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.

 

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