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There · is · a · kind · of · happiness · and · wonder · that · makes · you · serious. · -C.S. · Lewis

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I have been wondering for the longest time if I am alright. Alright as in if I am okay, you know, like a normal person. And I don't think I am. Why? Because

(a) I enjoy having supper till 2, 3 or even 6am.

(b) I don't have a routine, and I don't think I like routines very much. 

(c) I don't like to wake up before 9am. Or maybe any time before 10am.

(d) I either do four or five readings in a row, or don't do them at all. 

(e) I like cooking after midnight. 'Cos that's when no one's in the kitchen.

It seems like I'm very secondary school-ish. You know what I mean? I enjoy camps, and I like having late nights. It's not like I am up drinking, dancing, partying (which may sound a bit sad/boring to some); I guess I really, really enjoy the peace and stillness of night time, which is unparalleled to any time of the day. Maybe I am just not very sociable. Even if I am tired, I just want to stay up to do something- cook, read, watch TV online, anything. I have been thinking about how I am going to wake up to teach in school at 7am in the morning till i-don't-know-what time. But, I guess we all manage somehow. And I want to love to teach. Speaking of online TV, I am officially hooked onto Grey's Anatomy at alluc.org http://www.alluc.org/alluc/. It's pretty amazing, but try not to spend too much time there. 

Okay, so I am kinda strange. Wells, this entry is for a friend who reminded me that my blog is two weeks old today. Haha. I am well here :) Also, a note to my Monday VCF CG-- Thanks so much for the letters and postcards! *hugs Evan, Pearlyn, Rachel, Dean, Shaun, and every one in Monday CG*

I am so loved. :)

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IT IS 2:30 A.M.

And why am I blogging at 2:30a.m.?

I was trying to rush the readings for the Anthropology of Buddhism seminar tomorrow at 1215pm.

UNTIL I saw this from the course website.... 

26.02: Important message!


Dear students,


Due to illness, the lecture on Tuesday, February 27th is cancelled. The lecture will be rescheduled and the teaching plan updated shortly.


We are very sorry for the inconvenience!


It's the THIRD time he's cancelling lecture. 

That means I can spend the entire day on my Industrialization of Europe essay and not have to finish Buddhism readings till next week.....


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pal: U're ok rite? i mean your sledding thing... take care ya... try not to do stupid things..
pal: at least can type about your sledding.. means shld be not too bad la hor... anyway tc ya


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I feel like a twenty-year-old (ok, maybe twenty-one) trapped in a eighty-year-old body. My neck feels like it's out of position. I think I might have sprained it when I fell off the cliff while sledding yesterday. Alright, maybe not a cliff, but it was a VERY steep slope. But my two friends, Qiao Mei and Andeline, fell off a cliff. They almost  flung their bodies against trees. Qiao Mei managed to stop just right in front of one.

Sledding is fun, but it is highly dangerous. All we did was to pay 80 kroners (S$20) for a one-person sledge and 100 kroners (S$25) for a two-person sledge. There were no instructions given to us on how we should go down the slope, which was icy, slippery, full of twists and turns, and there were only a couple of barriers throughout the long downhill slope. We should have gone earlier in the day where fewer people have sledded; there would have been more snow instead of ice. We found out later from a passer-by that we are to turn our bodies in the opposite direction of where we want to go. Imagine going downhill really fast and whenever you try to use your boots to slow you down, you get a sudden assault of ice spraying from your boots towards your face and finally into your eyes, till you can't see anything; you're just waiting for the moment where you'll be flung out of the pathway, out of the sledge, and you are praying really hard that the 6kg metal sledge will not fall on top of you. You are momentarily flying in the air and the next thing you know, you are covered in snow. Your left mitten is missing and you tuck both hands into your right mitten for warmth. At this point, some people may have many thoughts rushing at them like wild animals.
God, please don't let the sledge land on me. Let it land somewhere else. Please, please. My hands are so cold! Do you remember your name? Yes, my name is Hui Min. What is your surname? It is Low. Are you fine? Yes, I think I am still alive, thank you.. Oh, what is this pain I feel in my legs? My back hurts and I can't turn my head too much. I can't feel my toes. I want hot chocolate. I want to go home. Am I really still alive? There's a warm feel coming from my hands, so yes, I think I am still alive. It was such a surreal experience. I felt like I came close to death without knowing how I died. Phew.

Pictures, but not too many! :)

Frognerseteren's "famous apple cake"! hot chocolate..Qiao Mei and I
Qiao Mei and Andeline
happy but scared stiff!

I have this huge blue-black mark on my right leg from skiing on Tuesday, and I bumped it again while sledding. I felt immense pain when I rubbed it slightly, and it was so bad that I had to take Panadol to sleep. God, please help me.
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Shan Ru and Qiao Mei came over with a pot of homemade herbal chicken soup as I fell ill and I couldn't join them to cook for the Oslo Christian Union meeting.

. warm, delicious homemade herbal chicken soup. yumm..

Thank you, dears. :)
It tasted like my mum's soup and made me think of home.. 

Guess what I'm having now?

Grass Jelly for dessert! I AM trying out the herbal remedies..

Current Mood:
refreshed refreshed
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Warning: Loaads of pictures ahead!

12 February
Dinner at my place :)

dinnerSae-Won and Loching
Sae-Won and Loching againSae-Won and Imaking browniesit is done!
happy :)cutting brownies into bite-sized pieces

13 February
Skiing with Marielle!

skiing by the frozen and snow-covered lake at Sognsvannagain, without the flash function
Marielle :)Marielle againMeagain!a faint glimpse of sunset

14 February
Shopping at Chinese store at Lakkegata Skole with Qiao Mei, Shan Ru and Andeline.

Oslo Christian Union.

Lovely Friendship Day presents from Marielle-- 2 books from the library (a) Norwegian Folk Tales (b) A Time for Trolls--Fairy tales from Norway, and cute Freia Melkesjokolade (Norwegian Freia Milk Chocolate) with 'The Seventh Father of The House" folk tale printed on it :) Thanks, Marielle!

Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters from Dean. Thanks bud!

lovely friendship day gifts

15 February
Dinner at Spanish girls' to celebrate Maru's birthday, 9pm. Sae-Won and I were reaally hungry by then as Asians are 
not used to having dinner so late!

Dinner: Fried Potatoes, Korean Kim-Bahp, Spanish Omelette and Salad with pastaClose-up of Kim-Bahp and Fried Potatoes
Close-up of Spanish OmeletteL-R: Judit from Spain, I, Sae-Won from South Korea, gal from Czech Republic
L-R: Yared, I, Sae-Won, Maru, gal from Czech Rep., Judit

16 February
Met Yunhee to photocopy readings at the library. The compendium, that is the equivalent of the coursepack in NUS, 
costs around 253 to 428 kroners=S$63 to S$107. Treasure your coursepacks people!!

Shan Ru's surprise birthday celebration at Norwegian restaurant! (Pictures to be uploaded when I get them)

Preparation for CNY eve dinner. 

17 February
CNY eve dinner! 
So glad the guys from Trondheim--WaiKei, Melvin and Byron-- came all the way to Oslo to celebrate it with us! It was my first time preparing food for twelve people. The washing alone was back-breaking.. Qiao Mei said we spent 12 hours in the kitchen in total!! I now know how my mum feels during CNY.. I promise to help out in 2008, Mum. :) We told the guys we'll start dinner at 730pm but we really started at about 845pm.. Inaccurate estimation, but we've never prepared food for so many people! Haha. Dinner ended at 12. Qiao Mei and Shan Ru were really sweet. After washing up (which was about 2 am), they wanted to learn how to make sago so I made it at their place while they help me slice potatoes, onions, honeydew and mangoes(again) for dinner on Sunday. Thanks a million, gals. :) I'm glad they told me they really enjoyed the sago. Thank you Mum for the recipe :)

Shan Ru and I preparing for dinnerAndeline, gal with the unique namethe table before dinner startedsoup!Marielle and I (background) Andeline, Jean, Shan Ru L-R: Andeline, Jean, Shan Ru, Julia from AustriaJonathan from Canada. Waikei, Byron and Melvin from Singapore studying in NTNU, Trondheim. Tzu Wei from Taiwan
steamboat!Tzu Wei's Fried Beehoon, Jonathan's Spicy Chicken (which was not spicy!) and Jean's Sweet and Sour Fish.. Yum!Apple Muffin baked by Marielle! Deeeelicious. I made the brownies! (From mixture.. Haha.) And bite-sized honeydews and mangoes for sagoClose-up of brownies
Marielle, who did an excellent job of stirring the chicken and potatoes in a small pot!A classic example of the women cooking and the men lazing around.. But! (a) The three guys came all the way from Trondheim (b) All asked if they could help (c) Jonathan cooked Spicy Chicken (d) The guys bought frozen brownies for us… Thanks guys!
everyone seatedL-R: Byron, Andeline, Melvin, Waikei, Jonathan, Julia, Tzu Wei, I, Marielle, Shan Ru, Jean, Qiao Mei
chatting over the dinner tableLet's eat!
Qiao Mei, Andeline and Shan Ru-- Qiao Mei 's one year my senior in primary school and Andeline's one year my senior in secondary school!Honeydew and mango sago!Andeline shared her CNY goodies from Singapore with us!Table of food

18 February
Lunar New Year dinner party at Sogn

Hua (from China) cookingBeef PattiesHua againHedy, from Hong KongCheck this out!Poster that Cho made of Hua!DinnerSae-WonCheck out what Ema did to Cho!L-R: Cho from South Korea, Hedy from HK, Loching from HK, Sae-Won from South Korea, I, Ema from Lithuania, Hua from China
Hua and Ema dancingLoching pushing Cho towards Hua while he resists..

Surrounding the University of Oslo..
Taken from Forskningsparken T-Bane (train) Station 

Kringsjå Student Residence

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Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeg-heter-grace!

I've just realised that my sister and I took over a thousand(!) pictures when she was here. Flickr only allows me to upload 70+ pictures each month and I can only have three sets. Wells, I'll just have to make do with what I have. Pictures of us in Copenhagen and Berlin coming up next month! 

Red Cross roleplay session 3 February-4February
It was one very meaningful and memorable session. The Maridalen Primary School in the outskirts of Norway was used as a sort of base, but we spent a lot of time outside as well. I wore thick layers of clothing, brought a sleeping bag, shoes and had an extra clothes in case of rain or snow. What I did not bring was an extra pair of socks. It got really cold when snow got into my shoes as we tracked the hills.

For 24 hours we played the role a Somalian refugee seeking asylum status in Norway. We were divided into families, and we stuck together all the time during the game. We went to various locations around the school and went through some of the things a refugee goes through on his or hers way to another country to seek asylum. 

We were told to build a tent to sleep in for the night. Shortly after, we had to leave the tent as militants were coming after us. We alternated between running on the main road and tracking the snow-covered hills by the road, having to duck and cover our faces whenever a vehicle past by.  It was a long journey before we reached the office to process our immigration papers. When we were there, we were brought from one office and to another to process different papers. We were made to 'jump like an angel', 'hit our chests and scream like Tarzan' and went through a body search and had all our belongings searched, sweets and chocolates confiscated. Then, we were told that the militants were going to raid the office and we were on the run once again. When we finally reached the border, our family was told to stand in a line, after which the border patrol guards hurled abuses at us and forced us do push-ups with our backpacks, lie on the floor, jump on the spot and to ‘stand in a sitting position’. I was in charge of keeping the passports and every time I picked up the passports after doing twenty push-ups, I would be picked on to do another punishment again because my actions caught their attention. It was wearing me out physically and mentally. We were allowed to pass after what seemed like eternity and eventually reached the Red Cross camp, where we were relieved to find a safe place to rest. Each one of us were fed with a capful of something which tasted like olive oil, a very sweet tablet and we were delighted to find that our family was allotted a packet of rice. We divided it into eight portions and were SO grateful to have food. Rice had never tasted so good. Each family had a ground sheet and we took out our mats and sleeping bags to lie on. I didn't manage to sleep at all as my feet were really cold. When the temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius, all I could think of was my really wet and cold feet and I cringed whenever there was a slight breeze. We huddled together for about two hours before we were were made to wake up as our enemies were approaching. Once again, we were running. 

The guide who took us to Norway was a gypsy and he had apparently travelled to many places. I thought the most fun part of the trip was playing our roles, making up stories of our background and relations. I was the second wife of Ahmed Dubad, my name Kadra Dubad. I had a son named Dirie. Marielle (Raha) was the first wife with twins and a daughter. It was a good thing that Henrik (Ahmed Dubad) played his role very well—he was a fair person, always making sure that every one was feeling alright and he was always thinking for his ‘family’. It was, like Marielle said, fantastic, because people who didn’t really know one another were coming together to look out for one another, be kind and considerate, joking with one another and encouraging everyone that with every step we take, it is one step closer to our destination. We joked about how Marielle’s ‘twins and daughter', Asians who grew up in Norway, looked like me and my ‘son’, a Norwegian, looked more like Marielle. It gave me a wonderful impression of Norwegians as I don’t normally get to interact with them in class or on the streets for they are kinda famous for being ‘cold'—a bit reserved, or probably just shy and not used to initiating conversations. 

 We found out after the roleplay that we've walked more than 10km around the area. I felt tiredness and hunger but it was also really fun largely because of the company that I had. My body ached for two whole days! We were told that for some people this can be tough, or too much to handle. Because of this they have a "code word" if one feels like s/he don't want to continue the game. We were told that saying the Norwegian word "nødbrems" or "emergency brake" will take us out of the game immediately. I don't think anyone used it, and I believe our team did really well because only two out of the thirty plus participants were granted asylum into Norway and both were from our family. Yay! :))

(my souvenir from the roleplay)
my 'passport'

second and third page

last page

Really thankful for the experience...

5 February

Went to Asian Market 

6 February

Baking session at Marielle’s! :D

ready for the oven!

Freia Dark Chocolate

Jean from NUS

yummy homemade hot chocolate!

straight from the oven


looks heavenly..

a freshly baked, homemade raisin bun.

7 February
Met three girls from NTU at the Oslo Christian Union!

8 February

Dinner with girls from Singapore—Jean, Qiao Mei, Shan Ru and Andeline—at my place. I made chicken with potato, spaghetti and honeydew sago.  Jean said she really enjoyed the chicken. She said her family cooks something like that at home and it tasted just like it. :D

9 February
Daddy says he's gonna send a 5kg-box of CNY goodies!! :D

Spaghetti with Korean spicy sauce at Sae-won’s. Thanks for the wonderful dinner Sae-Won. :) You were great for a first-timer!

Sae-Won cooking spaghetti with special Korean spicy sauce

Loching and I

yummmmy spicy seafood spaghetti!

Hua, looking good with snowboarding equipment!

I am so looking forward to next week! Dinner with Loching and Sae-Won on Monday, skiing with Marielle on Tuesday, Maru's birthday party on Thursday, shopping at Asian market near Munch Musuem on Friday (I wanna buy tang1 yuan2!) and CNY celebration on Saturday and Sunday. Sledding with Sae-Won and friends on the 21st!

I should MUST start on my history essay tomorrow.

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If not for you, I'd have gone to school at 10 in the morning, when my lesson is cancelled.

Thank God for you, sweetheart.

On a side note, one-day week? This is totally unheard-of in NUS. Come to the University of Oslo!

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Thank you all who sent me wonderful emails and left me messages on MSN to ask how I am doing, catch up, pray for me, and to keep me updated. After reading Nian Long's email, I felt I had to get this blog started somehow.. so here it is!

A quick update: My sister and I visited the Eiffel Tower and saw some arches during the six-hour transit in France. Really grateful we got to see all that in such a short time. :) And Norway is seven hours behind Singapore time.

Just got back two weeks ago from a six-day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark and Berlin, Germany, with my sister. It was wonderful. We had a great time walking around on our own and joining the walking tours. It was an exhilarating experience to visit places in the textbooks, and see them come alive. History was becoming a little stale, but, after listening to the guide (who, by the way, is a PhD candidate), it reignited the passion for the subject. It reminded me of why I've chosen to study History. And the fabulous talks with my sister till wee hours of the morning reminded me once again why I have chosen teaching as my career. :)

It's getting colder here in Norway, and it's starting to snow pretty often, quite heavy at times. I am getting used to the cold weather, learning how to cook my meals, how to do the laundry, keep my room clean, figure my way around places and the different buildings in university (everything's written in Norwegian!), where to get cheap food/grocery items, make time for some activities for international students, and so on.

I am taking three modules. I am so grateful to Dr Michael Kelly. He agreed to map three modules in University of Oslo equivalent to three modules at level-2000 and two modules at level-3000 in NUS. Had my first lecture, which was went alright. It is funny how the modules start at different periods. A module started on the 17th, one starts Jan 31 and another only Feb 26. It's so slack I think I'll have problems adjusting to the NUS system when I get back!

Sending my sister off at the airport was one of the hardest things I had to do. I finally know how it feels like for my sister when the time comes for me to leave Perth and go back to Singapore. Thank God for friends. I met up with Jean for dinner (the girl from NUS) and that kept me from being too homesick. And Marielle, the Norwegian girl who went to NUS for exchange, is so sweet. She has been helping me to settle down, brought my sister and I to ski (our first time!), and we have been meeting to attend church service. I am looking forward to Orientation on Wednesday (we will be promoting NUS!), the Red Cross roleplay during which participants are supposed to 'play' refugees (heard that it's really interesting and informative), and check out the Oslo Student Christian Fellowship next week. I have also got to know Sae Won from Korea and Lo Ching, Jess, Cynthia and Hedy from Hong Kong. We have been shopping, walking around and going for the International Coffee Hour every Friday, so all is good. :)

It is amazing how:

*Food has become a non-issue for a foodie (as Dean puts it) like me. It's a blessing to have warm food, even if it's spaghetti for the fourth time in two weeks.

*Marielle and I both read (in December) and liked the Life of Pi. I'm re-reading it again. Brought too few books to Norway :(

*Doing the laundry on my own for the first time can require a bit of time. I had to check if I had brought the washing powder, my laundry card, room keys, and of course not forgetting the bag of clothes to be washed (plus another check to see if the softer fabrics are placed in the protective bags). After that, I have to make two separate trips to take the washed clothes out of the washing machine into the dryer, and, finally, to collect my clothes.

*Winter has confined me to staying indoors. The only sport I do is skipping in my room (I have started today). And a morning run two times a week to catch the train to school (Yes, I only have a two-day week till Feb 26 comes. It will be a three-day week then).

*I took more than an hour to check and re-check my first blog post.


Anyhow, do check out the pictures that I've uploaded! It's at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeg-heter-grace. :)

Sister: I forgot to defrost the chicken! Haha..
Joy: Of course you can borrow my GPS coursepack! You may need to get my sister to help you search for it, if it is not in the cupboard where I usually place my files.. Do you have her hp number?
Faye: Thanks for the link you've sent and for sharing your experience with us. It has encouraged me to do some sharing. I've talked with three friends about my conversion and need prayer to convey my thoughts better :)
Kelly: I have been taking the vitamins!
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