amazing adventures of asraf angullia

Thursday, August 31, 2006

what the fog?

Thursday, 31st August 2006 – 1:51pm Oslo time

The picture you see here is exactly what I saw when I woke up (at the RIGHT time) this morning… In my groggy state, the first thought that slipped through my mind was, “Oh my god! They’re fogging the residential area!” And then I realised that they don’t actually have to do that because there’re no mozzies around… It was like, real fog!

I was kinda nervous and excited as well as I stepped out of my block (yes, at the right time!) to head on to school… It was really cold! It was so cold that you could clearly see the condensation of your every breath… Perhaps this is a gentle reminder of how harsh things could get over here…

So I went for my history class today… Like any other history teacher, my professor was pretty subdued and monotonous… But I liked the subject matter: “Kings, Temples and Gods of Pre-colonial South Asia”… I have a soft spot for pre-modern history, especially pre-modern Asian history… I guess it’s all thanks to Rohana’s beloved Mr. Suhaimi who instilled the love and interest for history during my JC days…

After class, I stepped out of the building and guess what? No more fog and it was so hot, bright and sunny that I didn’t have to put on my jacket… And my fellow students, like on any other sunny day, started hanging out and lying around on the grassed areas around school… This is something which I like about my school; the environment is really relaxed and you don’t have to be self-conscious about anything… In fact, such notions are applicable throughout the whole country… I wonder if NUS will ever see this…

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the doofus...

Wednesday, 30th August 2006 – 10:05am Oslo time

The school term is finally going into full swing… All the lessons have begun, all reading assignments have been given out, and my schedule is all set… I was to have my Introduction to Old English lecture at 10am today… I set the alarm for 8:30am, the alarm rings on time; I have my breakfast, shower up, change and pack my bag… I take out my timetable to double-check the venue of the lecture… And then I realise, it’s actually at noon! Haha! Premature ejaculation sia…

Monday, August 28, 2006

crying over spilt milk...

Monday, 28th August 2006 – 10:56pm Oslo time

Whoever said there’s no use crying over spilt milk obviously never spilled some himself!! I did something super bodoh just now: I knocked over an almost-full mug of chocolate milk and spilled it all over my room! *sob* Some even landed on the cushioned seat of my chair and now it’s all chocolate-milky… Damn! And I mopped up my floor THREE TIMES, just in case I missed some spots the first two times… Really, really crying over spilt milk… :(

PS: my mug didn't break though...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

blast from the past...

Sunday, 27th August 2006 – 6:45pm Oslo time

It’s a very lazy Sunday… I’ve been spending time trying to complete my reading assignments… The professor quite sadistic siah, give us a lot of chapters to read one… Sianz…

Anyways, I was clearing my emails when I suddenly remembered the Gummi Bears!! Remember them? Those cute, bouncy bears that we all used to love watching on TV? Well, I actually went to search on them on youtube.com and found the intro song! Heehee!! So fun right? Click on the link if you wanna travel back in time a bit…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COwh_cMwKcg

I also saw links to watch the ‘Centurions’ intro song and ‘The Transformers’ as well… Remember them? And ‘He-man’, ‘MASK’, etc… The list goes on la… I miss those good ol’ days…

PS: This link is for Hajar ===> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b44V1bzjY0o Learn it for your next class at Goethe! Haha!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

i want my cookie!!

Saturday, 26th August 2006 – 4:10pm Oslo time

I miss my cookie monster! Very much!! Hehehe… Feeling proud of myself cos I cleaned my room today… I went grocery shopping in the morning and bought a cleaning cloth which looks like a diaper, but it did quite a decent job… My floor feels much cleaner now…

I decided not to go for the demonstration (sorry Reza, Nurul!)… Too lazy to go and it’s a bit too late… I guess I was too engrossed with doing the cleaning…

The NUS email server is still giving me problems… I *NEED* to email my lecturer! Sianz…

Anyways, I came across my JC PE teacher’s blog… I was kinda surprised to see Mr. Nordin’s blog… I never thought he was the blogging type… Hehe… But it’s cool... A bit sad to see his angsty entries though… He was very nice to me during my JC days… He often drove me to school in the mornings and sometimes, the rides he gave me were very much needed… So, if you happen to know him and wanna check out his blog, here’s the link: http://horridno0.blog.com/ No insults about him on my blog please! :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

illegal immigrant...

Thursday, 24th August 2006 – 8:40pm Oslo time

That's it... I've given up... I've absolutely given up!! I've spent more than 70kroner calling the immigration office and all I got was two CDs worth of bad classical music and weird accents... I will not attempt to call them again... I did what Mahmood suggested --- drop them an email and if they don't reply, then so be it! Screw it! Let me be declared an illegal immigrant! Deport me for all I care...

european language lethragy...

Thursday, 24th August 2006 – 3:15pm Oslo time

I was busy a few moments ago booking some flight tickets for Aunty Evelyn and myself… She’s flying over to meet me in Oslo in October and we’ll be spending one week travelling around, so I was tasked to raid the internet and look for the cheapest flights to our choice travel destinations… It was pretty tiring planning the flight times and of course, all the different airline companies and the currencies they use… Aunty Evelyn was nice enough to allow me to charge the tickets to her credit card, but I decided to use mine to make it less of a hassle…

So after about an hour or so working out a schedule, I was done! We’ll be heading to London, then Paris and then to Zurich! Cool huh? I will have to head back to Oslo after that as I can’t afford to be gone for more than a week… Aunty Evelyn might go ahead and travel to Milan after that!! I also want to go!! *sob*

I am now desperately trying to do my Norwegian homework… Yes, I am taking action and learning Norwegian so I will not be labelled the ‘Stupid Asian’ [a la Reza’s Scandinavian accent]… But it’s really tiring as I’m sure some of you know learning a new language means A LOT of HOMEWORK!! And like really, really A LOT!!

I’m taking extra classes and it’s already quite strenuous as it is… Norwegian is not compulsory…

And frankly, I’m suffering from European Language Learning Lethargy [LLL]… French, German and now, Norwegian? So I dunno how far I wanna pursue Norwegian… We’ll see how it goes as time progresses…

But bottom line is, I’m going to Paris! Yay! :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

the calm after the storm...

Wednesday, 23rd August 2006 – 10:15pm Oslo time

The day got better as time progressed… I went to my first lecture and found quite a bit of the material very familiar to what I have been exposed to in NUS… And there was even a lot of data based on Singlish… Felt very proud leh… The professor said he was glad to have me in the class as he could use me as a 'verifier' of how authentic the data is… Haha… So the right person to ask…

It was also cool cos I met my orientation group leader, Camilla… She’s taking the same class too… At least got friend during lecture…

Then I went for my introductory Norwegian class… It was kinda disorganised… I felt that the French and German lessons I’d attended back home were more systematic and clearly-structured… I hope things get better as time goes on… Very tired now… Time for bed; another day awaits…

unlucky shitty day...

Wednesday, 23rd August 2006 – 1:40pm Oslo time

I am so bloody freaking unlucky today! Absolutely hating it! I was actually looking forward to my first lesson of the week (technically my second one since I missed the first --- but that’s another story) and I made sure I woke up on time and even did some background reading for my module… Heck, I even brought along some notes so that in case my lecturer had questions, I could be the suck-up to put up his hand and answer…

So I made my way to school… But oh, before that, I tried calling the immigration department to get an update on my residence permit application… They put me on hold for so damn long that I ran out of coins!! I put in S$2.50 in the stupid phone which happily sucked up my money and all I got was a whole load of classical music! Grrr…

So I headed to school and arrived earlier than expected… There were Aikido, fencing and Taekwando demonstrations going on and I hung around to watch them for a bit since I had the time… I could have taken many nice shots, but silly me, as usual, forgot to bring my camera… Sigh…

Shortly after came the time for my class and so I referred to my map to double-check the location and got there with no troubles at all… I arrived early and opened the door of the seminar room... To my horror, it was all dark and empty! So I thought that the lecturer was gonna be late… But then, even if he was late, shouldn’t some of my classmates be early? I thought that there might have been a change in venue… So I rushed to my faculty building to check the class listing online… The class venues, times and days were still the same… So I randomly clicked some links in Norwegian and saw one which indicated that the first class will be on 29th August and that’s like bloody next week………… Thanks…

I seriously think they should do something about this (and I will forward some feedback)!!! It’s not funny when you miss classes or not get the latest updates on your classes just because you do not understand Norwegian! It’s really frustrating and it got me unnecessarily excited and anxious… Of course, lots of time and effort was wasted…

So I headed to the cafeteria for lunch… The vegetarian offering looked nice, so I bought it… Big mistake cos it really, really sucked!! So not funny… It sucked so much I actually missed eating boiled unflavoured potatoes… The only saving grace was the wheat bun I bought to supplement my meal… Needless to say, I threw away most of it cos I just couldn’t stand eating it after awhile…

After lunch, I tried calling the immigration department again… 6 kroners down the drain and still nothing… 16 kroners and counting… I wonder how many kroners it would take before I finally get through to an operator? And it doesn’t help that the phonelines are only open till 2:30pm…

So here I am, sitting aimlessly while trying to while away some time… Craving for a coke right now… Later!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

happy-sad day part 2...

Tuesday, 22nd August 2006 – 1:20pm Oslo time

Before I headed to the shower, I actually discovered something which made me quite upset… This time, I didn’t tell anyone except for my paper journal… Yes, I *STILL* have a normal, totally un-technologically-advanced paper journal where my deepest and most intimate thoughts are penned out… And so I wrote some sad stuff in there…

But after I came back to my room, I saw an SMS which read:

“Hi, hope you are ok. Have not seen you at practice and was wondering if things are well with you. We have been missing your strong paddling support. –jan-“

Ok, for those of you still in the dark (I know MANY of you are), I am part of the Canadian Dragons, a dragonboat team affiliated with the Canadian Association of Singapore… I took it up as a leisure activity in March this year, and now I’m addicted… It helped keep me fit and gained six kilos to my miserable frame! So yeah…

So yup, I’m out --- and proud to be a Canadian Dragon!! Jan (pronounced almost the same way as “yarn”) is the Male Member at Large for our team Exco and I didn’t really think he would notice my absence… And he has!! And I’ve only been gone for two weeks! Hehe… Ok, I should really stop and get on with life… Hee!

test of liberty...

Tuesday, 22nd August 2006 – 11:11am Oslo time

I was at the school cafeteria having my lunch yesterday when a barbie approached my table and put the flyer you see there on it… It looked kinda nice and I picked it up to see what it was… It was in Norwegian (as expected), but the word in red did not require any knowledge of Norwegian for it to be deciphered… It was “Demonstrasjon” and as I read it, I picked up words like “Israel”, “Palestina”, “Libanon” and so on… You would get the drift too, yeah? There was also an indication of the date, time and venue of the demonstration! They actually allow such flyers to be distributed!! It’s really cool eh?

Should I go to my first-ever (possibly only-ever) demonstration? Put on those funky-looking headbands, carry a picket sign, have an angry look on my face and shout in unison with the rest of the crowd? Even though in my case, it would be shouting things in a language I totally do not comprehend… What do you guys think?

On a different note altogether, the weather has been really kind these last few days… The sun has been out at full force and I had been out without my jacket! Amazing! It’s almost like being back in Singapore… haha… Alright now, time to hit the shower and get ready to head on to school!

PS: I have altered the settings of my blog and so, non-members are now allowed to leave their comments too! Would love to hear from ya! :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

last of the pics...














'Kino' means cinema... In German at least... heh...










And I just love this dining area on this cute little boat!! There are many, many other pictures which I took today, but not all of them will be put up here of course... If you wanna view them, you may go to my multiply page at www.asrafang.multiply.com ... Enjoy!! :)

even more pics!
















Is it me or does this sign look vulgar? ;p














Flute-fairy fountain!


royal guard pics...

















Tourists harrassing a member of the royal guard...
I think she was asking for his number... No kidding!
Look at her hand!









The guard gets confronted for giving his number to the girl... Haha... No la, this is a pic of a different guard, updating some stuff to his buds...

some pics i took today...




















A barbie on stilts trying to pass off as a Chinese opera performer...




















Extreme affection or extreme loss?

the happy-sad day...
















'Rubber Chicken' - A restaurant in town... :)

Sunday, 20th August 2006 – 7:55pm Oslo time

I just got back from the city centre and I had so much fun!! Thanks Nurul for ‘forcing’ me to go to the palace! :) I was actually feeling a bit frustrated; firstly at NUS for allowing the email served to be so @#$%-ed up! I could not access my inbox and I really, REALLY need to send emails to some of my professors! Grrr… And also frustrated at someone… Azmi would know the story… Sigh…

So I got my camera and hopped on the train to the city centre… Like any other Sunday, many things were going on, and many people were around… I first went to the palace and took quite a few shots… Shots of the royal guard and some of the statues there… Then it was lots of aimless wandering and walking around, getting shots which I felt were interesting and I also took note of the interesting and FREE places I could go to another day…

Then I headed to ‘Aker brygge’, the harbour near Nationaltheater… As expected, they had some kind of carnival going on… As I went closer to the carnival, I became happier cos I smelt a lot of cooking going on… It turned out to be a Pakistani festival of some sort!! I was like so happy!! It meant they were serving Indian food!! Halal Indian food!! I tell you, I was grinning from ear-to-ear when I saw the stalls selling Tandoori, Naan, Kebabs and Briyani!! *squeal* Good ‘ol Briyani!! Since it was a little too early for dinner, I went around snapping more photos around the area… Of course, I was beaming as I did this… So exciting!! Briyani! Hee!

Finally, the moment came for to buy dinner… I surveyed the whole food-stall area like three times and carefully weighed out my options… Then I made my choice and bought a plate of Briyani with lamb curry!! It was so damn bloody good that I nearly peed in my pants as I disgustingly gobbled up the whole plate in two minutes flat… *sigh* It was so heavenly… If it had been ten times cheaper (I paid S$12.50 for it), I would have bought at least three plates… Haha… I’m such a pig… ;p

After dinner, I decided to head on home… Happy like crazy la… It feels so damn good to get a taste of home when you’re away from home… So people in Singapore, appreciate the lovely and CHEAP food you get over there!

laundry virgin no more...

Sunday, August 20, 2006 – 1:42pm Oslo time

Ok, I’ve finally done my laundry!! Laundry, laundry, laundry!! I am NOT a total laundry virgin, in case you’re wondering… I went through NS and did my own washing ok? I was just a Norwegian laundry virgin… And what an accomplishment it was, to lose my virginity today! My cherry got popped! Hehe… Close friends of mine would understand the melodrama you’re reading right now… I absolutely DETEST doing my laundry, especially the ironing part…

Anyways, the whole experience was a wee bit frustrating cos every damn instruction was written in Norwegian! Thank goodness another girl was around while I was trying to load the machine… She taught me how to do it… She even gave me some of her detergent cos silly me forgot to bring it along… Hehe...

Then came the annoying part… While waiting for my clothes to be washed, I went to collect my mail and went to my room to clear up some stuff… So after about 40 minutes or so, I came to back to see if it was done… It was a two-minute wait and after that, I loaded up my stuff into the dryer… This time, there was no one around to help!! So I just anyhow hentam put it to number 6 and waited… It was done quite quickly and I was quite happy until I opened the damn thing… All my clothes were still WET!! I was, needless to say, bloody annoyed… This time, there was another guy around who fortunately understood Norwegian and he explained to me what the different numbers were all about. Turned out I should have set it to number one instead! Damn! Waste money sia…

So it was done and I brought up my nice-smelling, warm and fluffy laundry… I then proceeded to fold them and realised that the waistbands of my undies were still a bit damp… Sian… So I proceeded to just la them out on my window sill… Just let a bit of the wonderful sun get to them and hopefully dry them soon…

It’s a very nice and warm day today, so I think I’m gonna head for a bit and take some pictures or something... Especially since you hardly use the word ‘warm’ to describe Norway… Must make take full advantage of the good weather…

Saturday, August 19, 2006

celebrating the people i love...
















Back row: Me, Fidah, Hajar Front: Reza, Jamal
Saturday, 19th August 2006 - 6:16pm Oslo time

Ok, so I spent the last seven hours or so doing absolutely nothing else but chatting on MSN and eating! Hehe... But I did cook some dinner and well, as I ate I realised how all the friends I have been chatting to have helped to make me feel so much better, especially since the weather was so bad and depressing... It rained for HOURS la! And hence, my laundry is not done... Hehe, not that it's a bad thing... Hee... I promise to do it tomorrow la, if it doesn't rain...

Anyways, I would like to thank the following people who have made my temporary move to Oslo a more tolerable one:
-My wonderful parents and my extremely great siblings: Aisha, Rafidah, Rasyidah, Syafiq
-My friends (in random order):
  • Aidil (for the lovely SMSes!)
  • Hajar (whom I'm chatting with now!)
  • Christine and Hong Lay (for the exchange survival kit)
  • Nurul (for her encouraging words)
  • Yatee (for trying to help me with my blog setup)
  • Azmi (for all the technical backup)
  • Reza (for all the funny emails and for the Scandinavian accent)
  • Aunty Evelyn (for all the prayers)
  • Mahmood (for so sweetly and tirelessly helping me to settle in!)
  • Farida (for making me realise travel plans MUST be made early)
  • Alan (for making me laugh with his jokes and cheerleader impersonations)
  • Jamal (for taking care of my 'anak' while I'm gone)
  • Afidah (for being Jamal's girlfriend! hah!)
  • Mark (for 'accompanying' me on MSN till really late last night)
  • Yang Hao (for making me feel important)
  • Zhichao (for 'special' support... heh...)

Thanks guys! I love you and appreciate you all! :)


saturday morning chills...

Saturday, 19 August 2006 – 10:35am Oslo time

It’s Saturday morning and it’s so cold!! Ok, not *THAT* cold, but cold enough… It’s raining pretty heavily now… Which is good cos it means that the bees won’t come through my window and annoy the living daylights out of me! I swear, the bees here are like the flies in Singapore (the flies here are big, fat, lazy, slow and easy to kill i.e. stupid, but never mind)! Bees are everywhere and they bother you no matter what you’re doing… Be you sitting innocently at your desk doing work, cooking your dinner, waiting for the train, trying to pee… It goes on la… Stupid blond bees…

Anyways, it’s also good that it’s raining cos it means I have a valid excuse not to do laundry! Haha… Which is lame cos I WILL have to do my laundry sooner or later, unless I manage to teleport my maid over for the day and get her to do it for me… But until that happens, I’ll just have to do it myself… Bummer…

I have included some of my the shots I took while I was out in the park the other day… We have here a gung-ho-looking man-person… God knows what his name is and what he did, but his statue looks nice enough… And then we have the Nationaltheater! From what I’ve seen and heard, I think it’s the Norwegian version of Singapore’s Esplanade… I will try to make a trip over there again and see if there’re interesting things to see inside the building…





Reza commented that I don’t have enough pictures of the architecture posted up… I’m working on it la! Hehe… Raining, how to go take pictures? And when there's no sun, my energy levels are supposed to be low, which reminds me of a very interesting encounter I had with one of the International Students' coordinator at my Uni the other day... She was welcoming me, saying that I am only the second Singaporean to have come to their Uni... And then she added an interesting information nugget: The first Singaporean there left before the term ended because she suffered from depression! Freaky eh? My coordinator added that this girl flew in in January when it was always dark, cold and gloomy... And she says it's easy for people in Norway to get depressed during winter... Poor fellow Singaporean girl... Well, now that I have the internet and that it's still summer, I don't think I will end up too depressed... Prayers for me ya?

Oh, and she also said another thing to me: darker-skinned people like myself (I swear I could imagine her saying the N-word!) should eat fish oil while in Norway! Fish oil? Well, she explained that darker-skinned people are less efficient at processing Vitamin D from the sun's rays and hence we need to consume it orally, especially since we'll be getting less of the sun as the days go by... Sounds weird, but if I have spare change, I shall go and buy myself some fish oil! Woo hoo! But also vouched that some Norwegians actually consume fish oil all year round... And then she went on to advice me about proper skin moisturisation... Which wasn't necessary cos ever since I arrived, I've been moisturising myself like mad! Like more than I ever had my entire life! It's THAT dry over here... Oh well...

Anyways, yes, I will go out to explore and take more pictures of the scenery, the streets, the statues (which are everywhere) and the people!! Meanwhile, enjoy what I have… :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

some interesting things in the land of life-sized barbies and kens...

















1. Some of them have a fascination with the word "penis". (refer to pic above)
2. Every toilet cubicle is equipped with a toilet brush, including *all* public toilets. (see pic above)
3. All vehicles on the roads have to have their lights on, regardless of how bright it is.
4. Entry to a public toilet is kr10 or S$2.50.
5. Some of them are so bored of being blond, they dye their hair black.

more of moi room....




Ok, here's my cupboard and that's the lovely view that I get from my absolutely fabulous 9th floor apartment!

my room!! part 2...





Ok, that's my messy desk and that's my not-so-comfy bed... More pictures on my wall! Look for your face! :)

the evil barbies of norway...

Friday, 18 August 2006 – 4:06pm Oslo time

I got internet! Woo hoo! Ok, very excited already la… I got yesterday and I was like, so damn happy! Hee hee… Anyways, I have registered for my classes… It was quite a stressful process cos I had to chase around some people to help me with registration… And some of them like to go on power trips… Like they know you need them and so they make you beg for it la… Bloody annoying… And they like to keep you waiting! Grr..

Anyways, I was super annoyed this morning… But before that, another scary train story… “Kontrollers” were on the loose in my train this morning… They caught one girl who was also an international student… But the woman who booked her was less merciful… She wrote a ticket… Then suddenly a man like stepped in and spoke for the victim-to-be… This was followed by a face-off between evil kontroller woman and bald protector-man… Evil kontroller woman finally relented and tore up the ticket! Triumph for the bald man!

Ok, so I was on the way to the police station to get my residence permit sorted out… I got off at the central train station and walked around trying to find it… I asked at least five people before I finally got there… The central area is just so confusing la… Anyways, it turns out that there are two police stations and I went to the wrong one! Grr… So I walked over to the right one with the help of a hand-drawn map… And saw a queue which stretched around the block… Sigh, another queue… Why am I not Singaporean enough to enjoy queueing?

So I queued for 2 ½ hours… I went to the counter and produced the necessary documents… The girl processed the application and then she suddenly asks me to take a seat, saying that there’s a discrepancy somewhere… Ten minutes later, she calls me again and broke the totally annoyingly heart-wrenching news: there was a screw-up and I will have to come back later next week to get it done… I didn’t know if I wanted to scream or just bang my head against the glass panel… I didn’t do either cos there was a scary-looking security guard nearby… Bo pian, just went out lor…

Since I was in the city centre, I decided to walk around a bit before heading to school for lunch… I didn’t actually know where I was heading but I ended up at the royal palace! Hee hee… Which was cool… Cos I got to see the royal guard doing their marching thingy and lovely, lovely flowers… But uncool cos I forgot to bring my camera! Haha… So I stopped walking around and headed to school…

Lunch was a bit too bland for comfort but they actually served rice!! My first time eating rice after so long… hehe…

And yeah, now it’s time for a nap!

part 4...

ok, something wrong with my server, so I can't upload more pictures... So here's another entry:

Wednesday, 16th August 2006 - 7:48pm Oslo time

Ok, so I’m only two days behind now… Not much backlog… J So I had my first day of school on Monday… Well, kinda la… I just had to go to the international students’ reception to collect this information package thingy which had all the info that us newbies needed… It was pretty helpful, I found out how to get some of my money out and also more info on things like how to get a part-time job and stuff… And it also gave me false hopes!! Damn false hopes! *sob*

We were given student usernames and passwords and I thought, this will be my chance to finally get internet!! So I like rushed back after having my lunch and tried to log on from my room… But cannot!! So I called the support hotline and this guy who sounded like Reza when he puts on the Scandinavian accent answered… He was nice la, but then he pointed out that I needed to register with the reception desk before I could get my access activated… So I went downstairs la, and Gerrit-lookalike was there… And Gerrit-lookalike broke the bad news to me: my user account will not be valid until I finish registering for all my courses!! *scream* I think I actually gave him a super “I’m-in-so-much-pain-I’m-gonna-die” look before I went back to my room to mope… Very upsetting leh! To make things worse, it started raining and temperatures dropped…

Well, yesterday was better I guess… I woke up a bit early to make a trip to Domus Athletica, the sports centre where the accounting office was also situated in… I then got a check to draw out 15 thousand kroner!! Woo hoo!! But that’s like only 3k plus sing dollars la… Oh, and then the scary thing happened: I was at the train station and was buying a ticket to make a trip to the bank when the train came… In my rush to get on the train, I forgot to collect my ticket from the machine… Then while I was on board, this lady approached me and flashed a pass with the word “Kontroller” on it and she asked for my ticket… I gave her a sheepish smile and told her that I didn’t have it with me… Then she said, “You have two options: either pay me 750 now or I write you a ticket and you pay 900,” My jaw dropped so hard I created a dent on the floor of the carriage… And I haven’t even collected my money lor!! I told her I didn’t have the money and asked that she write me a ticket… She asked for my ID and I gave her my passport… Then things got complicated… Hehe… Since I am not Norwegian, I do not have a personal number and hence am pretty undetectable and ‘unfine-able’… So she got me to get off the train to clarify matters…

She checked my passport to see when I arrived… I told her why I was without a ticket and gave her that “I’m-too-damn-poor-and-pathetic-to-get-fined” look and I guess she relented… She made a last ditch attempt by asking if I had money and I said no la, which was true cos I only had a hundred plus kroner with me at that time… Of course, I didn’t tell her that I had 15k in the form of a cheque… ;p She then proceeded to lecture me on the importance of having the ticket on you while you were onboard and how important it is to know how to use the machines and blah, blah… She then told me to be careful and let me off… Phew! Less than a week and almost in trouble with the law…

We also had the welcome ceremony for international students… It was nice and simple, with choir performances… They even have a student hymn (school song)!! Coolness… So after the ceremony we had an orientation thingy with what they call ‘buddy groups’… I was in a group with a whole bunch of other international students… But I was the only Asian… Apparently they grouped us according to our faculties and so my fellow group mates were also doing humanities…

I interacted most with this Norwegian-American girl, Lee and Stina, the Danish girl… It was mostly interaction about our home countries, our travel experiences, the thigns we plan to study, etc…

So then orientation was done and I went to the library to use the internet; sweet precious internet… I replied to some emails and proceeded to check out the possible courses I could register for… The list available was so short la! None of the courses I was supposed to sign for was in the list and hence I could not register for anything and hence, no internet in my room!! *sob*

I took down a list of possible modules I could take up based on whether they had ‘twins’ in NUS and then I went on home with a heavy heart…

As dinner time approached, I went to the kitchen to cook some Maggi with eggs… Then one of my floormates came by… I forgot to ask for her name but we talked quite a bit while I was eating… It was cool to finally be able to meet someone who lived in the same section as I do… Then as I was doing my dishes, I met another ‘floorie’… Her name’s Katrina and she’s from Norway… It was nice to finally be able to see people you’ve only heard banging doors and washing plates…

Today was another pretty busy day… I went to school in the morning for an information meeting for international students… The meeting was really helpful cos many, many questions were answered… Then I went to get lunch and met up with the coordinator for E Lang modules… He says he will help me with the registration as soon as he receives a copy of my transcript… Let’s hope it pulls through by tomorrow cos I need to be registered by then!!

Then I went to the bank to open an account, and I went to the bookstore to get a calling card… But the Chinese lady there told me not to and her colleague advised me to head to Grønland to get cheap calling cards… So I took the train there and went to the Sri Lankan shop to get a card… 85kroner for 860 minutes of talktime to Singapore… Quite worth it la…

There’s a big soccer match going on at the stadium right now… I think between Norway and Brazil… Pretty cool huh? Oh, I live near the stadium, in case I forgot to mention it… Coolness, I’m totally up-to-date for once… No backlog! Hurrah! Now I really admire all those bloggers who somehow manage to regularly update their blogs… Either they have very good discipline or they have no life! Haha! Kidding la… Ok, it’s almost 10pm now… Time for a shower then off to bed!!

more pics of my room...



I have no idea why I can't add anymore pictures to this entry... But here's my bookshelf where I put my toiletries... Hehe... And some pics of friends up there as well... Can you see you? ;p

some pictures of my room...





















Look! This innocent-looking cupboard door is hiding a wash basin! *gasp*

part 3...

Tuesday, 15th August 2006 – 7:45pm Oslo time

Ok, I’ve just realised that I’m really, really damn bad at updating stuff, so I better do a summarised version of events before I hit a really bad backlog.

So, after my first night, I had my first morning… Haha… Ok, so I went to the reception office to get my permanent room… The receptionist reminded me of Gerrit somehow… Anyways, he asked if I wanted to stay in my present room… I actually didn’t mind la, but the room had no internet access, so I opted to move out… Gerrit-lookalike proceeded to hand to me three different keys to three different rooms and told me to check them out and choose the one I like… This is the fun part la, like shopping for house like that… Heh… So I went to the first one which was at the same building as the reception office… It scored points cos it had lift access and when I went in and checked things out, it turned out that one of the innocent-looking cupboard doors actually hid a sink inside! I nearly squealed with excitement! A sink in my room? That was so way cool! Haha… But the same room got penalised for having a not so clean kitchen area, toilet cubicles with spoilt locks and no curtains!!

Then it was off to the second room… This room totally sucked… It was like on top of the damn slope… I shuddered when I started imagining the amount of pain I would feel dragging my bags up that stupid slope… And Mahmood-less too… The only saving grace for that particular room was that it was newer, it had nice curtains and the mattress looked nicer… The kitchen was very dirty and the toilets were just so-so… I knew this room was definitely out…

Then I came to the third room… It was upslope as well, but not as bad the second one… I really like this one cos it looked really well-maintained… The room was very clean, nice curtains; everything looked really nice and new… Plus, the kitchen was soooooo neat and clean! I actually smiled when I stepped in… Then I actually bumped into a potential floormate who briskly introduced herself… I told her that I wasn’t sure if I was gonna move in…

So, I checked out all three candidates and subsequently weighed out the pros and cons… Some of the factors I was considering included: moving my luggage in, the cleanliness of the kitchen/toilet, proximity to school and availability of a SINK!! Hehe… So, very obvious which one was my choice la…

I then went to meet Gerrit-lookalike again and told him my choice… He then took out a contract which he got me to sign… Here’s the funny part: apparently when you sign your name, you have to spell it out whole… So in addition to my usual squiggle, I had to also provide a handwritten version of my name next to it…. Hence, my Norwegian signature was born… I was to use it for all other official documents as well…

I then went on to my temp room to pack all my crap… I decided that I would make two trips to my room in order to avoid looking stupid by hopelessly lugging around my bags while balancing the spare mattress I was given the previous night…

Then I moved in lor! It was soooo tiring: unpacking all my stuff… And it took me quite a while to get everything sorted out… But I finally did it! And I put up some pictures to make it more cosy… [Side note: the pillow I brought along is way tooo small! So uncomfy! *sob*]

Yeah, so I moved in and unpacked… And then, I decided to take a walk and figure out how to get to school… So I walked and walked and when I felt that I had gone too far, I turned around and walked some more… Guided by the cartoonish-looking map I had in hand, I finally found my university! But it was quite hard la, trying to find the admin building… I managed to find someone to ask for directions and immediately headed for the international students’ office… The ladies were nice to welcome me, but offered no answers to my questions… Well, my questions were: How the @#$% do I get my money? And when the @#$% can I get internet??!! Their response: Come back on the 14th and you shall receive the answer… Bleah… Dead end la…

So I spent the rest of the day moping in my room…

The next morning was equally boring… I nothing much until it was tine to meet Mahmood again… He came up to my new room to show me the kiblat… I showed him some of the pictures I had stuck to my walls… Then we went to school together… Mahmood gave me a comprehensive tour of the school… He showed me where the prayer room was, and where I could get halal food… And he showed me the library and where I could get free internet… Ooooh, intenet, my precious internet… I had been going on for so long without thee…

Ok, ok, back to the story… Mahmood then took me to the mosque where we were gonna do our Friday prayers… It was situated in an area where there were many enclaves of international citizens… Pakistanis, Turkish, Indian, Greek and many others… It was a place reminiscent of Little India in good ol’ SG…

After prayers, Mahmood treated me to lunch at this place called Dixy Chicken… It’s one of those rare halal eating places… It was somewhat like KFC and I tell you, it was so nice to be able to eat chicken fried like that… I think I gobbled my food… Hee…

Then, Mahmood had to meet up with two Afghan men to discuss some stuff… One of the men was very angry but in a polite way… Haha… But he wasn’t angry at me la… Just angry at many things and it was very cute when he was trying to politely express the anger and frustration in halting English… Oh well…

I then went to get an electric kettle and then Mahmood saw me to the train station before he went back to the meeting… I took the chance to do some exploring by myself… So I dropped off at the central station and got out to do some walking around… It was nice la, I managed to find some really nice buildings with lovely architecture and some places of interest… I came across this old graveyard where the gravestones were so elaborate and intricate…. I just wished I had my camera then… So I went on walking till my right leg started to ache… So I hopped on the train and headed on home…

The next two days were pretty hellish… No money, nothing to do… And worse, NO INTERNET!! You know how they always say that you never know how much you depend on something until it gets taken away from you? Well, it’s so bleeding freaking true!! So damn true!! *sob* I was bored out of my brains… Both days I cooked my lunch and dinner and did some exploring… It was more happening la… On Saturday, I brought my camera and got some nice shots… They also had things going on at the pier on Sunday… Some carnival and some roadshow or something… I did more exploring and found a shop which sold the typical tourist souvenir stuff like fridge magnets, keychains, t-shirts, the works… But it’s soooo bloody expensive, like everything else in Oslo… One fridge magnet is 39kroner, which means it’s S$10!! Crazy right?!! So, if you don’t get any souvenir from me, sorry hor…

Monday finally came and I was so excited! First day at school!

part 2...

Monday, 14th August 2006 – 9:30am Oslo time

Then after 12 hours of uncomfortable sleeping positions, I landed at the Amsterdam airport… It looked like any other airport… Which was quite a relieve, but it took me quite awhile to figure out where to get the information about my next flight… It’s unfair la, cos my flight had 3 names, so it’s like I had to keep waiting for the names on the info-board to ‘rotate’ before I could figure out what time my flight was to depart… Aiyah, never mind…

Anyways, I was up for a two-hour transit at Amsterdam before jetting off to Oslo… I was still full, so I decided not to look for food… I walked around here and there… The BOSS outlet was having a sale! But I didn’t look cos I didn’t have that much money on hand…

Then it was off to catch the plane to Oslo!! It was really weird that I had to go through the immigration checkpoint at Amsterdam cos I don’t think I ever really was in the Netherlands… I was there for like only two hours and they still wanna stamp my passport and check my body for illegal items… Oh well… So yeah, I had to take a bus which drove me to my plane and it was off to Oslo!

After I got off the plane, my right foot started to ache quite badly… I realised that it was swollen too… Ah, the pleasure of water retention… So I limped my way to the baggage carousel and waited for my supposedly distinct and outstanding orange bags to make an appearance… Whilst waiting, I called my family to tell update them on my whereabouts… While talking to my sis, Mahmood called… Mahmood is this man whom my sister found through the University’s Muslims’ Society website… He offered to give me directions and when he called, he offered to pick me up from the Oslo Central train station…

So, I made arrangements to meet him and carried on talking to my sister… Then I limped out to the checkpoints and started looking for a place where I could get my passport stamped… Apparently, they didn’t have that for arriving visitors! So I just pushed my bags out and went to buy the train tickets which would get me to the city centre. The lady at the counter was nice; she asked if I was a student and got me tickets which were half-priced! Coolness!

So I lugged my bags and boarded the train to the city! When I arrived, I called Mahmood to inform him of my arrival… I told him where I was and he said he would come over to look for me… So I waited and waited and then he called to ask where I was… I told him I was outside 7-eleven where there was also a Narvesen and ARK Pocket nearby… These are the names of a convenience store and a bookshop respectively… He then told me: “I’m standing right outside ARK Pocket.” So I looked at ARK Pocket and saw no one who looked “Mahmood-ish”… Then I stood outside ARK Pocket, so why wasn’t he there? It was so bizarre, I swear…

He kept calling to tell me where he was and I kept telling him where I was, and it seemed that we were both at the same place…. But why couldn’t we see each other? Could this be my ‘Lakehouse’ moment? Like we’re both at the same place but still separated by our respective timezones? Or was I just at the wrong station? So Mahmood called me for the tenth time, and this time, I told him that there was also a Hertz nearby… And suddenly, TING! TING! TING!! He knew where I was! Hurrah! Apparently, the poor man had been waiting for me upstairs!! And guess what you could also find upstairs?? That’s right, 7-eleven. Narvesen and ARK Pocket! Amazing la… Having the same combination of stores in the same order in the same building, only separated by one floor… Norway has already started to reveal its wonders to me…

So yeah, he went downstairs and we finally met… He brought me up to have dinner at Burger King (which wasn’t really necessary cos I was stuffed full on the plane from Amsterdam). Then we headed off to the student residences… As we journeyed, Mahmood explained to me bits and pieces about the transportation system in Oslo… He also told me about himself and asked about my parents… He didn’t seem to understand when I told him of my blood mix… Oh well…

So we arrived at the train station and we lugged my bags towards the student village… I tell you, it was HELL!! Pure, unadulterated *HELL*! Both of us had to drag my suitcases up a long and annoying slope… I tell you, after 16 hours of travelling and a swollen foot, going up that slope with my huge bag was no joke… We finally arrive at the reception and guess what? I was CLOSED!! Bloody closed! I was so exasperated I almost cried… Where was I gonna sleep? On the streets? Or worse, drag my bags all the way downslope again and maybe crash at Mahmood’s place which was a good 3-4 train stations away? I wanted to die…

But then salvation came; complete with blonde hair… As we arrived 20 minutes after closing, there was a straggler in a nearby office in the form of a nice and sweet lady who was on the phone still… Mahmood motioned at her and she after she was done, she came out of the office and he explained everything to her… She then tried to call the student help hotline but there was something seriously wrong with the line and she gave up… So, out of her goodwill, she got me keys to a room and took my passport in return… I was to stay in that room for the night and when the morning came, I can check in as soon as the office opened! Thank God!!

The nice lady recounted her experience not too many years ago when she was an exchange student in Barcelona herself… She had arrived on a Saturday not knowing that the student village reception would be closed as well… She told me she had to spend a weekend out in the wilderness and shuddered as she recalled how ‘not fun’ it was…

So, thanks to her and yay for me!

Mahmood and I then proceeded to drag my bags to my room for the night… We then made plans to meet on Friday and he subsequently left… It was then my first night in Oslo…

It was kinda cold that night, at least for me it was… But everything went well…

first few days in oslo - part 1...

Saturday, 12th August 2006 – 10:39am Oslo time

It’s my fourth day in Oslo and I still feel kinda lost… I think it’s because soooo many things have not yet been settled! And I still feel kinda unsettled… Like I have a great room and all, but I haven’t made any real friends around here, with the exception of Mahmood… Mahmood who? [not my dad!] Ok, let’s do a recap from day one…

The first thing that pissed me off about this whole trip was that my stuuupid flight got delayed! Can you believe that? I was supposed to jet off at 10:55pm [Sg time] but it got pushed back to 3:30am the next day! So, instead of having a whole entourage of friends and relatives to see me off at the airport, it was just my immediate family members… The farewell wasn’t very dramatic or particularly emotional… I guess we were all too sleepy..

Anyways, I got on the stupid plane and I realised that I was onboard an old aircraft… A damn bloody *OLD* aircraft!! The seats were very close together, thus disallowing my fabulously long legs to stretch out properly… And they had no personal LCD screens!! It was like taking some lousy coach to Terengganu or something… There’s a tiny TV hanging overhead on the aisle and everyone’s gotta watch the same thing… Which sucked cos the first movie they played was ‘Over the Hedge’, which I’ve already watched… But it still made me laugh la, thankfully… Oh, oh! One more point to add: the sound system *SUCKED*! I thought there was something wrong with my headset cos the sound alternated between being super loud and super soft… But after awhile, I realised my neighbour was experiencing the same problem too…

My neighbour was a nice New Zealander named Iris who worked as a landscape designer… Pretty cool huh? She was fun to chat with & if the delay sucked for me, it was worse for her cos she took the plane all the way from NZ to SG only to find out that here 3 ½-hour transit at Changi Airport grew to a 8 ½ whopper…

We had two meals on the plane… Dinner [which sucked!] and breakfast, which was nasi goring, fried egg and some local fruits… They gave us some ice-cream in between these two meals… Which was nice…

announcing the arrival of...

ME ME ME!! Ok, ok, so I've finally relented and have decided to start a blog... But I think only during these 5 months in Norway cos I wanna get over the hassle of emailing a million people the same thing or customising those emails accordingly... You get what I'm trying to say! I just managed to get internet! Whoppee!! But I have been writing during my spare time since my arrival here (and there was quite a lot of free time then)... So yeapz, I'll just cut and paste those entries... Hope they don't bore you! :)