Life is not Immutable

As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change. And the past one year showed me exactly that. From having to move to two different apartments to starting a new job, I found the past year quite challenging. The former was somehow situational, as the landlord of the apartment we rented had to move in, and our new apartment that we bought was still being built. The latter, is of course, by choice (as I wrote in my previous post). In addition, my little girl started to walk (and run!), started going to the kindergarten, which allowed my wife to start her master-degree study at the University of Stavanger. I had to learn how to navigate through Kubernetes and Microsoft Azure in my new job, and I even had to learn a new programming language, Golang. I had not used these technologies before starting the new job, but since I like learning new stuff, I found it quite exciting.

Since our parents have not met our daughter yet, we traveled to Indonesia from mid November to mid December-ish. It was my first time taking a long-haul flight (Amsterdam-Jakarta) with Indonesia’s flagship airline (Garuda Indonesia). My experience was positive, we were assigned bulkhead seats (with plenty of legroom), the flight attendants were polite and helpful (taking into account we were traveling with a 1-year-old infant), and I found the food tasted good.


Amsterdam-Jakarta flight

We spent several days in Jakarta (where my parents live), then traveled together with my parents to Balige for a short pilgrimage trip, visiting my grandparents’ cemetery. We were lucky enough to stay at a hotel overseeing the Toba lake.


TB Silalahi Centre — Balige, Indonesia

After returning from our trip to Balige, we traveled to Bojonegoro to visit my wife’s parents, and baptised our daughter in a local Catholic church (our simplistic logic was that it was easier to bring our baby to our family in Indonesia than bringing our family to Norway for the baptism ceremony 🙂 ).


Baptism — Bojonegoro, Indonesia

When we returned to Norway, Christmas was near. We visited a (small) Christmas market in Egersund a week before Christmas.


Christmas market — Egersund, Norway

We attended a Christmas Eve mass in Stavanger, and celebrated Christmas at home. We had an open house on December 25th, where we co-located our daughter’s first birthday party/celebration (her birthday was actually on 20th). Many thanks to our friends who came and for the many presents (as well as the cake) our daughter received.


Sweet birthday cake — Sandnes, Norway

We were invited to a gathering in one of our friends’ apartment on December 31st for a dinner, and celebrated the New Year watching fireworks somewhere in Jåttåvågen.


New Year 2018 fireworks — Stavanger, Norway

In mid January 2018, we drove to Sirdal ski resort to play a bit with snow. I tried downhill skiing again (I think the last time I did it was in Monte Bondone, near Trento, Italy). I realised that my skiing skills have deteriorated over time (well, I have never been good at skiing anyway 😀 ).


Downhill skiing — Sirdal, Norway

A couple of days before my last working day at my previous job, my colleagues arranged a couple rounds of farewell beer in a well-known local pub. I think I went home half-drunk that night 🙂 .


Farewell beer — Stavanger, Norway

January 31st was my last day at work at Add Energy. The company arranged a short farewell meeting, and they gave me some presents. I felt sad to say goodbye, but I knew it was about time to embark on my new journey. I worked for my previous employer for almost four years, and my overall experience was very positive. I enjoyed working there, and learned a lot along the way. Thanks a lot for everything. And just recently I heard the department where I was working was successfully sold to a Canada-based company, and they changed their name to NEMS AS (my first thought when I heard the news was like some of my colleagues must have become millionaires 😀 ). I would like to wish them well for their new journey as well.

I joined Statoil‘s Software Innovation sector/group on February 1st, working in a relatively new team on a greenfield project that mainly builds a DevOps platform that hopefully will be used company-wide by different software development teams. I found the project very interesting as I had to learn new technologies (Kubernetes, Golang, Azure etc.). It almost felt like going back to academia, with quite heavy R&D-like environment (at least in the beginning). And changes were in the air as well for the company. On March 15th, I received an SMS from the company informing that an important announcement was made on the company’s intranet: the company’s name would be changed to Equinor! Well, interesting, I thought. Within six months I would have worked for two companies, Statoil and Equinor 🙂 . The company’s name was officially changed on May 15th, I think. And that was not the end of the change. During the last week of June, our department moved to a new building. And I even changed my work operating system from the company’s managed RHEL Linux distribution to self-managed macOS 🙂 I think I was officially on a probation period until end of July (following Norway’s standard employment regulation), and then I became a regular employee.

On February 1st, in addition to starting a new job, we had to move in to a temporary apartment that we rented for a couple of months. Well, we rented it from early January to give us some temporal space for moving our stuff from the previous apartment. We were grateful that someone agreed to rent out his apartment on a temporary basis.

We attended the morning Easter mass on April 1st, and visited a friend who invited us for a lunch.

Our new apartment was completed earlier than we expected, and we were officially handed over the keys to the apartment on April 10th. We were still staying in the temporary apartment until June since that was the time when the contract ended (and also due to the fact that the new apartment was still empty).


New apartment fully constructed — Sandnes, Norway

We were surprised to find out that the default monthly mortgage payment for the new apartment was around 30% less than our previous monthly rent! I think this is one of the advantages to buy an apartment instead of renting. Not to mention that some of the monthly money that we pay is expected to return when (or if) we sell the apartment in the future (it, of course, depends very much on the housing market condition at that time). If we keep renting, the monthly rent is gone to the hands of the owner for good. We decided to increase the monthly mortgage payment to be on par with our previous monthly rent, though. An additional benefit of buying instead of renting, I think, is that the probability is low to be forced to move out from the property (as we experienced with our previous apartment where the owner had to move in, so we had to move out).

I went to Oslo for a work-related meeting in the last week of April, then went on a conference trip with my work colleagues to Copenhagen, Denmark, during the first week of May. It was KubeCon Europe 2018. I wrote a separate post on GitHub about my conference experience. In general, the conference was quite big and interesting (with lots of beta products showcased/presented). And I learned quite some stuff there (plus brought back some free goodies).


KubeCon Europe 2018 — Copenhagen, Denmark

On May 17th we went out to Sandnes city center, then to Stavanger city center to watch some parades, celebrating the Norwegian Constitution Day.


17. mai — Sandnes, Norway

We took a hike to Dalsnuten in the last week of June. This is part of our exercise to hike to Preikestolen.


Dalsnuten — Sandnes, Norway

We drove to Byrkjedalstunet for fun in the first week of July, since we had not been there before.


Byrkjedalstunet — Gjesdal, Norway

We hiked to Preikestolen in mid July. It was difficult to hike carrying a baby on my back, so we stopped many times on our way up (and down). A 1.5-litre Coke and some water helped a lot on the way.


Preikestolen, Norway

We visited Gladmat 2018 in the third week of July, and checked-out some ships at the Stavanger harbour (I think they were showcased as part of The Tall Ships Races event).


Kubernetes! 🙂 — Stavanger, Norway

We were visited by a couple who are our friends from Halden in early August. They brought a baby who was almost as old as ours, it was fun watching babies playing together 🙂

There were four students doing summer job in our team at work. I think they spent their time with us from mid June til mid August. As most of our team members were away during the summer, it was quite fun to work with these smart students. I hope they are doing well in continuing their studies.

My daughter started going to the kindergarten in the third week of August, and my wife started her master’s study at around the same time. So we were pretty much busy with our own activities during the day from that time on.

We traveled to Budapest, Hungary, during the first week of September. It was surprisingly still very warm down there (I am talking about 28°C!). And the prices were much cheaper compared to Stavanger, so we had a great time 🙂


St. Stephen’s Basilica — Budapest, Hungary

A couple of days after we returned from our trip to Budapest, I joined my department’s team building event: fishing. I kept trying, kept failing, and suddenly caught two fishes at once! And we had a nice dinner that evening (I had one of the best beef steaks I had ever eaten, although it was a bit strange why we did not eat fish in the first place).


2 fishes at once! — Stavanger, Norway

In mid September, we drove to Eigerøy, trying one of the many cabins that belongs to Equinor. I think the place was very peaceful and quiet, good for relaxing.


Eigerøy, Norway

I attended Equinor Developer Conference 2018 during the last week of September. It was an internal conference arranged by the company, targeting software developers working in the company. The conference was well-organised, the programme was quite interesting, and I learned some new things there.

And talking about personal growth and lifelong learning, I managed to complete 3 online courses on edX in my spare time: Introduction to KubernetesDeveloping a Web Application With the Power of Node.jsIntroduction to Apache Hadoop. I also completed reading Cloud Native Infrastructure book, and went through the official Golang tutorial (A Tour of Go, Effective Go). I also completed 2 Coursera courses in audit mode: Getting Started with Go and Functions, Methods, and Interfaces in Go. I found learning new things very interesting (maybe this is the side effect of staying too long in academia 😀 ). By the way, talking about academia, I was invited to serve as an external examiner at the University of Agder (my Ph.D. alma mater) in the third week of May. I was assigned five bachelor final projects (theses) to examine (I thought it would only be one or two). But I managed to complete them all in my spare time. I was also invited to serve as a technical programme committee member of an IEEE-sponsored conference (reviewing submitted papers in my spare time). I thought it was good to give something back to the academic/scientific community.

I might have missed some events during the past one year, but I think the above log captured most of the important ones. No complain, as I am getting older, I am 34 today 🙂 I hope cool things will happen in the next one year. We will see.


33 and 3

After a bit more than a year of marriage, I officially became a father in December 2016: I turned 33 today, and we are three in the family. The road to giving birth was a bit tough as my wife had to stay more than 12 hours at the hospital, but thankfully she managed to deliver our baby normally. She did a very good job. And me? I guess I was playing a great supporting role from the sideline 😀


Noela Quinza Trinugroho — Stavanger, Norway

Our baby was born on December 20th 2016, but due to a small treatment that my wife had to undergo, we went home from the hospital on December 25th, exactly on Christmas day. She was a beautiful Christmas gift to us. Thank you.


Beautiful Christmas gift — Sandnes, Norway

Apart from having a new family member, the past one year was a bit quiet without many activities, but still interesting. We stayed at home during 2016’s New Year’s Eve, watching fireworks from our apartment’s balcony. One of our uncles from Indonesia visited us in early February 2017, and we attended an Indonesian mass organised by local Indonesian Catholic community in early March 2017. We tried to enjoy a sunny spring day by visiting Sola beach in early May 2017.


Sola beach — Sola, Norway

We were invited for a lunch by one of our Indonesian friends on May 17th, and watched the Norwegian Constitution Day‘s parade in Stavanger city centre.

17. mai

17. mai — Stavanger, Norway

When the weather was good, we tried a short walking tour with our baby to Ullandhaug tower. It was end of May 2017.


Ullandhaug tower — Stavanger, Norway

In early July 2017, we took a cruise trip to Lysefjord with our baby.


Beneath Preikestolen — Stavanger, Norway

We went to Gladmat 2017 and tasted one of our favourite waffles in town in mid July 2017, and visited the Swords in Rock (sverd i fjell) a couple of days later when the weather was good.


Gladmat 2017 — Stavanger, Norway


Sverd i fjell — Stavanger, Norway

We had a short hike to the broken chain, and joined other fellow Indonesians in the Stavanger region to celebrate Indonesia’s independence day in mid August 2017.


The Broken Chain — Stavanger, Norway


Independence day celebration — Stavanger, Norway

Our baby joined a weekly swimming class starting in early September 2017 for 2.5 months in Tastahallen. I think she enjoyed the lessons (at least the couple first ones).


First swimming lesson — Stavanger, Norway

We took a stroll in Sandved park in early October 2017, during the autumn season. We actually visited the park a couple of times earlier (in spring, I guess) since it is very close to our current apartment.


Sandved park — Sandnes, Norway

Last year I set a goal of using public transportation to work at least 2 working days per week. Unfortunately, I did not manage to keep my discipline, and failed to fulfil my target. I think I ended up taking public transportation to work about one workday in 2 weeks or so 😀 Of course I can always blame my wife for using my bus card (this is a lame excuse) 😀

From my personal growth standpoint, I did not manage to build a cool side project outside work, but I was luckily accepted in a Google scholarship programme with Udacity. It was an online Android fast-track course that lead me to a Google certification called Associate Android Developer. The certification exam itself was interesting and was not very difficult. It was interesting in the sense that I had to develop new features and fix bugs of an existing half-baked Android application, instead of fiddling with theoretical multiple choice questions. In addition, I should take an exit interview to pass the certification exam.

In addition to the Google certification, I also managed to complete two MongoDB courses: MongoDB Basics and MongoDB for Java Developers. It was interesting to learn another NoSQL (document-oriented) database as I have only used AWS DynamoDB at work.

I also managed to complete an online course on Oil & Gas. The course was well-designed by IFP school, and it was relatively easy to complete. The course provided me with an overview of the oil & gas industry, from exploration (upstream) to distribution (downstream). I am still waiting for the certificate of accomplishment to be issued by IFP school.

And about work, I think I have learned quite a lot of new technologies in the past year, especially when it comes to the cloud. We have introduced infrastructure-as-code and serverless architecture (i.e. function-as-a-service), among others, in our software products, and I think these new technologies have given us a productivity boost when developing new features.

I was happy and sad at the same time when I received a job offer from one of the biggest (energy) companies in Norway. I was happy because I had the chance to experience a new work environment in a big organisation and gain a first-hand experience in the digital transformation of a well-established energy company. On the other hand, I was sad because that means I had to resign and leave my current employer. I have enjoyed working for my current employer during the last couple of years, and I think I will miss it. After discussing with my wife, I decided to take the job offer and signed the contract. It might sound like jumping to the void of unknown, but I think I am ready to take the leap of faith. If everything goes well, I will join my new employer sometime within the first quarter of 2018. The hiring process was actually quite long, I would say (it took around 3 months to complete), but perhaps it is the norm in a big company. The HackerRank coding test/challenge was fun, and the following two interviews were interesting as well. The background check process was rather time-consuming as the company was serious in thoroughly checking everything I wrote in my CV (I think it took around 3 weeks to complete the background check process). But honestly speaking, I have no idea how this process can be improved. One possible solution is to borrow the concept of memoization (or caching) from dynamic programming. Let’s take education background check as an example. Instead of checking all written degrees in the CV, the company can check only the latest degree-issuing institution, as the educational institution had done similar check for the candidate’s previous education credentials. In my case, for example, the company can check only the university that issued my Ph.D. degree, since the university had done the background check of my M.Sc. degree(s) when I applied/started the Ph.D. programme. Likewise, the university that granted my M.Sc. degree(s) had done the background check of my B.Sc. degree when I applied/started the master’s programme. In other words, the company does not need to check the things that have been checked before. Borrowing the term from the computing world, this will reduce the (runtime) computational complexity of the process.

I have moved from one apartment to another several times during my stay in Norway, and I think it is quite simple when I was single. But now that we are 3 in the family, it might be more challenging. So, in the past year we decided to buy a new apartment, and thankfully we got our mortgage application approved. However, the apartment is still being built (i.e. under construction), and it is expected to be completed in mid 2018. I hope things will go well, and I look forward to moving in to our new apartment.

I hope next year will be as exciting as, if not more exciting than, the past year.


32nd Year in Retrospect

November 2015 was quite a pivotal point in my life, a rather extreme decision was taken: I got married. It looked a bit scary in the beginning, but I thought it was time to start a family after spending three good decades being single. So I went to Indonesia in early November 2015, received the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and registered the marriage in Bojonegoro on November 16th, and had our first wedding reception on the same day. 500 invitations were distributed, and around 1000 guests arrived. My legs were a bit tortured for standing, shaking hands and taking pictures with the seemingly unending stream of arriving guests. Another wedding reception was held in Jakarta on November 22nd, and around 400 invitations were sent. It was another round of legs-torturing, but with better preparation, taking into account some lessons learned from the first event. I also silently publicized the wedding events online, accessible at

Wedding reception in Bojonegoro

Wedding reception — Bojonegoro, Indonesia

We also ordered a short clip of our wedding moments in Bojonegoro (which we preferred more than a full-length video). Seriously, I am not sure if I would ever want to watch a 3+-hour wedding video (unless I am forced to do so, of course).

After done with the wedding formalities both in Bojonegoro and Jakarta, we stayed in Jakarta for a week, mainly to start my wife’s Norwegian residence permit (family immigration) application. The process was not so straight-forward since we had to visit a sworn translator to translate our marriage certificate and my wife’s birth certificate, then we had to ask for some stamps to legalize them from two different government institutions. We stayed in one of the top-floor rooms of a high-rise apartment building in one of the central parts of Jakarta to get a feeling how it feels to live in central Jakarta.

On December 1st 2015, I traveled back to Stavanger, Norway, alone, since my wife had to wait for a couple of months before her family immigration permit was issued (and since I hold a Norwegian permanent residence permit, the case processing time was even longer compared to regular work visa, which motivated us to apply for a temporary D-type visa). That also meant I celebrated Christmas and New Year alone (well, I went out with my office colleague during the New Year’s eve to watch fireworks show). But luckily, her D-type visa application was issued in a relatively fast manner, and I fetched her in Oslo airport on February 5th 2016. We spent a day walking around in Oslo city center with a friend, and took a night train to Stavanger. It was snowing hard in Oslo.

In mid March 2016, we visited Sverd i fjell since the sun was (surprisingly) shining brightly (it was like early spring to me).

Sverd i fjell -- Stavanger, Norway

Sverd i fjell — Stavanger, Norway

We visited the oil museum in mid April 2016, and visited the (outdoor) botanical garden a week later.

Botanical garden -- Stavanger, Norway

Botanical garden — Stavanger, Norway

We went to Stavanger city center on May 17th 2016 to see the Norwegian Constitution Day celebration and parades.

17. mai -- Stavanger, Norway

17. mai — Stavanger, Norway

I took my driving test in late June 2016, and luckily I passed. Honestly speaking, I prefer to travel using public transport since I can enjoy the view or read Kindle books (or simply rest/sleep). But having a driving license in Norway will provide us more flexibility as a family, especially when more family members are added to the equation in the near future. I have always been using public transport since I came to Norway in late 2010, so I can somehow claim that my carbon footprint has been quite low 🙂 We then decided to buy a used car from a kind old lady. She gave her bike to my wife as a bonus for purchasing her car 🙂 And we enjoy the panoramic roof, by the way (natural light is always nice to have, especially when the sun is a bit shy to shine). To minimize my carbon footprint, I will do my best to use public transport to work at least 2 working days per week. I will see if this goal will be achieved.

Hiding from the rain -- Stavanger, Norway

Hiding from the rain — Stavanger, Norway

In mid July we visited Flor og Fjære, an artificial tropical garden in an island not far from Stavanger. The dinner was nice (albeit a bit time-consuming) and the garden was awesome.

Flor og Fjære -- Stavanger, Norway

Flor og Fjære — Stavanger, Norway

We visited the gladmat festival in Stavanger city center a week later, and tasted burgers and waffels (we went there twice). We visited Sverd i fjell again during the same week when the weather was really good. Summer has always been nice 🙂

Gladmat 2016 -- Stavanger, Norway

Gladmat 2016 — Stavanger, Norway

We attended the celebration of Indonesian independence day and met with fellow Indonesians in late August 2016.

Indonesian independence day celebration -- Stavanger, Norway

Indonesian independence day celebration — Stavanger, Norway

My wife wanted to visit Månafossen during the first week of September 2016, so we went there for a short hike. The terrain was quite demanding, but the trip to reach the waterfall’s viewpoint was quite short.

Månafossen -- Gjesdal, Norway

Månafossen — Gjesdal, Norway

After living for more than 2 years in the previous apartment, we decided to move to a new one. The apartment is quite new, and is located on top of a shopping mall. I was initially surprised to find out that there is a children playground on the roof with synthetic grass. I also found the automated underground parking space quite cool.

Rooftop garden -- Sandnes, Norway

Rooftop playground — Sandnes, Norway

The past year has been quite interesting, I would say. I kept learning new things at work, and I also managed to complete 3 online courses on Coursera: Machine Learning, Algorithms 1 and Algorithms 2. I think the courses were quite brain-intensive, but were still fun to take. After completing these three courses, I decided to stop taking online courses for a while and started a side project instead, to further improve my practical technical skills. The side project takes roughly the same amount of time as those online courses (roughly 1-2 hours per day). I also plan to improve my Norwegian language skills.

A half-decade taste of Norway

A half-decade has passed since I first arrived in Norway, and the last one year has been a rather calm year. After completing my PhD last year, I have been focusing mainly on developing my software development skills and on getting more exposure in the Norwegian oil and gas industry by taking part in a continuous development cycle of an environmental accounting software called NEMS Accounter®, which has been widely used by operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The experience so far has been satisfying, I would say, as I have been able to practice test-driven development on daily basis (although I must admit that I still create test code after the implementation code most of the time), and work with (relatively) old/legacy code. Refactoring has been my daily bread since I moved to Stavanger area in mid June 2014, and I believe it has been done for good reasons. I have been working with experienced and smart colleagues, and have been blessed with the opportunity to learn new things from them while claiming my (fair) share of contribution to the software’s code base. I completed a 6-month probation/trial period in mid December 2014, and have since been a regular employee.

However, as most things in life, not everything is milk and honey (I actually almost wrote “not everything is oil and gas”, as I currently live in Norway 😀 ). It is widely known that the oil price has been (roughly) halved since June 2014, and downsizing has been inevitable in the very sector I have been working in. I tried to make a joke among my office colleagues telling them that I was perhaps the bad omen to this industry as I started to work in mid June 2014, just before the oil price went down hill (I think the Brent crude price was still hovering around 100 USD per barrel at that time). After all, oil is just another commodity that is subject to supply-and-demand law’s mercy. As supply surged without increasing demand at the same scale, price would naturally collapse (it does not sound like a rocket science, does it?). Well, I am not an oil and gas expert, but I have heard that the main culprit has been the wide use of a relatively new technology called hydraulic fracturing (or fracking in short), which has enabled operators to gain access to hydrocarbon reserves that were previously difficult to extract, which lead to a huge increase in production/supply (I heard this mainly happened in north America). Anyhow, I feel sorry for my colleagues who have been hit by the downsizing, and hope for the best for their future endeavours.

Apart from work, I have been experiencing everything for the first time in the Stavanger area (I have actually been living in Sandnes, working in Stavanger part of Forus), including Christmas and Easter. There was not much snow during the winter, with more share of rain compared to Grimstad. I attended a team-building event with office colleagues (the developer team) in mid November 2014 (ice skating and dinner at an Indian restaurant), and a company gathering dinner in the third week of November 2014 (mainly with the environmental department team) at an Italian restaurant in the city centre.

Ice skating -- Stavanger, Norway

Ice skating — Stavanger, Norway

I watched the lighting of Christmas tree by the end of November 2014 in the city centre, attended a morning Christmas celebration mass on 25th December 2014, and went with some friends to the city centre to celebrate the new year (watching some fireworks).

Christmas tree lighting -- Stavanger, Norway

Christmas tree lighting — Stavanger, Norway

Christmas day -- Stavanger, Norway

Christmas day — Stavanger, Norway

Nothing much happened during the first quarter of 2015. I went to the city centre with a friend to watch the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day on 17th May 2015 (food market and parades).

17. mai -- Stavanger, Norway

17. mai — Stavanger, Norway

As in many other cities, summer is always a nice time for some outdoor activities. I attended another team-building event with the developer team in the second week of June 2015. This time we were canoeing and doing a bit of running orienteering (one of the developer team members is an orienteering expert/veteran).

Canoeing -- Sandnes, Norway

Canoeing — Sandnes, Norway

I travelled to Indonesia (Jakarta, Bojonegoro, Yogyakarta) for 2 weeks in mid July 2015 mainly for family-related event and several short reunions with old friends.

When the weather was good, having lunch at the office’s rooftop was actually a nice thing to do during the summer (when there was not so much wind). I figured this out with some office colleagues in mid August 2015, and we repeated it several times.

Office rooftop lunch -- Stavanger, Norway

Office rooftop lunch — Stavanger, Norway

I celebrated the 70th Indonesian independence day with other fellow Indonesians in the Stavanger region at the end of August 2015, and attended another company team-building event in the third week of October 2015 (høydepunkt game and dinner at a hotel in the city centre) with mainly the environmental department group.

And here I am, having another birthday, getting older and (hopefully) more awesome 😀

4th year of Norway chapter, welcoming the 4th decade of life

…people can now call you Dr. Trinugroho…

That sentence marked the culmination of a 3+-year filled with dedication, hard work, long nights and weekends, and sincere prayers. A sentence so precious that I believe I will remember for the rest of my life. It was said by the head of the ICT department of the University of Agder at the end of my PhD disputation/defence on September 17th 2014. I am very grateful to have gone through all the tough days as a PhD student and made it to the end. My sincere gratitude goes to God, great supervisors, external reviewers and opponents, colleagues, family and friends. It would not have been possible without their kind help and support. Thank you!

"...people can now call you Dr. Trinugroho..."

“…people can now call you Dr. Trinugroho…” — Grimstad, Norway

Four years have passed since I came to Norway, and today I turn 30, which means I have spent three good decades on this planet. Looking back to the past ten years, I realise that formal education had a big share of my time. B.Sc., double M.Sc., Ph.D., all took place in my 20s. And quite surprisingly, I realise that they were attained in distinct countries (i.e. Indonesia, Italy, Germany, Norway). I do not regret nor complain about this fact (at least not yet 🙂 ), and in fact, if I had the chance to repeat my 20s, I would most probably choose to do it all over again. I love learning, and academic degrees will not change that any bit. I have promised myself to keep learning new things in my 30s, albeit not in an academic setting. Starting my own family sounds interesting as well during my 30s.

Continuing from where I left off (which was a year ago), I spent the last quarter of 2013 writing my last paper for a journal publication and doing my best to put all my (research) work findings in a thesis that was planned to be submitted during the first quarter of 2014. Thankfully the journal paper was accepted, and I managed to submit my PhD thesis by the end of February 2014. I even managed to co-author a book chapter to be published in early 2015. Sounds like hard work paid off? Well, so far my answer has been quite consistent: yes, hard work does pay off. Although honestly I plan to relax my muscles a bit and enjoy the weekends more in the coming year(s) 🙂

Home thesis workspace -- Grimstad, Norway

Home thesis workspace — Grimstad, Norway

Knowing that my PhD research fellowship contract would end rather soon, I spent some of my thesis writing break time to think what to do next. After a couple rounds of brainstorming, I decided to apply for jobs that are related to software development in industry since I like building stuff that is more concrete, used in real life (as opposed to research work that typically spans from ideation to prototypes/proof-of-concepts). I started applying for jobs in mid November 2013, attended several interviews, and finally chose to join Add Energy, a company based in Stavanger, Norway (I received the job offer around late January 2014). I was impressed with the fact that the company has several software solutions/products that have been developed in-house (instead of being outsourced to third party companies), and I was also interested to learn more about the Norwegian oil & gas industry, which at that time accounted for roughly 20% of the country’s economy. So it was not a difficult decision to accept the job offer, although that means I had to move to Stavanger.

I did not start the new job until mid June 2014 since my PhD research fellowship contract was in effect until end of May 2014. After submitting my PhD thesis in late February 2014, I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, USA for a research visitation at the University of Pittsburgh from March to May 2014. It was a nice experience to meet new colleagues and experience new research environment where I dedicated my time building an initial prototype of an mHealth solution.

The cathedral of learning -- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

The Cathedral of Learning — Pittsburgh, PA, USA

During my stay in Pittsburgh, I managed to visit Washington, DC, with some friends.

The White House -- Washington, D.C., USA

The White House — Washington, DC, USA

And also the Niagara Falls.

The Niagara Falls -- Washington, DC, USA

The Niagara Falls — NY, USA

I traveled back to Grimstad on June 1st 2014, then visited Indonesia for roughly 2 weeks for a family-related special occasion. I started to work on my new job as a software developer on June 16th 2014. I have enjoyed myself working at the new workplace with nice and smart colleagues, and I have learned new things both within the software development domain and the oil & gas domain in general. Ah…. And I found the office desks at the new workplace fascinating: it can be raised or lowered with a button push 🙂 It is especially useful when calling a colleague for help so that he/she does not have to bring a chair since we can discuss while standing and looking to the monitors. I think it should become the standard for all (office) workspaces.

Cool office desk -- Stavanger, Norway

Cool office desk — Stavanger, Norway

Well, today my 20s is officially over, and I look forward to experiencing the 4th decade of my life. It will not be very academic, but I believe many things are to be learned on my way. I hereby welcome my 30s 🙂

3rd year of Norway chapter

Time runs very fast. But I run faster!

That, I wish. Unfortunately I have tasted a bit of exhaustion pushing myself forward in the seemingly endless marathon track of an academic race. The view gets even more daunting as deadlines constantly knock my front door. I could of course escape through the rear passage, but I think I have decided to fight all the way till the finish line. After all, I am the one who chose this tough path.

This month, 3 years ago, I landed in Norway for pursuing an academic route. Honestly speaking, Norway has been treating me well, perhaps very well, to a point where I was granted a permanent residence permit earlier this month, just a couple of days before my birthday. Yes, today is my birthday, and sadly speaking, I’m getting older. On the bright side, I have seen some personal improvements that I have wished for during the last couple of years. More knowledgeable and hopefully also wiser. I intentionally spend some time writing this personal log about major activities during the last 1 year, which otherwise would (most probably) be forgotten as time passes by.

I travelled back to Indonesia during the winter holiday last year (end of December 2012) for a couple of weeks, celebrating Christmas and New Year with my family as well as meeting some old friends for a reunion. I visited 3 cities: Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bojonegoro. On my return trip to Norway, I transitted in Amsterdam and took a walk around the city for a couple of hours, visiting several tourist attractions. Upon my arrival in Grimstad, Norway, I caught a strong and annoying cold which forced me to have bed rest for a week or so.

I didn’t involve myself much in external activities during the first half of 2013, mainly focusing on the implementation of a prototype of my work (dedicating myself to programming work). I attended a Persian New Year party arranged by several students in March 2013, and a potluck gathering in May 2013. I made a fried rice and claimed it to be one of Indonesian specialties 🙂 I also attended a First Communion ceremony of my office mate’s daughters in mid May 2013, which was followed by a nice barbecue session under a bright sunny Nordic sky. On May 17th I went downtown to watch live children parade, commemorating the Norwegian Constitution Day.

Then comes the eHelseUKA 2013 event in early June 2013, where the eHealth group showed off our developed prototypes alongside some posters of the group’s projects. I attended the PhD defence of my office colleague in mid June 2013, and attended the HERMES (a student association) barbecue event a couple of days later, where I enjoyed a football match as a centre back (sort of). I presented the latest progress of my work in late June 2013 in a PhD forum event (including a demo of the running prototype).

eHelseUKA 2013

eHelseUKA 2013 — Grimstad, Norway

World-class centre back :-)

World-class centre back 🙂 — Grimstad, Norway

PhD forum June 2013

PhD forum June 2013 — Grimstad, Norway

I travelled to Trolltunga during the second week of July 2013 with a friend. It was roughly a 9-hour hike up and down, and I remember feeling both my legs broken into pieces. It was simply very challenging to me. But it was worth the while since the scenery was amazing. I tried swimming in Groos beach as well in mid July 2013. The water was a bit cold. I attended another barbecue event at the end of July 2013, celebrating an office mate’s birthday.


Trolltunga — Odda, Norway

I travelled to Bali, Indonesia, in late August 2013 mainly to present a paper for publication at APCC 2013 conference. I visited a friend in Singapore and took a walk around the city during my transit time for a couple of hours. I visited my parents in Jakarta for a couple of days before heading back to Bali for a short vacation. I found Bali really amazing, especially the beaches (it was my first time to the island although it is part of Indonesia and I’m myself an Indonesian).

The Merlion

The Merlion — Singapore

APCC 2013 conference

APCC 2013 conference — Bali, Indonesia

Balinese traditional "Kecak" dance

Balinese traditional “Kecak” dance — Bali, Indonesia

I took part in showing a demo of one of the eHealth group’s prototypes in the Forskningsdagene 2013 event in Grimstad with 2 other group members. We were allocated a tent in the city centre where people can visit, see, and discuss with us surrounding our research projects.

Those are the major events taking place during the last 1 year of my life. Currently I’m facing a tough challenge to finish my work which I started a couple of years ago, and I promise myself to put my spirit to the test. I don’t know how the outcome will look like, but I will surely do my very best.

2nd year of Norway chapter

Another one-year has gone by. November 1st 2012 marked the end of my 2nd year stay in Norway. Time flies. The upside of the story is that good things occurred during the last one year. Some progress on my research work, some (conference) trips to new places, made new friends along the way, tasted new traditional food and drinks, tried (fake) cross-country skiing, met old friends, and the list goes on. However, downside is inevitable, which includes not enough progress on my research work (at least from my feeling’s perspective), time inefficiency at workplace, could have worked harder for research results, not enough outdoor activities, and Facebooked too much (the actual list can indeed be longer than this). Ah yes, I could have blogged more frequently as well 😛 As I have promised myself, I will do my best to update my weblog at least once a year, and I believe my birthday is a good time for looking back and review my life journey throughout the last one year.

I went to Paris, France, in late December 2011 (the third week or so), visiting an old friend whom I used to work with arranging small events at the university during the good old bachelor days back in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It was not my first time visiting Paris (in fact the first time I visited Paris was when I was about 10 or so during school summer break with my parents), but it was a bit special since it was the first time I celebrated Christmas in Paris. I (and my old friend plus his wife) attended a late night Christmas Eve mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. I missed visiting the Palace of Versailles and Disneyland Paris, though (due to time constraint).

Eiffel tower, Paris, France

I visited Aalborg, Denmark, in the third week of January 2012 for two days with my professor for a meeting with one of UiA’s partners. During the first week of February 2012, I visited Vilamoura, Portugal, to present a paper for publication at a scientific conference. There was nothing much to do or see apart from attending the conference (and walking around the marina and the beach), though. Too bad that the conference tour and dinner required extra payment (which stopped me from participating since such event’s cost will not be covered by the university where I currently work for). But it was still special for me since it was my very first time touching the soil of Portugal. And the 4-star hotel where I stayed for several nights was quite good as well. Quite a bad experience during my return trip to Grimstad, though. Luggage issue due to wrong information from a check-in desk staff at Lisbon airport.

Healthinf 2012 conference, Vilamoura, Portugal

I bought cross country skiing equipments in mid February 2012, and was quite surprised to find out that the boots are made in Indonesia (yes, Indonesia is located at the earth’s equator, and there is no snow all year round). I tried skiing with a friend in an open field covered with snow (hard thick snow actually, since the winter was almost over), and found it quite interesting. Will definitely try again this winter.

Cross country skiing, Grimstad, Norway

I moved to a university apartment nearby the university (distanced <100 meters from the university) in late March 2012 due to noise issues from the neighbours who couldn’t respect night hour regulations (and also the fact that everyone living in the building will have to move by June 2012 due to total renovation plan). The new apartment/dorm is much better in many ways, so I was quite satisfied with the move.

I went to Nordkapp on a cruise trip (Hurtigruten) during the first weekend of April 2012 with an old friend (we studied together in Aachen, Germany). Nordkapp is considered to be the northern-most spot of continental Europe (although I remember the tour guide mentioned that it is actually not the northern-most point, but the northern-most point that can be easily accessed by humans). The interior of the ship actually looked more like a hotel than a ship, but anyhow, we slept inside a small cabin (the cheapest available option). I remember being baptised (with ice) by (fake) king Neptune in a special ritual when the ship passed through the Arctic circle. We also tried the yakuzi (hot pool) on the top deck of the ship. It was quite an amazing sea-trip experience.

Nordkapp, Norway

During mid June 2012, an eHealth week event took place at University of Agder campus Grimstad. I and one master student presented our latest research results as well. During the same week, the eHealth group of UiA was highlighted on a local newspaper, Agderposten.

eHealth week 2012, UiA Grimstad, Norway

Agderposten, 11.06.2012

Jump to the first weekend of July 2012, I and three other friends (two of them were flatmates when I was in Trento, Italy) travelled to Preikestolen, not far from Stavanger, Norway. The hike to the top was demanding, and the weather was not friendly at all (light showers and quite hard rain at some points). But we made it to the top (and back) anyway. The scenery was awesome from the top. Unfortunately I did not dare to sit at the edge of the cliff (as many people did). We travelled around the city center of Stavanger as well the day after hiking.

Preikestolen, Norway

In the same month, I attended another scientific conference in Lisbon, Portugal, and presented a paper for publication. I found the city of Lisbon quite amazing (although it was very hot in mid July). Strolling around the city center while enjoying ice cream was simply unforgettable 🙂 The (free of charge) conference trip and dinner to Obidos was also exciting. I remember having a nice walking trip with a friend from the conference at the closing day of the conference. The hotel where I stayed during the conference was unstarred, so I did not expect much for the provided service.

Belem tower, Lisbon, Portugal

During the last weekend of July 2012, I and two other friends had a cruise trip around Sognefjord in Bergen, Norway. We went to Fjærland and saw the largest glacier site in Norway, Jostedalsbreen. The scenery along the fjords was very beautiful. Highly recommended for nature-lovers. In the evening we walked around the city center of Bergen, and enjoyed a delicious Thai food dinner.

Sognefjord, Norway

During the first week of August 2012, I and three other friends visited Istanbul, Turkey. It is a beautiful city with rich historical background and many things to see. We visited, among others, the famous Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. We also tried the hop on-off bus tour which passed through the Bosphorus bridge which connects European and Asian parts of Istanbul (yes, we spent some time in the Asian part of Istanbul).

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

At the closing date of August 2012, I presented my research progress for the second (or third, I cannot remember exactly) time at the PhD forum at University of Agder in Grimstad, Norway. Not many people attended my presentation, but I still received some inputs as well as questions.

UiA PhD forum, Grimstad, Norway

I attended another conference in Oslo, Norway, during the last week of September 2012, and once again presented a paper for publication. Several days earlier, UiA’s eHealth group appeared once again on a local newspaper, Grimstad Adressetidende.

Grimstad Adressetidende, 20.09.2012

During the third week of October 2012, I travelled to Madrid, Spain, to attend two co-located conferences. I presented two papers for publications in those two conferences, and (luckily) one of the papers got best paper award (yeah!) 😀 The conference’s (free of charge) tour and dinner event was nice as well. The 4-star hotel where I spent some nights was good, except that the cleaning service personnel seem to occupy most of the afternoon for hours cleaning the rooms. I spent some time walking around the city center of Madrid, and was touched by the lively vibrant atmosphere. I even saw a (peaceful) demonstration taking place. On Saturday, October 20th 2012, I watched a live match between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the renowned Santiago Bernabeu stadium. I also took a stadium tour the following day.

Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty – Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain

During my stay in Madrid for the conference, UiA’s eHealth group was featured on Computerworld Norway. The article can be accessed here.

And last but not least, November 5th is my birthday (which is today). Sadly time flies so fast, and I am now 28. I hope I can overcome my shortcomings in the previous year, and be more productive while still enjoying every bit of daily activities, which hopefully will be illuminated with wonderful experiences. Ah yes, by the way, for my birthday present I bought myself a Google Nexus 7 tablet computer 😀

Boxed Nexus 7 and a birthday card from far away

It was an exciting one-year experience during my second year stay in Grimstad, Norway. Life goes on, and I hope great adventures and experiences will await me in the following year.

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