential individuals who seek only to leech off of his coolness by mere proximity.

Imanali, The Head of The Elves, Ilya and Cool David pose together before braving the Santa’s Workshop escape-room on Saturday with myself.

One of the highlights of the trip were the escape-rooms. Fantastically sophisticated, there wasn’t one that was stale. Despite our Olympus boys being selected for the ‘Santa’s Workshop’ escape room as compared to one featuring a haunted mansion or an escaped dinosaur in a laboratory, we found it to be a real thrill as we decoded messages, hooked up tubing, e-mailed santa clause, argued about what constituted a rhombus, took all the batteries out of the lights, crawled through secret passages, piloted miniature construction equipment and did some minor re-wiring. We were the first to escape thanks to our combined wit and tactfulness and ability to recognise basic shapes at the best of times. No pleasantly decorated workshop can hold the Olympus boys when they put their heads together!

Maksim (coming in for the lowest of low-fives) and Nikita have a pleasant ice-skate in town. What a wonderful time they’re having. With all this sun, you’d think it was a race against time to get in as much sliding as possible before it turns into swimming!

Upon our returns to Olympus on Sunday evening, we celebrated Wenyan’s birthday! A wonderfully festive end to a glorious weekend.

The candles stand no chance against Wenyan’s incredible lung capacity!

 

The Olympus boys celebrate another year as a step towards maturity by having an inaugural pillow-fight after a helping to cake.

A photograph I took of Lake Montana at the foot of the town. It was truly a beautiful weekend with a sun so bright one would think it was getting closer. There’s nothing like the Swiss mountains, there really isn’t.

In confidence, between you and me. I think that the weekend went smoothly. I even remarked to a colleague that it was going “suspiciously” smoothly. I guess it’s my own professional pessimism getting the best of me as I think I’ve really nailed down what made me uneasy. I’m always ready for things to be a challenge, so when they go well, I always begin to suspect that something, somewhere, has gone wrong. But in the end, it’s just a case of us having grown closer as a boarding house. Despite there being frictions here and there, us having spent so much time together as a house and getting to know each other, there’s a wordless communication that establishes itself effortlessly. We know when to catch each other and lift each other up. We know when to push each other in a spurring way or in an encouraging way. We can communicate in a far more frank way and in a way that involves a mutual respect. We’ve gotten to know what we’re about and that we trust each other when our doubt runs high and that goes both ways. There’s a lot of trust invested, in both directions. This trust is something that I’m proud of as a professional and reserve a lot of pride for the boarders under my care. Sure, there are times when we let each other down, but we know that we’ll make it up to each other on the flip-side. Truth is, both sides are always learning in education. Comedian Mike Birbiglia always describes working with young people the best when he says:

“My friends ask me if it’s fun working with kids. To which I stop myself from saying that it is, because a lot of the time it’s not. It’s not fun. But what it ‘is’, is ‘new’. It’s always just…’new’.”

This quote resonates with me a lot. As with skiing being something we can offer to inexperienced boarders the chance to learn and appreciate, the ones who have done it a hundred times before can learn just as much in a day as the beginners.

We hope your weekend was as wonderful as ours. As usual, it’s only the best of the best from the Olympus boys to you!

A bonus photograph of our very own Mr. Xavier getting some shut-eye even before the weekend has properly begun!

WellBeing Aside: Tea-Times

Something that I’ve neglected to write about, here on the blog, are Nihad’s Azerbaijani tea-parties.

Nihad loves his home country’s dishes and delicacies. You’ve no doubt seen our previous post chronicling Nihad’s khinkali dish he served the boarders as well as the staff before the winter break.

With him, Nihad brings a veritable library of teas from his homeland of Azerbaijan, of all kinds. As well as Azerbaijani honey and spiced meats. In the evenings, we often sit down for tea with Nihad, after he asks us to join him, which we always do and he serves us freshly brewed tea with honey.

It’s a wonderful moment of relaxation for whoever chooses to join and I can’t believe I’ve never written about it properly, here. It’s a moment we all share, truly. Between the drinkers and those who happen to be passing through the kitchen, it’s impossible not to be sucked into conversation. And the conversation always starts with uninitiated members of the tea-parties asking Nihad about where this tea comes from. This opens the door to powerful cultural exchange as everyone naturally begins to discuss their own home rituals and what dishes ‘they’ would choose to share, were they given the opportunity. It’s wonderful and profound tradition we’re privileged to have developed here in Olympus.

New Arrival Christiaan shares a drink with Nihad, a proper induction into Olympus.

New Arrival Abay shares his thoughts on the tea.

There are other rituals that we love to share here at Olympus and another firm favourite is Mr. Tarun’s trials by fire through the use of multi-player videogames that often turn into impromptu-house competitions.

Mr. Tarun plays Video-Games with Aoto while Ayu and Davyd watch in awe.

Take a little while to think about the traditions that you would share were you given the opportunity. Being brave enough to be vulnerable to show some true passion is a powerful key to many amazing things that make a community stronger.

-Best of The Best from the Olympus Boys!

Mountains and Molehills: Weekend 14-16 January

Just because the winter holidays are over, doesn’t mean that winter isn’t sticking around. With the ice-cold bite of the bise coming from the north-east and distributing shivers among the CDL campus population, the snow is still far from melted.

Over this weekend, the ski-club had its first outing and our boy Nikita tagged along for the ride. Taking the bus early in the morning before the light of day can thaw too much of the frost, the ski club headed up into the mountains to experience the wonderful snow that the Swiss mountains have to offer. And though it was a brisk morning start, our CDL Ski-Clubbers were carving the slopes up like nobody’s business.

(above) Nikita demonstrates a neat technique on the mountain paths.

 

Nikita shredding some powder.

Nikita arriving on the mountain with the other Ski-Clubbers along with a guest appearance from CDL’s very own Mr. Max

Switzerland is an incredible opportunity for skiing for all proficiency levels. Smooth rides or rough rides, these mountains have it all!

That being said, while the ski club was riding high, everyone down in the valley below were making it a weekend to remember on their own terms!

Maksim and Ilya take it easier down down down below in the heated Tennis dome.

Ivan and Gary in the depths of the culinary alchemy that goes on in CDL’s elaborate Cooking Club.

Our Mr. Tarun provides a challenge for Murat, one of our many Chess enthusiasts here in Olympus.

We celebrate a dual birthday for Max and James! Hip-hip hooray for a double-barrel blast of joy to the face!

 

Another successful weekend for the boys and staff! It’s a good omen for the weekend after next, with the return of the mountain weekends!

Check back in, soon!

Best of the best from the Olympus boys!

Making Friends: Return of WellBeing at Olympus

How To Make Friends with Gabriel: A Guide

Step 1: Enthusiasm.

Step 2: Plotting.

Step 3: Extraction.

Step 4: Friendship.

 

With a new semester, a new WellBeing Pillar. Pillar 3 is all about positive relationships. What it means to be a good friend, being aware of bad friends and how to deal with them and help them, especially if you’re beginning to discover that you might be the bad friend.

Miss. Emilie and Miss. Terri (who are heading up this entire pillar)’s wonderful poster advertising the new WellBeing Pillar! ‘The Key to Being A Good Friend’

Mr. Jakob and Gabriel add a finishing touch to the Friends to make them seem a little more personable and approachable.

A delicious piping hot pizza straight from the ovens in the Collège du Léman’s kitchens!
Nothing truly says friendship like Pizza, does it?