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.

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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.

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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.

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