Exams Done and Spring Comes

Yep, as the title suggests, today, as of May 7th I am officially done with my semester at UiO. Well, to be honest I was done May 2nd. But do not fear, a loyal fan of my blog! I will still appease you with some pictures and posts about Norway and maybe other countries now and then, until I go back to Berkeley at least. There is still much to tell about this wonderful country and I am not intending to quit my promotion-campaign-turned-into-a-personal-journal hobby.

spring 3
Birch trees and white flowers, looking so gorgeous in harmony. Spring is here to stay.


I don’t try to claim that everybody is done as early, since most of the people I know have exams well until the second to last week of May. Some poor unfortunate souls have them until mid-June. I can’t help but feel cruel when I happily grin in response to such questions as “when are you done?”, but I still do anyways.

A very cute natural flower bed near Kringsjå Student Housing.


The exams I had were 2 types: in-class 3-hour exams and a take-home exam. Nothing out of ordinary, except for the fact that in 2 of my exams I had to write my long answer exam questions on 3-page carbon paper; that is, when your copies automatically transfer to 2 extra pages that you then have to separate and put in different folders… Basically, a whole new deal of bureaucracy I never witnessed before in exam rooms. Not a fan, but tolerable. You can take one of the copies of your exam paper with you, as well as the exam questions. Probably you could burn them or frame them, depends on the level of stress you experienced before.

The street next to the university but stop is perfectly decorated for sunbathing enthusiasts.


There are also computer exams and longer in-class exams. Yes, longer does mean 6 hours in some cases. I would not imagine a nightmare worse than that but UiO allows food in auditoriums during those extremely long exams. So again, tolerable.

The view from my window now encompasses a green tree! Some things change, but my phone’s awful camera does not (nor do my camera skills).


Grading is apparently very strict here, and they say that “very very few receive As” and that “you need to be exceptional.” Not sure I am in the exceptional very-few bunch, but I have yet to receive all of my grades. Unless you are going to apply for post-grad studies, the chances are that you wouldn’t need a transcript from here anyways. Then all you need to do is pass, which might be a reachable goal.

spring 7
A fun fact: The grass on these tracks is sprinkled with water at night. Norway certainly does not have any issues with drought, but it does have some serious commitment to aesthetics.


Enough about the exams. While I was going back and forth from my single-room student housing and single-person cubicle in the library, somewhere in between the spring knocked some last greyness off trees and covered the whole city with leaves and flowers. Before that happened we did have a few days with snow (while the skies were blue and the sun was shining) and hail (again, with blues skies) and rain showers (blue skies, but sometimes grey). I was impressed.

spring songsvann3
The beautiful Water of Parish (Sognsvann) and its surroundings. Which Parish? I have got no clue. 
spring songsvann
A walk to Sognsvann is great at any time of the day, but the time when the Sun is about to set is my favorite, I think.
spring songsvann 2
Yes. Very nice indeed.
spring songsvann 5
I rock island. And the actual island on the lake behind it, inhabiting many many noisy birds. Yeah, the strip of land right there, if you can tell it apart.


Very cute signs all around town about “sleeping tulips that would awake in spring” came true.


As for me, the weather is always something to complain about–I find above 15ºC (59ºF) too hot.

spring 10
This is not a music festival, unfortunately. A sunny Saturday afternoon everybody in Oslo gets out of their rooms and sits on random hills around town.
spring 9
A very peculiar tree and more people. This one at least is a park. Bustling and swarming with people grilling their pølser (sausages) and eating them with thin, pita-like bread and calling that “hot dogs”. Abomination.




As of now, I am trying to enjoy the weather without complaining, which is a life-lesson for me to learn. I am also trying to figure out my summer plans which are currently travel and work, in that particular order. Which means if I had figured out the travel part, I have yet to figure out the work part to fill up some holes in my budget that would most probably appear.

spring 8
I’m very happy I don’t have pollen allergies.
spring grunelokka
Spring in Grünerløkka, the hip district of the city. In particular, take note of these hip cows advertising real milk chocolate.


Have a very good weekend!

Today’s poem is an excerpt from Jan Erik Vold’s poem called “Elk”. Check out the full poem here (it’s worth giving a read). Poetry International Rotterdam calls him “the poet” of Norway. You might want to give his work a look and decide for yourself.

Jan Erik Vold translated the poem himself.


You may call me an
elk. I am
no elk but I have
the patience

of an
elk – an elk’s goodnaturedness. I kick hard

but seldom.

More about Jan Erik Vold here.