Winter Travel



After being stuck in Trondheim for four months, Jiann Chyuan just needs a revenge for the intense boredom, and he has got his big one!


Double update! Yes, as indicated in the title, it is time for winter travel!

It is really very unsatisfying that I travelled only 300km the furthest from Trondheim during my four-month stay in Norway. You call it save the best for the last? I call it it is finally time to begin the first one. Yes, the first one.

Do I need to say more? Nope. The picture is self-explanatory.

A favour to ask, please visit frequently and click on the ads, although it is very likely that that no update will be available for one month. Thank you.


DanErik and Kasper


When it comes to probably the last post about Trondheim, Jiann Chyuan finds it impossible not to mention the highlight of his life in Norway, the house mates.


Four months is a relatively short period to understand something thoroughly. When it comes to understand someone, I am left with a question: Does it always has to be similarities stick together? Or is it possible to be oppositely attractive?

I specifically dedicated this post to my two lovely Norwegian house mates, DanErik Holmstrøm and Kasper Steen, the exclusive highlights to my stay in Norway.

Asking myself my first experience to living with foreigners (although I am the actual foreigner in this context), my answer would be: it could have been a lot better.

No fight, no conflict, no disagreements, but sadly, no chemical and no fireworks. Indeed, I was with high expectation that I would eventually walk away from this country, proudly telling everyone that I’ve made two great Norwegian friends. However, rocket high expectation turned out to be me being pathetically hopeful.

The disappointment is hard to hide. Should I console myself that making friends with Norwegian is harder than for human to put their first step on the Moon, judging by the fact that Stella is the sole successful example? Or should I blame myself for not trying hard enough? The latter case is a perfect illustration of me being absolutely hopeful again.

Well, at least there is something to cheer about. I have been answered: we are just different. When it takes one positive ion atom and one negative ion atom to bond together, this law of chemistry doesn’t really seem to be applicable in relationship.

I couldn’t help myself but wonder, does it always require similarities to get close? Or could differences become the driving force for being mutually attractive? Is it possible to have these two co-exist? The realisation to this endless questioning process: it is just a matter of taste.

No matter what the taste is like, I’ve to admit that I have had really lovely house mates over the past four months. It doesn’t really matter that things do not work out as what I would have expected. Kindness from locals to a stranger is the utmost important thing I needed in this very first leg of my grand Europe journey.

However, it is also of ultimate importance for us to not misinterpret kindness as a sign of friendship. Although I have been treated nicely, there was just without chemical that pushes the interaction to a higher level.

But what can I really expect from such a short period? Nothing. Similarly to what Professor Bratteland told us last night, I will end my journey in Norway with a gift bag filled with memories, good memories. At least the hugs from the people are genuine.

Thank you Kasper and Dan for these four months. It has been a fantastic voyage.


Pricing Relationship

When gift-shopping turns out to be relationship-pricing, it is hard for Jiann Chyuan not to notice how everyone prices their relationship subconsciously.




It is the time of the year again, Christmas. Indeed, it is not the kind of celebration I am used to cheering out loud, though it has become the most commercialised celebration around the world nowadays.

Again, I’m in Europe now. What is extraordinary has very often transformed to be ordinary to me now. A recent shopping for gifts has made me realised the fact that everyone does actually has a top price in someone else’s heart.

I was not shopping for Christmas gifts. But I was shopping for some little souvenirs to my two Norwegian flat mates for the past couple of months. How sweet you may think. However, when idealism ironically meets with reality, I was thrown with the question: How much am I going (and willing) to spend on these two acquaintances in my life?

The question was provoked by Stella actually, since she was accompanying me and to purchase gifts for her house mates, whom apparently closer to me than my own. When we were on our way to down town, this question centred our conversation, and I certainly do think that it worth for thoughts.

We are not rich, and gifts are always expensive in winter season, especially in Norway. And just so you know, we are no stingy people and we do have money to spend. But still, why is the question even exists if there isn’t any blocking condition?

At first we agreed upon not to be bothered by the question. But it came back to haunt us when we were faced with options: to pay more for something better, or to pay less for something not so bad?

It is very often not challenging to realise that we actually do price our relationship when it comes to gifts. I’m not sure about anyone else, but at least this is applicable to me, and apparently to Stella as well. Do we judge the value of friendships with the value of gifts?

Another example in pricing a relationship would be the ‘ang pow’ we receive during every Chinese new year. If we do not value how much a relationship worth, why do we even bother to pack, and afterwards to check the amount of money inside the red packet?

Is it ethically wrong to ponder how much we should spend on someone or am I just acting too sensitively? But if we do not price the relationship, will we end up being cheapskate or an over-spender?

Certainly, it is not the topic about being a smart consumer. But I can’t help but wonder would pricing relationships make us a wise shopper and eventually saving our pocket from the unnecessary fire-burning accidents?

I’m not sure whether you have had similar situations as I did, I remember there were occasions when I had in mind what to give for someone, it turned out that the perfect gift was a little too pricey. Was it not affordable to me? Not really. But why would I having such kind of feeling? I refuse to admit it, but I think the very probable answer is that I actually do have a top price for every relationship I am involving in.

If you were shopping for gifts lately, did you face the same dilemma? If you did, perhaps it is time to revise whether the prices of relationships have been updated.


Funding Fun

When it comes to the end of time, does Jiann Chyuan needs fund or fun? Or does he need more funds for greater fun?


Being a university student is always good, because that would mean endless fun and parties. Indeed, I had been to a lot of parties and went to clubs for quite some times. However, as everything in life, to strike a balance between everything is more than crucial, it is part of life.

I was definitely having an absolutely good time in Trondheim and I’ve started to fall in love with this country. Honestly, I was not really a going-out guy in Malaysia, though I did do some movies thingy with friends occasionally. But I found myself to have such a great time living in Norway.

I’m in Europe now! Things should get a little more complicated and turning upside down even more, shouldn’t they? I had been to movies of course, although paying like 10€ to the superbad “Superbad” movie wasn’t something, and still isn’t something I would prefer to do. And hell yea, I didn’t miss the pubs too.

I was quite surprised to learn from my friend that I am actually starting to lead a European’s life the other day. I mean isn’t it bizarre if I did manage to transform from my rooted Asian lifestyle to a completely contrasting European’s lifestyle?

Yes, I’ve to admit that I did drink a lot of booze for the past couple of months, and had been drunk and yelling in a bus when I was on my way back home non-sober. But the thing is I was extremely lucky that I have never had to pay for anything. I appreciate this even greater especially when I am in country where alcohol could be freaking expensive.

Did I tell you that I was also bold enough (or plain idiot) to try on snus after being offered by some norwegians whom I accidentally bumped into a casual talk with in a pub which plays music that I would definitely label as noise?

And yes, the fact that I am having spaghetti more than rice (just 2 kilos) is also a sign that I am becoming more European. But then again, the truth is meaty items are only reserved for filthy rich people in this country and I can’t be a vegetarian if I am going to have rice.

It seems to be very convenient and easy to just use the I-didn’t-have-a-choice pathetic excuse for the enjoyments which I had let myself to indulge freely. But when it comes to the end of time, is it fun or fund that is what I am needing?

Obviously, I am thirsting for more funds so that I could have even greater fun. The fully immersed-in-bottomless-parties-mood-tiny-little-brain of mine has been struck by a serious wake up call lately after I had gone through my first final examination paper in NTNU.

Apparently I was having too much fun and had indulged myself loosely until I have forgotten my main goal in coming to Europe. Indeed, part of it was for cultural learning. But what is more important is to secure good grades in study and eventually graduating with a future-promising master degree.

However, my expected poor performance in my hardest paper of the semester turned out to be unexpectedly true. I was feeling extremely upset and angry to myself for not trying harder. And I regret so much that I am now putting myself in hot soup which might eventually put my feet off the ground of Europe in just a month’s time.

I refuse to leave this early and I reckon I deserve absolutely more than just one meaningless semester. I mean I haven’t really been to Europe and am only stranded far north of Europe in Norway. I deserve to really look at the vibrant livelihood of European in Mainland Europe, and I am going to Holland next year! I can’t leave and I refuse to!

But I need fund. And my fund comes from my study. I had put myself in one disaster and I promise myself not to let the disaster resurrects. The thing is, how much desire and concentration I manage to dig out from within remains unanswered.

Maybe it is time to ask myself again, am I asking for fun, or more funds that guarantee greater fun?



Caption: The truth is, I don't even know who the hell they are. The only thing I remember was I talked to some Norwegians and was offered Snus, forced to take a couple of photos and voila! Maybe it is time to ask myself again, am I asking for fun, or more funds that guarantee greater fun?


Updates from Norway

Realising how ‘asthma’ attack would bring disappearance to Jiann Chyuan for such a long time, he decided to make a come back with genius reading post.


No, I’m still alive. Didn’t die of asthma, but am seriously juggling with time management which apparently appears to be management-less. I’m still competing with course mate on who is the ultimate time wasting champion.

Heartbeat is following the similar trend as life, up and down, which is perfectly normal of course. You don’t seriously expect my heartbeat to remain constant (time-invariant) in an oscillator, do you?

To cut things short (so not my style), here are a quick update list of my life in Trondheim:

Did a very bad if not worst group presentation on rail freight transport last Thursday and sincerely hope that it won’t hurt so much to my final grade.

Attended Greek’s evening and was weirdly pleased with traditional Greek’s food, after being forced to starve for 3 hours due to a football match between Turkey and Norway.

Learnt what does it really mean by ‘a lady never kisses and tells’ from an American after she exploded with much more information that I can handle when I (threatened) told her that human learn lesson from single sided exposure.

Missed two Northern lights in Trondheim because 1) no one calls or texts me during the presence of such phenomenon events and 2) I was sleeping like dead corpse.

Eagerly hoping to witness Northern light for at least once in Trondheim, but was disappointed by heavy snow which then brought much joy afterwards.

Slept on snowy ground with track bottom and surprisingly not feeling cold.

Finally fell down on the street due to slippery snowy ground. Four more times to go before buying a pair of winter shoes if according to Soon Hooi’s standard.

Helped a friend to break up with her Norwegian boy friend, which was of course successful after a long tedious process.

Helped the same friend to bake a cake of 30cm height and decorated it with shit-like marzipan because I was damn tired (primary), and because I was told that I will have nothing from the cake (secondary).

Planning to cancel the little dinner gathering with Norwegian house mates after one of them told me I’m a Malay after three-month living together, and Malaysia is located south of Korea (which is technically true) two weeks later.

Busy ignoring all the mini applications’ invitations in facebook because my Malaysian friends are apparently indulging themselves insanely in this new found wonderland, despite their loyalty maintenance to friendster.

Took a blog readability test and the result is:

Congratulations readers! Apparently it doesn’t take a genius to write genius-knowledge-level-required posts. What is the correct way for you to interpret the test result? You are a genius and not that my writing is hard to comprehend.

Have a fun weekend to all!
(I’m still waiting for Northern light although it is forecasted to be snowy in Trondheim. *puzzled*)


'Asthma' Attack

Goodbye to the old sunny days, and what is left in front of Jiann Chyuan’s eyes are era of negative temperature and breathing difficulties.


Last week and early this week recorded to the coldest temperature for my stay in Trondheim this far. It was -7°C. Although well equipped with thick warm jacket and skin hugging pants, the extreme coldness was still imaginably unbearable to a typical tropical country guy like me.

It was only for two days. Luckily.

However, bear in mind that it is only the autumn season now even when we have already begun to experience the real winter of Norway. At least this was what my professor told me.

We have passed the freezing point. (Yahoo!) But the temperature is showing no intention to slow down in its fast pace downward movement. Only god knows what would be the winter looks like in this worst-summer-in-fifteen-year-time year.

The weather is lethally cold, but the warmth from the equator melts my heart effortlessly these days.

My friends in Malaysia always surprise me pleasantly with their concerns on whether I will be able to survive the extreme (according to Malaysian standard) coldness. And so, it is absolutely not baffling to learn the fact that I’ve been inundated with enormous amount of questions, all pointing towards to a similar topic – Do you feel cold?

Thank you so much.

And indeed, I’m feeling deadly cold. And worse, when the freezing temperature was backing up by dry air, the difficulty to breath was seeing insane exponential growth. The lack of oxygen for temporary outdoor activity is definitely not going to claim my worthless life. But the pain in my chest is just making me feeling uncomfortable all the time.

Breathing is a huge problem. The same applies to coldness felt by the face.

But I believe firmly that I will outlive the bushes behind my window and leave Trondhiem in complete piece, alive. The only reminder is just to remember one Norwegian saying: there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

It is hard to stay in Norway, especially in the winter (but it is only autumn now – a repeated statement). But the truth is searching for fun isn’t that challenging. Snow play and snow fight are certainly highly entertaining. And although snow isn’t thick enough for skiing, my friends and I have already started to slide down hills with, dirt cheap Bunn Pris (convenient store) plastic bags (yes, we paid for those shopping bags).

The conclusion is, it is not easy. But it never lack of fun. International students certainly do know ways to have fun!

Time to close my window now. It was opened for air circulation purpose and training for winter. Practice makes perfect, isn’t it?

*shivering…*



Caption: What is with all the night photos? Well, daytime is scarce and sunlight is luxurious.

Nocturnally Active?

The foot step of winter just round the corner, Jiann Chyuan is inhaling carefully as he feels that his life is tangling loosely on the thread ten-thousand feet above ground, seriously threatened.

When I first laid my feet on the land of Norway, I was fatally tired from the insufficient sleep I experienced after transiting for few stretches of flights. I fell asleep in Gardemoen Airport.

The first moment I regained consciousness after sleeping like a dead corpse for approximately five-hour, the sky was still painted in pale blue. I remembered that it was twenty-hundred hour.

Yes, it was the first time I realised I had waved goodbye to living in the dull blistering-hot-entire-year equator.

I wasn’t indulged in such a drastic change at first. Instead, I would definitely call it a torture to people coming from equator. You see, we, people so used to living with the presence of sun, were suddenly having too much of it.

Come on! I was waking at four in the morning the first week I was in Trondheim because it was exactly when the sun rose. And worse, the sun set only at 10p.m., and that was what confused to the extend of driving me insane as I always thought the night was still young.

However, just when I finally adjusted myself (and my body) to the extreme lengthy daytime, I was strike with extreme lengthy night time.

Now, the situation is completely the opposite. With the foot step of winter just around the corner, and my final examinations are threateningly close, I just couldn’t afford to live the way a winter life should be.

Darkness is really showing no mercy to me, a diurnally active human being. Getting up in the morning is obviously one of the biggest challenges (the sun never rise when you are suppose to run over to bus stop, carefully make sure you do not fall on snowy road), but keeping myself awake at night is equally unbearable.

I don’t know. For me, after about five-hour of darkness, my body natural call for a good night sweet dream is ringing off the hook. But it is only 8p.m. Oh god please don’t kill me in this way! I have exams underway.

But honestly, I still enjoy sitting in front of my window, putting my feet over the heater which constantly heating up my feet with super hot air, while sloshing myself with the beautiful scenery of snow falling.

I want more snow to play snow battle! Should I sing Britney’s gimme gimme more? Whatever!


Say Yes

It is just baffling to Jiann Chyuan to learn how some people always say no and acting pessimistically when it comes to their responsibility.


Recently, a friend wrote something about sustainable environment and that he realised he too plays a part in conservation of environment. I’m glad that he has finally got inspired, though it proved to be rather late. However, awareness to environmental protection is never too late and is always welcome.

Honestly, the love to environment shouldn’t be restricted to just words, show actions! I’m not exactly an environmentalist, despite the fact that I’m pursuing coastal engineering study with environmental management emphasis, but as an advocate to environmental conservation, I do show some efforts to reduce my contribution in damaging the earth (ask my friends and course mates in Malaysia).

However, what I’d done in the past was merely the corner of an iceberg if compared to Norwegians. It is absolutely challenge-free to cite a few examples on how environment awareness has seeped into the soul of every Norwegian, by just checking some of their common habits and practices.

Rubbish literally means rubbish to Norwegians. But they recognise recyclables. In every household, including student villages, rubbish bin always come with two compartments; for trash and paper. Simple design to encourage the practice of recycling, brilliant!

In every neighbourhood, you will also often find more than one rubbish dump container. In the case of my neighbourhood, we have six, too many to cater less than a thousand population, isn’t it? Lest you think that trash truck is visiting infrequently, the shocking number of rubbish dump container is designed to feed different ‘rubbish’ need; aluminium, paper and garbage.

Insufficient to convince you Norwegians are environment freaks? In convenient store, whenever you find a price tag with ‘+ pant’ followed by a number, it simply means take your money back by returning the packaging container. Stop dropping your jaw, I know that it is surprisingly impressive.

Wait, did I tell you that you have to pay for every plastic bag you ‘buy’ every time you do grocery shopping? Let’s do some simple arithmetic exercise; one grocery shopping within a week, ‘buying’ one shopping bag every week, the cost of a plastic bag is 1NOK (genuine price!), that would be 52NOK for one year. How much is this? In system barter, this would mean 2kgs of yogurt in Norway, or 5kgs of tomatoes, or 5kgs of banana.

About a month ago, I attended an informal meeting session with my professors. I was given a presentation on the magnificently fascinating traditional wooden houses of Norwegians. Living in Trondheim, the remarkable wooden city in Norway, wooden houses would undoubtedly surge to the high ranked attraction among visitors.

But, wooden? Isn’t this environmental unfriendly? This was the top concern of every student of my course whom had presented in the meeting.

Yes, if trees are only cut and never planted. However, this is clearly not the case of Norway. There is a policy in Norway, a policy which is strictly imposed, is plant back every tree you have cut. Ah ha, thinking that this would never restore the primitive state of a forest? You are right!

Well, come to think about it. Isn’t this a lot better than just cutting down trees constantly with effort to plant them back equals to zero? In fact, in Norway, the number of trees being cut down is far less than the number of trees being planted, which indirectly lead us to a positive move to conservation of environment. A step more optimistic than just conserve.

How to merge into the nature is just the utmost important priority of city planning in Norway. Therefore, it is definitely not surprising to have forest within walking distance (a bit too exaggerating though) in any town in Norway, of course this is especially true in Trondheim. And also in Norway, you have to pay for every fish you fished from any source in the nature.

It is really amazing to learn the tremendous efforts of Norwegians in protecting the environment, and I feel even more deeply impressed to learn that every Norwegian feel that this is part of their lives. Norwegians are really lovable.

I remember there was a response in my friend’s post saying that there is no such thing as balance environment when it comes to development. I reckon that this is plain bullshit.

It is such a cliché to have mentioned if you think you can, then you can. But why do people block themselves with a gigantic NO, when it comes to something that could be and should be YES? Dimwit, wake up and look at the Norwegians!





Caption (from top):
A look at the trash bin under my kitchen sink.
Rubbish dump containers hundred feet away from my flat.
An example of price tag with '+pant' in convenient store. (Picture was taken illegally!)



Norway Boleh

Jiann Chyuan discovered how Norwegians showcase their’ boleh’ side despite the fact that they do not shout out the phrase loud like every Malaysian does.

A recently visit to Ormen Lange, literally translated as ‘ long snake’, a gas production project in Nyhamna and its service plant in Kristiansund, has opened my eyes to what Norway, a tiny population country is capable in doing.

Undoubtedly, this mega project, which supplies about 20% of the total gas consumption of United Kingdom via subsea pipeline from Norway, is a project one would feel absolutely horrible to miss.

I have zero intention in telling all the details about this project. Therefore, feel comfortable to google the project in another window (or tab). What really interests me is despite the fact that Norway has only 4 millions of population, it is capable in inventing not one, but numerous first-of-its-kind super high-end and advanced technology.

Needless to say, the Ormen Lange project which I’m mentioning here is one of those firsts. But there were actually quite an awesome amount of surprises during my two-day excursion.

One worth-mentioned project that sprouted out without careful planning in this excursion was the encounter of the first floating bridge in the world. It is just a bridge, that floats, you may say. But it is a vivid demonstration to how Norwegian is able in utilising theoretical knowledge to realistic implementation.

In fact, the project is such unique that engineers from some of the advanced countries, for instance, Germany and Japan, were coming to learn from the Norwegians.

Besides, there were also these eight different bridges, with shapes and curves absolutely out-of-the-box that link the Atlantic coast of Norway, that kept all the passengers in my bus fascinated and exhaled with deep impressiveness.

Okay, I’ve been talking a lot about bridges. But surely, the advancement among Norwegians is not restrained to bridge construction solely. There are just a lot of tiny little thoughtful projects that truly put Norwegians into a position where the world can look up to.

Gosh! I’m not worshipping Norway. It is just that the longer I live in this country, which means the more I have got to know about this north part of the world, the more resemblances that I found to my beloved home country, which are, however, directing me to think differently about Malaysia.

Generating tones of wealth with the immense amount of oil and gas blessing from God waiting for the hungry explorer for extraction is surely the biggest resemblance between Malaysia and Norway. But sadly, while Norway is propelling its intelligence powered propeller in many different arenas to drive its country forward, Malaysia opts for a different approach by buying technologies abroad in most of the fields.

What is the reason for 4 millions people to be able to do it while 23 millions fail?

The questions worth ponders are: How far does my own country wants to move forward? By what means we would utilise our brain resources for the future development of our country? What would the encouragement for having more kids mean if we are not developing the minds of our next generation?

And lastly, how long do we still want to shout out ‘Malaysia Boleh’ loudly without feeling embarrassing whilst we are constantly looking upon technology from overseas?

P.S.: The question regarding stupidity lingers around me lately. Am I stupid or am I not having enough input from previous study?




Caption:
Above: Floating bridge.
Top left: Full capacity test in Nyhamna. The flame was about 60m high.
Top right: A random snapshot in Kristiansund.
Bottom: We need some mistakes to balance our imbalance soul, don't we?


Octoberfest

This was no Bavaria, this was no Munich, this was, of course, no German. But here was where one of the most celebrated event in the Bavarian state held. Join Jiann Chyuan to discover Octoberfest in Trondheim, Norway.


UKA is a huge deal for Trondheim, and of course, for students from NTNU. It is a fort-yearly event which students organise various events throughout a week, and those events are in mega size.

UKA has been so successfully held and well exploited by various industries, it has now become a very commercial event which purchase of tickets are required for nearly every single event.

This year, the biggest UKA week ever, which apparently stretched for three-week long, has absolutely more than one climax to expect. The first of all was the Octoberfest.

You’ve got me right! It was the Octoberfest from Bavaria State in Germany. It is no wonder that Norwegians are eagerly enthusiastic to bring this huge deal from Germany to Norway since the drinking culture among Norwegians is enormously famous and common.

When it comes to beer, Norwegians just forget there is this ‘no’ in the dictionary. Welcome to Norway.

I don’t think I have the opportunity to experience the real Octoberfest in Munich for the coming few years. Therefore I bought the ticket for this ‘fake’ Octoberfest. 70Nok wasn’t that much for the ticket. But 150Nok for a litre of beer is really shocking. I mean RM90 for a litre of beer? Okay, it was time for me to say no more after a litre. Not that I cannot drink more, it is just that do I really need to poke a hole in my pocket?

I don’t think ordering several litres of beer in Munich during Octoberfest are a life-threatening decision, because it is comparatively cheap in Munich. Have you ever heard of the chain of alcohol in Scandinavia?

It says that alcohol is relatively cheaper in one country than the other, and therefore Norwegian goes to Sweden to buy alcohol; Swedish crosses to Finland to rob alcohol; Finnish steps into Denmark and get sloshed, while Danish happily travels to Germany for a taste of yeast.

This is no joke. Travel across border for nothing more than alcohol is common among Scandinavians.

I would have to say that Bavarian should feel extremely proud of the influence of their drinking culture. Imitation is definitely the best form of compliment. Inside the hall of Octoberfest, there was obviously a huge German flag right in the middle to honour the origin of this festival, which hardly remains unnoticeable.

Other interesting activities include performaces which were strangely in Norwegian, mega concert by the Norwegian to the Norwegian, which means everyone singing along with music.

I just didn’t have that much of desire to stay inside the tent for such a long time. It was such cold weather, and the beer was really tooooooo much to be served within such a short time, I just need to pee. Time to go out the tent and pee in public!

P.S.: Attending Muse’s concert tonight. Yup, one of the highlights in UKA weeks.



Captions:
(Above) Typical view in the Octoberfest
(Below) Ops, so peaking when I'm peeing outside. So cold! My penis is frozen!


Norwegian Cabin Trip

The desire to experience at least once a very typical Norwegian cabin trip, despite being loaded with inches of notes for midterm test, Jiann Chyuan embarked an unforgettable experience and learnt that this might be the last cabin trip he ever has.


It was planned for a long while and my email inbox had been inundated by tonnes of discussion emails. Struggled whether to since there was a midterm test which required tonnes of reading and endless amount of brain-cell killing due to memory occupation. Pondered for a few days, I finally made up my mind and joined my first, and might be my last, typical Norwegian cabin trip to Vinjøra.

I was hugged with courage and excitement when the day came. Friday afternoon, boarded on the two-hour journey bus and kicked start this once in a life time experience.

Two hours later, reached our first pit stop safe and sound. All of us taking photos happily without noticing the approach of dangerous evil grinning ahead of us.

Destined not to waste our time waiting for the remaining pack of the gang that couldn't it to our bus, we decided to give the 11km extremely long stretch of walking a damn try, while enjoying the loads on our back. It was that bad I have to say. However, it would definitely be a lot better if we are filled with impressive scenery as to fulfill the investment return need for this long walk.

After about two-hour of walking, with of course maybe two pauses in between, we finally met with the rest of the gang, joining us in a comfy minibus that we hired. Everyone (the walking group of course) bumped into the minibus without wasting any second to only realise that we were only 3 minutes of ride to our next pit stop - the base of our cabin.

Didn't matter the premature death of enjoyment sitting in the minibus, we left the minibus with the highest spirit of the day, thinking that just another kilometre of small hike will lead us to our final destination - our cabin located in nowhere of the mountain.

It was 6.30pm when we begun our hike to the cabin. For this time in the autumn in Norway, it was only 15 minutes before darkness came.

However, we have faith that we could make it since it was only a kilometre.

We walked. We stopped for direction. We walked again. And then we stopped again for direction.

However, darkness wasn't patient and chose to present before we made it to the cabin.
The good friend of darkness, the wind, fiercely cold and strong, blowing furiously across the rather bald mountain, leaving everyone of us shivering in the wind while struggling to find out path.

Wait, did we have a path? Good question. We have no sense where we were heading. The supposed 15-minute walk has turned out to be an hour and a half.

Anxiety started to strike in. Hunger was ringing its bell mercilessly in the stomach. Our cabin, still hiding quietly in the darkness, overlooking the whole bunch of us soaking our feet in the deadly cold swamp and mud.

The feeling of the loads behind our backs started to increase. The numbness of toes soaking in freezingly cold swamp has ruined our souls. Hunger still ruling, but the only thing in our minds at that particular moment was our cabin was just right ahead.

We continued walking in the darkness, directionless, despaired.

Another hour passed. Seriously thinking that we couldn't find our cabin, we walked downhill and reached a small farm. Eagerly requesting a stay in the farm for a night had led us to rejection and a lend of two torch lights, and also a verbal direction.

Despair over controlled all our senses. Were we going up once again?

Left with no choice, we soaked our feet into the swamp again. We were told that the cabin was just 15-minute walk from the farm and there was a track which we can follow. What a wonderful suggestion when someone told you to find a path in complete darkness with flash light.

15-minute passed, we didn't reach our cabin, as expected. But we made it to a small house, nope, building, nope, store. Honestly, I was thinking to just stay in the store for the night while some of us went to search for the damn lovely cabin. Inside the cabin, raw (uncooked) meatball packet was unpacked to fill the stomach of hungry souls.

Good news after about an hour! We found the cabin! It was about 300m from the small store.
The rest of the story? Of course it was walking to the cabin and staying happily in the cabin for one night, after being lost in a mountain, under complete darkness and insane coldness, for four and a half hours.

Absolutely unforgettable, my first cabin trip to a Norwegian mountain.


Civilisation on Road

You are guaranteed absolute safety in Norway when you perform scary stun that would definitely drive you to six feet under. Jiann Chyuan discovers.


Not too long ago I mentioned on the punctuality of bus system in Trondheim. I think it is only appropriate if I post a timely update about how Norwegians behave on road. Again, what I’m going to tell is at least applicable in Trondheim.

The introduction, Norwegians are extremely courteous on the road. Take an instance.

Cross a road in Malaysia, regardless of its busy level, you will end up:
1) Horned until you turn deaf
2) Rolled under the tyre and deform to minced meat shape ready to be packed
3) Absorb full impact from the hit and experience flying without wings

Let’s switch the angle and do the same thing in Norway, you will see:
1) Driver slows down his vehicle from far and ready to let you cross the road
2) Driver jams on brake suddenly and let you cross the road when your movement is abrupt
3) Driver crashes himself to the road side if he was unable to put the motor to halt

It is not exaggerating. In fact, pedestrians are the most important characters on road. And of course, this also means that the highest power is in the hands of pedestrians. However, road courtesy and pleasantness are not always equivalent.

My very own personal experience, which nearly got me pressed into a thin sheet of plywood in a bus, was totally shocking. A pedestrian was crossing a road so suddenly that the bus I was in had no choice but to exert a one-ten-millionth second brake when it was speeding downhill.

The result? The pedestrian crossed the road safely without noticing what was happening to her left. Switch to another point of view, I was crashed to the windshield of the bus and was topped by at least ten standing passengers (whom apparently no longer standing on that particular instant). I swear, it was a life threatening incident!

Perfect score for civilisation on road!

This is just one extreme example actually. Norwegians, unlike the road users in Malaysia, are taught to be courteous on road. I heard that giving way to pedestrians is actually a statement in their regulations on road.

Other than respecting pedestrians, the infamous me-fist-la culture in Malaysia is also a scene impossible in Norway. Every morning, no matter how terrible a traffic jam is, (oh yea, Trondheim does suffer traffic jam in the morning) you will never see cars jump queue. They are always so nicely lined up in queue.

Besides, bus lane means bus lane, and only bus lane. No car will cross to bus lane and get an advantage of out of it. Maybe this is also one of the reasons why buses in Trondheim manage to maintain a high level of punctuality.

It has really a lot to say when it comes to road system in Norway, although this country has only limited length of highways (lesser by significant difference if compared with Malaysia). The conclusion is, coincides with the introduction is, Norwegians are courteous on roads. Should I put extremely?

Caption:
Two random pictures showing the situation on the road in Trondheim.


Cultivation of 21st Century’s Newton

World renowned universities are the heaven to geniuses. But it is definitely the hell of average student, for example, Jiann Chyuan. In Norway, higher education institutions seem to be heaven to every Norwegian student. Why?


I always look forward to go to the city square on a Saturday’s morning, something is always happening there. For instance, the gay parade during early of September and the free live open air concert the weekend after that.

Last Saturday, determined not to trap myself in the wooden cage, and of course due to the literally perfect weather, I escaped myself from books to town centre for a few hours, just to check out what was the event for the weekend.

It surprised me when I saw two huge tents set up right in the middle of the square which apparently featuring my university, NTNU. Why? Because usually whenever there is any event, promotion within the campus compound is insanely immense. No, not always with a naked body. But not for this.

So I went into one of the tents eagerly and curiously. My eyes sparked instantly when I saw the exhibition inside. It was an implementation of technical knowledge exhibition targeting at children less than 10-year old.

Okay, I’ve to admit that I was equally attracted, if not more than those small kids, to every exhibition booth. They were so interactive. The idea for visitors to the exhibition was not to squeeze into different booths and to grab some freebies. Instead, they were invited to participate in numerous interactive experiments and demonstrations.

One particular demonstration that interested me greatly was the Ruben Tubes. I don’t really understand the physics theory behind the implementation (because I couldn’t study anything from the Norwegian banner), but I guess it has something to do with pressure.

So why was it interesting? Try to imagine the explanation of such invention was not by using lectures, but by karaoke. Sounds fun isn’t it? Children can actually participate in the exhibition by proofing to the world why World Idol was from Norway and not America, by showcasing their singing talent while observing the changes in flame along the Ruben Tubes.

The other exciting exhibition I found was the solar and heat generated Lego car. It was simple, by transforming energy from heat and solar power to mechanical energy that drove the car forward.

One other thing was of course, related to my major, coastal engineering. They had this micro-scale wave generator that explained the motion of water particle in a wave and also the response of vessels to this motion of water particle. It was a combination between live demonstration and one-to-one explanation via animated computer programmes.

Some other interesting exhibitions include, the primitive wood rotating fire making process, the computer programming cum chemistry like drink making exhibition, and also instant human model simulation via scanning.

So now you see the reason why Norwegians are strong in the mastery and implementation of technical knowledge. It is because the country cultivates their younger generation to become the next Newton or Laplace since small.

It is crucial to emphasise that the exhibition is not made to impress public, but to really deliver the knowledge by having immense amount of interaction between organiser and visitors. If Malaysia would like to achieve vision 2020, this might be something that our government, or at least our higher education institutions should learn from.

Caption (clockwise from top left):
Heat and solar power generated Lego car
Some wind power generation demonstration
Wood stick drilling for fire making, with "primitive" tribe assistant
Micro-scaled wave generator
Ruben Tubes with kid singing Linkin Park's song


Punctuality

Punctuality

After realising the creeping in the Norwegian soul, Jiann Chyuan thinks it is wise to start to tell something good about Norwegians.


Now that I have got this love at first sight with the very unique Norwegian brown cheese, and am actually using Norwegian’s invention, the cheese slider, to slice cheese cube, and also doubling words in expression, I start to realise that the Norwegian soul has been slowly crept into my body.

After talking about the peculiarities of Norwegians, and also showed some dazzling naked Norwegian photos, it makes me wonder have I been stern to Norwegians. I pondered for a short instant. Indeed, I’ve been making a little unfair judgement about this tiny population in the world.

I dug into my impressions partition in my old rusty hard disk (my saturated brain), surprisingly, I manage to convince myself that Norwegians have actually more strengths than weaknesses. The foremost strength about this ethnic is their sensitivity to time.

Let’s first assume that you have an appointment with a Norwegian, please remember to present yourself at the agreed venue at the right time. If you are later than five-minute, the Norwegian may start to worry whether something nasty has happened to you. If you are later than ten-minute, tell you, the world is going to end for this Norwegian. He’ll take out his cell phone and calling insanely to every common friend he shares with you.

Why? This is because punctuality is not a bonus to Norwegian, but a habit that every Norwegian cultivates since tender age. Every Norwegian, and I mean every, will always on time to every appointment, lecture, date, meeting, etc, if they are not earlier.

The same theory applies, but with higher degree of certainty is, if a Norwegian you suppose to meet late to the meeting by five-minute, don’t hesitate, start calling until your cell phone bursts. There must be something awful happening at the other side.

And now, for Chinese, we should really feel embarrassed that we are always, which literally means every time, late to appointment. It is definitely highly unimaginable for Norwegian to imagine that a 2-hour delay in a Chinese wedding dinner in a five-class restaurant in Malaysia is undoubtedly common.

Well, it is unfair to just pinpointed Chinese as the only one that doesn’t have any sense in time. At least I found out that among all the international students, Asians are quite famous for being late. Thumbs up! Wait, the other way round. In order to maintain the self esteem of being an Asian, I have tried to present on time for every appointment and had earned some credits. Phew!

So why are Norwegians so punctual? I don’t know the exact reason. But I figured out there might be certain connection to the fact that clocks and clock towers are everywhere in Norway, at least in Trondheim. (Look at pictures)

Is it the constant time reminders provided by all these clocks that make Norwegian punctual? Or are all these clocks are being set up to remind foreigners to be punctual because we are in a land of punctuality? I don’t know. But one thing certain is, the clocks are all working.

Yes, they are all working, and accurately. It is just so hard for me to imagine how it is possible for every clock in every lecture room to be working all the time. Seriously, some maintenance workforce must has been recruited and specially trained in making sure batteries are never ran out for clocks.

The punctuality to time among Norwegians is certainly not only limited to individuals. The transport system in Norway definitely deserves compliments. Never later than the scheduled time is not the policy for buses in Trondheim, but a very crucial implementation. You deserve the right to claim the cab fee from bus company if bus late by 15-minute.

But there is something bad about punctuality. Shops and offices are really closing at the exact time! But wait a minute, isn’t Asians are also very good in this? Ah ha! We are not always late!



It is FREE!

It is FREE!

Living in one of the most expensive countries in the world doesn’t necessarily mean that worrying about money and expenses is always a top mission, discovered Jiann Chyuan.

“Where did you get this dairy book from?” Asked someone.

“I have got my free lunch and stainless steel mug from SiT Bolig,” told someone.

“Do you know that they are distributing this 8-metre long cake?” shouted someone excitedly.

“Oh you got to go to the Sentral Building. There are tonnes of free gift bags waiting for everyone!” someone yielded.

“1GB memory stick given out for free in Career Day!” someone screamed while flashing the memory stick.

So you see, in Norway, one of the most expensive countries to live in the world, is always astoundingly exciting to me because, not for other reason, but the constant doses of free goodies.

I don’t know how much stuff I’ve got for free until now. I don’t have to care about it, do I? Ce

rtainly, the only thing I should really concern about is when and where for the next free gifts session.

But very often, you will not miss it. It is always located at the sentral building, the highly populated area in Gløshaugen. Everday, you will see different student organisation setting up booth to promote something. Of course, this include the my previous infamous naked post, which they didn’t hand out free gift, but performing free body art.

And whenever there is a booth, it is very often, but not always, that they distribute something pleasant that you feel that it is rude to say no to. What is it? It could be a pen, a dairy book, a gift voucher, detergent, food, tiny electronic devices, t-shirt, and even condom (I’ve got three!). In some events which they are big enough, you will very often carry away with a few bags of goodies in just a short instant.

I am not a greedy person. But it is the norm of having free gift that makes you feel like you are one. Sometimes, when I see something pleasant, displaying in bulk quantity, in front of a booth or something, it is just so normal to approach someone and ask, “Can I take one of these?”

Of course, answers are always very affirmative. :D

But there are also occasions when there are just too much (uncountable noun is used here with purpose) until there is no time for question and answer session. The only action required under such circumstance is just to take out your hand waiting for something to drop onto your palm. And then, go!

It is not challenging for someone to cultivate to habit to approach a group of people just to check out whether there is any free gifts. Don’t get me wrong. It is not constantly checking out for gifts. It is just to avoid the hassle to go back to the same place again an hour later after you have heard about a free gift news in the lecture from your friends.

But still, after all the free gifts, the desire of spending money is still very high in me! All because of H&M.
























Captions:

Left: Career Day (like career fair), where I got my 1GB memory stick.
Right: Random gift distribution. Blurry image because everyone is pushing everyone as in order to get free gifts.