Half way through the fourth decade

Three and a half decade is not a short time, but I feel the past decade went so fast. I remembered the time when I visited my brother in Prague, and I realised it was about 12 years ago (end of 2007)! I start to feel that time did not care nor discriminate anyone: it keeps going forward, steadily. I re-watched Steve Jobs’ commencement speech, and was reminded of a quote that he quoted:

If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.

I do hope that my last day will still be decades away, but I started to think maybe I have to reorient my priorities. Maybe I should consider to stop doing some things, and start doing something else. Maybe I should continue doing things that I like. Or maybe not. Prioritising stuff is also tricky and it looks like an art on its own. And heck, time does not give a damn. It keeps moving on. But during the past (almost) 3 years, I felt calm whenever I saw my daughter sleeping. It could be a sign of direction I should prioritise. On the other hand, I still love playing video games, and am not sure if I could or should stop doing it 🙂 I actually managed to form a random team and won the Dota 2 tier 3 battle cup during one weekend 😀

dota2_battle_cup

Dota 2 tier 3 battle cup champion!

Today, as I turn 35, I try to reflect what I have experienced during the past one year and write down the things that I think worth remembering in the coming years (of course I cannot write every single event as that is just impossible). This becomes like a yearly tradition to me 🙂 I even take a day off from work 😀

After celebrating my daughter’s 2nd birthday at home, we decided to spend the Christmas holiday season at one of Equinor‘s cabins in Sirdal (a mountain area about 2-3 hours drive from Sandnes, Norway, quite famous for skiing), together with several other families. We stayed there for around 5 days, I think.

sirdal_cabin

Cabin area — Fidjeland, Norway

We were quite lucky during the first days there was plentiful of snow (although it made driving a bit challenging). And of course, I tried skiing again 🙂

sirdal_ski

Downhill skiing — Sirdal, Norway

We celebrated Christmas in one of the cabins together: (our version of) Santa Claus giving presents to the children, sang Christmas carols, ate a lot of food, played cards all night (since the road was extremely slippery and we could not head back to our cabin). I think it was fun, and my daughter looked happy as well.

After Christmas of course comes the New Year. We visited a family for a dinner, then drove together to Jåttåvågen to see fireworks, welcoming 2019.

We had a Radix team building event in mid February 2019. I think it was an escape game in Sandnes, where we were divided into two groups, and the sole goal was to escape before time ran out. Sadly, my team did not manage to escape on time (we almost made it, but failed). Luckily, the other team did not manage to escape as well, so we did not feel so bad 😀 We then continued with a nice dinner.

I was invited by my former PhD supervisor (he was the rector of UiA at that time) to a meeting in Kristiansand. It was a visitation by the research and technology minister of Indonesia, and I took a day off from work to attend it. That was one of the rare occasions where I had the opportunity to use my suit again 😀 We had a short meetup and dinner with several former PhD student colleagues later that day in Grimstad. It had been a while since I last met them.

uia_meeting_suit

Rare occasion in suit 🙂 — Kristiansand, Norway

In around mid March 2019, I attended a sector gathering event in Trondheim. It was an interesting 2-day gathering packaged in a conference-like format held at a hotel. It was an opportunity to know more people in our sector at work while learning a couple of new things. We had a drone simulation competition which I found very interesting, although my team did not win 🙂 I had the chance to have a short meet-up with an old friend who lived in Trondheim in the evening (we first met in Aachen, Germany, around a decade ago when we were master students).

trondheim

Trondheim, Norway

Omnia Radix was officially released to (limited) production on March 28th 2019. It was not a big event, but sweets, sodas and balloons(!) were included 😀 And since nobody wanted to take the balloons home, I brought some of them to my daughter (and she was very happy) 🙂

limited_prod_balloons

Omnia Radix (limited) production balloons 🙂 — Sandnes, Norway

We celebrated Easter in the third week of April 2019, and visited Rogaland Arboret (a park not far from where we live). I personally enjoyed strolling in the park, I will definitely do it again.

rogaland_arboret

Rogaland Arboret — Sandnes, Norway

On May 17th 2019, we went to Sandnes city center in the morning to watch the children’s parade, celebrating the Norwegian Constitution Day. My daughter participated in a smaller (and shorter) parade the day before together with her friends in the kindergarten.

17_mai_2019

17. mai — Sandnes, Norway

I attended KubeCon Europe 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, from 21st to 23rd May 2019. The conference attracted more than 7000 attendees, and everything looked big. I visited many sponsor booths and asked about their tech offerings around Kubernetes (since we use Kubernetes quite heavily in Radix). Some booths gave free goodies to anyone visiting them, and I got several free T-shirts 🙂 Our team also had a meeting with Microsoft (the AKS team), mainly discussing about their tech roadmap (Microsoft Azure is our cloud partner for the Radix journey). The conference was well-organised, I would say. The only complain I had was the long walking distance between the session rooms and the keynote + sponsors’ booths (it was a good physical exercise, though 😀 ).

kubecon_2019

KubeCon Europe 2019 — Barcelona, Spain

I brought my wife and daughter to Barcelona, and I extended my conference trip a couple of days with a private vacation (with permission from my line manager) so that we could enjoy Barcelona a bit. And I think Barcelona is a nice city (at least for tourism), much warmer than the Stavanger area 🙂

sagrada_familia

Sagrada Familia — Barcelona, Spain

And of course we visited Camp Nou for the stadium + museum tour 🙂 Unfortunately, the La Liga season was over, so we could not experience watching (real) Lionel Messi running on the pitch 🙂

camp_nou

Camp Nou — Barcelona, Spain

My parents and niece visited us during the summer for around one week (from end of June to beginning of July). We brought them to several famous tourism spots in Stavanger (swords in rock and the cathedral, among others), and we took a short cruise trip to see Preikestolen from beneath as well.

swords_in_rock

Swords in rock — Stavanger, Norway

We drove together to one of Equinor’s cabins in Fogn, and stayed there for a couple of days. I enjoyed the cabin, however, the weather was not very friendly (a lot of wind and rain), so we spent most of our time indoor.

fogn_cabin

Fogn, Norway

At the end of their visit to Norway, we traveled to Oslo for one day, where they met their old friend, before continuing their journey to Paris and several other cities in mainland Europe.

royal_palace

The Royal Palace — Oslo, Norway

In mid July 2019, we hiked to Preikestolen just like last year, except the weather was not as good this year. And yr.no is partly to blame. We followed their weather forecast (which usually was close to reality), but we found that the error margin was quite large in July. We guessed maybe in July the experienced employees were away on vacation, and were substituted with inexperienced summer students 😀 And quite surprisingly, many people hiked that day. Maybe they fell into the same weather forecast trap as we did 😀 The weather forecast looked like this:

yr_preikestolen

yr.no’s Preikestolen weather forecast in July

And the reality looked as follows:

preikestolen_july_2019

Preikestolen, Norway

In the third week of July, we visited the yearly gladmat event in the Stavanger city center. I think we enjoyed some waffles and hamburgers there. The weather was excellent (I mean really warm 🙂 ).

gladmat_2019

Gladmat 2019 — Stavanger, Norway

Between the first and second weeks of July 2019, we drove south to Sørlandet for a couple of days, where our main destination was Dyreparken (one of the biggest zoos in Norway). The trip was rather ad-hoc, we found a cancelled Equinor cabin in Bastuvåga, we booked it and traveled without much planning. We decided to stop by Lindesnes lighthouse before staying overnight.

lindesnes_lighthouse

Lighthouse — Lindesnes, Norway

We then visited the main attraction, Dyreparken, the next day. That was actually my first time visiting Dyreparken 🙂 My daughter was very excited seeing various different animals and played some games designed for small children. The zoo itself is quite big, and we were lucky with the weather.

dyreparken_2019

Dyreparken — Kristiansand, Norway

We visited Kristiansand city center for a short time (a couple of hours), then I decided to drive to Grimstad and visited UiA again, a place where I spent almost 4 years doing research for my PhD a couple of years back.

uia_grimstad_2019

University of Agder — Grimstad, Norway

Before we drove back to Sandnes, we decided to try Badelandet in Dyreparken. The weather was not good, so we experienced mostly the indoor swimming pools.

We celebrated the Indonesian independence day at the end of August 2019. I think there were more Indonesians coming to the Stavanger area as skilled workers this year. This may reflect the reality that the energy industry (especially the oil industry) is growing again (after a period of downturn). It was nice to meet fellow Indonesians as we could not meet often due to different reasons.

17an_2019

Independence day celebration — Stavanger, Norway

I attended the Equinor Developer Conference from 17th to 19th September 2019. The conference was interesting with more talks and workshops arranged than the previous edition. I and a colleague presented an introduction to Kubernetes for developers in a 1-day workshop, and although not many attended our session, I am happy to have shared some of my knowledge and experience to the software developer community at Equinor 🙂 And I am happy that the Radix team was in the Loop 🙂

And now comes to personal development. During the past one year, I managed to pass the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) certification test. Although to be honest, I feel more like a certified fast kubectl typist 😀 The exam was interesting since it was very practical (instead of boring multiple choices), but I felt it was stressing more on handling time constraint (i.e. fast kubectl typing and vi editing skills) rather than application architecture on Kubernetes and its best practices. Nevertheless, I recommend this certification to anyone interested in (or forced to) developing applications on top of Kubernetes.

Apart from the CKAD certification, I completed 2 courses on Kubernetes: Kubernetes for Developers and Kubernetes Fundamentals. These courses and the certification were fully sponsored by Equinor (as part of competence building at work). In addition, I also completed a Coursera course in audit mode: Concurrency in Go.

I was interested to learn more about deep learning, so I took a Udacity course in collaboration with Facebook: Intro to Deep Learning with PyTorch. I learned quite a lot of things through this course, and I found the style transfer exercise very interesting. The following is my style transfer exercise result.

style_transfer

Style transfer with PyTorch

I think this sums up my past 1-year reflection, although I am sure there are many events that I miss in this post. I hope by looking back I can reorient my priorities better going forward. I hope the next one year will be interesting.

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_0157

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.

IMG_20171117_111349

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

Baptism — Bojonegoro, Indonesia

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

IMG_20171217_145423

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.

Cake

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.

Fireworks

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 😀 ).

Sirdal

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 🙂 .

Cardinal

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).

Apartment

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

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.

17mai

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

Dalsnuten — Sandnes, Norway

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

Byrkjedalstunet

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

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

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 🙂

Budapest

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).

Fishing

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.

Eigeroy

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 😀

Quinza-birth

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.

Quinza-Christmas-2016

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 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

Ullandhaug tower — Stavanger, Norway

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

Lysefjord

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

Gladmat 2017 — Stavanger, Norway

Three-sword-walk

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.

Broken-chain

The Broken Chain — Stavanger, Norway

17an

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-day-swimming

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

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 http://www.dafferianto.info/wedding/.

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 😀


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