Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A few things that made my 2013 interesting..

TAP, an Important Part of my life in Portugal
Year 2013 had its own ups and downs. But just like 2012, this year too was pretty fine and probably the best year yet. Now time to look into some random things that made me 2013 a unique year. This is mostly an unordered list, except some logical ordering. This is a list of events in the order that appear in my mind at this moment - not in the order of importance.

1. The new year's eve of 2013 itself. 
That was a colourful new year.

2. Finishing touches of 2013. 
Year 2013 had a rushing set of events till the last moment. The year is ending in style. Never had a year end vacation like in 2013 before.

3. Multiple plots and locations. 
I spent the year in Portugal, followed by a summer vacation in Sri Lanka, and back to Europe, but to Sweden. Just returned to Portugal last night. Other short-term locations include Spain, Finland, and Denmark. This made 2013 a year full of travels for me. I got used to the airports, buying tickets online, trying to connect to the airport wifi, booking hotels and hostels.

4. Cruise to Helsinki
It was an exciting experience, although the strong waves once made me feel seasick.

5. Snowy night of the EMDC Winter Event at La Vall de Núria 
The snowy night full of ice. I lurved it. That night was just perfect.

6. Exams and Presentation
All the semester (all 3!) exams were on this year. This made 2013 a year of exams. EMDC required us to do a lot of presentations. Some were fun; some were a bit boring. But we enjoyed them all! I have never done this many presentations in previous years. :D

7. A lovely surprise birthday party by the friends at Bairro Alto. 
It was the best.

8. Hard Rock Cafe, Lisboa
We visited the Hard Rock Cafe quite regularly during the weekends, and enjoyed it.

9. Depressingly dark Stockholm. 
It was winter, the day time shrank and made Stockholm a city of darkness. 

10. Learning some Chinese. 
I also became addicted to Chinese and Romanian music.

11. Nightly walks at Parque das Nações.  
Also, a remarkable night in a cold winter outside Centro Comercial Colombo.

12. Fine restaurants in Lisbon
Buffets at New Wok Chinese restaurant, friendly waiters of Restaurante Destino of Restauradores, and frequent visits to Restaurante Kathmandu of Arroios.
13. Summer in Stockholm
It was really pleasant with a long day time. It was dry and not too hot. I can never forget the beach baths and the forest walks in Farsta.

14. The romantic Porto
Summer in Porto was so special. Rio Douro at Porto - The Sun was pleasantly warm. Yet, Matosinhos beach still had freezing cold water. Lovely memories. I promised myself that I would visit Porto again later.

15. Street food in the food market of Copenhagen
I have never enjoyed the street food before as much as I did this time.

16. Reindeer meat and Glöggi, Scandinavian style. 
Not to forget the elk meat. I have started to love the Scandinavian dinner.

17. Movies at several shopping malls
Campo Pequeno, Centro Comercial Colombo, and Centro Comercial Vasco da gama of Oriente.

18. Playing Chess in Obidos
... while enjoying some quality Ginja.

19. Enjoying the Sun at Setubal. 
The boat was stylish and the Sun was warm. A highlight of the Lisbon Summer trip.

20. Vila Franca de Xira, in Autumn 2013. 
A village full of cobweb and free Internet connection by the river! God bless you whoever installed and left the WiFi open to public.

21. The last few days in Portugal before leaving for Sri Lanka for the summer vacation.   
We were keeping ourselves busy by traveling north and south of Portugal. The water was warm in Lagos, and also I enjoyed the cliffs of Lagos. Still, there was sadness - I had to leave Portugal in a day or two.

22. Barcelona Carnival.
The Sitges Carnival close to Barcelona is surely the craziest!

23. EMDC Summer Event
The walk in the Fejan island in the darkness was unforgettable.

24. Hostel stay in Madrid and Barcelona. 
I have never stayed in hostels, even during my school days. To be specific, sharing a room with random strangers (in Barcelona) was new to me.

25. Cooking in Lisboa. 
I started cooking during the Easter Vacation in Lisboa. It turned out pretty well, and I continued to cook daily in Stockholm, which saved me a considerable amount of money that I used later for my travels in Europe. 

26. Living in a shared room. 
Luckily my room mate and I had so many common qualities. We sleep late. Noise and light do not disturb our sleep - that means, we were able to work while the other one was sleeping. We shared our food - that encouraged us to do new cooking experiments. Since my room mate was a vegetarian, we decided to cook only vegetarian meals. That made me almost a vegetarian for 4 months - I had vegetarian meals except during the rare occurrence of eating outside with friends. I was still healthy. :D I have never lived in a shared room before, as I prefer some privacy and a private space. Just like cooking, this too was a new experience and an achievement of 2013.

27. Kindness showed by random strangers in Lisbon and Stockholm. 
I once asked a route from a stranger in Stockholm - he was unsure himself. He pulled out his smart phone, did a quick search and provided me with a detailed information within a minute. Similarly, another Swedish came all the way to a metro station, while mentioning that he really wish to visit the Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka (also known as Sripada, in Sri Lanka).

28. Interviews.
They were interesting.

29. Internet Communications. 
Living away from home and then from Lisbon, made me use the Internet more to communicate. I wanted to be offline once in a while. However, the distributed nature of my life made my life compulsorily online.

30. Shopping - lots of it. 
Not only for buying stuff - also to have a window shopping - in Lisbon, Porto, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Malmo.

Thanks for reading my list until the end. If you are really interested, you may also read the blog posts on my other years as well. I wish everyone of you a very happy new year 2014. :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Friends and Goodbyes

Dark and cold Copenhagen
I never had to say goodbye to many people in my life before. As long as we are in our motherland, the goodbyes are not that strong. We will meet again someday for sure. But in an international environment, we are not quite sure when we will meet some of our friends again. I made quite good friends in 2012 to whom I had to bid farewell to (and they to me) in 2013. Each year brings me its own set of friends. This year, I made some good friends - from China, India, and all over the world this year.

The end of this year was interesting. Remarkably, I was leaving Stockholm and returning to Lisboa. We just returned from Copenhagen from a short trip, before flying back to Lisboa. This was also my best new year vacation so far! I hope I will have better ones in the future though.

A cruise to Helsinki

In the cruise back to Stockholm
This was my first cruise, from Stockholm to Helsinki using Tallink Silja line (M/S Silja Symphony to Helsinki and M/S Silja Serenade to return, though both are identical cruises and they look the same). The wave was strong as there was a storm. Planned acrobatic activities on the cruise were canceled due to the bad weather during the return trip which was on Christmas day. Shaking cruise made me a bit uncomfortable - but that was a comfortable sleep with the rhythm, once I got onto the bed. :D

I also made a mistake assuming the Helsinki weather will be similar to that of Stockholm, based on the temperature predictions. Helsinki was much wet and windy, which made the weather more unpleasant. Consequently, I was suffering from runny nose during the whole trip. That was also a wet Christmas - not a white Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Application Scheduling in CloudSim

[19/12/2013] Today was the last day at KTH, marking the completion of the semester 3. We did the final project presentations yesterday and today. My presentation slides on my project "Application Scheduling in CloudSim" are given below. I will miss my friends in the coming semester, as I am the only one EMDC guy returning to Lisbon.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Stockholm - Month 4

Scenic beauty of the lake..
[15/12/2013] - Finally we are completing our 4th month in Stockholm tomorrow. Few more days to complete the third semester, when all of us will disperse to different countries from Sweden. This month was interesting, but was dark with very little sun shine. Interestingly it didn't snow much yet here. Just snowed twice. Earlier this week once and today with rain. No evidence of snow remains either. All the snow has melted down. 
At the examination
[12/12/2013] - Today at the examination, the invigilator looked at my Swedish Residence permit with the photo taken just 100 days before, and then looked at me. Then again at the ID, then at me, and then asked me, "Is it really you?" (with a big smile of course). I said, "yes, it is me. Now I look older in the winter". She certainly was not satisfied. She asked from her colleague. He too was kinda confused. Then they decided to trust me. Probably they were just playing with me, because they were smiling. Probably my appearance has indeed changed drastically over the 100 days, away from the motherland of Sri Lanka and the loveland of Portugal. haha.. Nevertheless, that was fun. Blame my laziness for not shaving even past the Movember-deal.

Philosophy of Science 
We have received the results for the Philosophy of Science. An "A" for my essay, "Creation-Science vs. Evolution. An induction based analysis". I am happy about that, as I had done a considerable research on that area for the paper. We had so many presentations. I love student presentations. :D

Lots of Music
I have spent lots of time listening to music, or I often do other things having the music as a background. In the city of darkness, music keeps me alive. ♥ I am listing some of the music I enjoyed most in 2013 below. These songs are pretty old and not really released in 2013. But I happened to listen to them for the first time in 2013. So for me, they are music of 2013. :D I hope you will enjoy these songs, as much as I do.

1. Inna (Romania) - Amazing (video in Praia das Maçãs (The Apples beach), Sintra, Portugal).

2. The Myth (China) - Endless Love. [bilingual song - Chinese and Korean].

3. DaiQing Tana (China) - Qinghai Lake (video in Qinghai Province, China). [bilingual song - Chinese and Mongolian].

Monday, December 2, 2013

Death by PowerPoint - Cantopop

Today we did a presentation showing how not to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for our Scientific Writing and Communications class. As an example, we created a presentation titled "Death by PowerPoint", depicting the improper use of PowerPoint. We discussed Cantopop, Cantonese Popular Music.

We intentionally made the presentation to be a lousy powerpoint presentation to make a point. Although we made this presentation as a joke, we firmly believe that Chinese pop music is the best. :D