The End Times at NTNU

First thing: yes, I finally have a bed, but much more importantly, World War III broke out on the NTNU campus today.

There has been some issue about my official status here doing independent research as a visiting PhD. In order to rectify the classification problem, I have been on campus negotiating the administrative confusion.

Walking between buildings on campus and thinking about my next step, I was jerked out of my reverie by a sudden ear-piercing, all-enveloping cacophonous air-horn reverberating throughout the sky overhead. You know the horn that was supposed to bring down The Wall in Game of Thrones? This is what it would sound like if god blew on it before he was about to send the Archangel Michael down to battle Satan in the End Times.

Luckily, I have audio. Turn down your speakers. Or turn them up to experience what the apocalypse sounds like.

There were several students calmly strolling through campus at the time, clearly unconcerned with their immortal soul.

When the apocalypse comes it is announced with a trumpet so no one sleeps through it.

When the apocalypse comes it is announced with a trumpet so no one sleeps through it.

First, the good souls get taken up to heaven.

First, the good souls get taken up to heaven.

They leave behind their worldly possessions, because heaven is a nudest colony.

They leave behind their worldly possessions, because heaven is a nudist colony.

They don't have caffeine in heaven, which is a point against its appeal if you ask this heathen.

When you are raptured you cannot bring your coffee or cell phone, which are points against its appeal if you ask this heathen.

Well if my pets can't come I have no interest in going anyway.

Well if my pets can’t come I have no interest in going anyway.

Since no one seemed to be preparing for nuclear war or was raptured up to heaven, I figured I was still safe. At the International House I am informed that twice a year the city tests the emergency warning system. You can tell them it totally works. I peed my pants a little.


I’ll write more about the work I’m doing here in another post (coming soon). In the meantime, you may click the green icon below to donate funds to support my research. Many thanks to everyone who has already donated!

Norway, the First Few Days

Day 0: After almost a year’s worth of preparation, it’s finally here. I squeeze six months of life into two suitcases and fly out of -16ºC Montreal winter weather and hop on a plane to Trondheim, Norway. It’s exciting. I’m exhausted. And I will miss my cats something awful.

Oh and my family too. Of course.

Day 1: Travel time: twelve hours. It’s 3ºC. I arrive at the private housing for students, pick up my key, and lug my fifty-pound suitcases to the third floor. My dorm room is simple. And missing something.


There is no bed. A desk, a chair, a wardrobe, but no bed. Just a giant litter box.

I have not slept in twenty-fours hours and there is no bed.


There is, however, a tiny bathroom.


The administration gives me a small cot for a few days until I buy myself a mattress. I have no pillow or blanket, but I did bring a set of single sheets. I put the flat sheet over the window, the fitted one the cot, stuff the pillow case full of t-shirts, use my long down winter coat as a blanket, and fall into a deep sleep for several hours.

Day 2: I sleep until almost noon, and practically miss the few hours of daylight left here in the Norwegian winter. I have a sore throat and a headache. I also have no food. I lug myself to the grocery store to buy: bananas, tomatoes, an avocado, cheese, cold cuts, bread rolls, coffee, cream, and sugar and it cost me $1362.45.

Not really. But Norway is crazy expensive.

Day 3: I finally meet some flatmates.

The housing is divided into single, double, and small apartment units in buildings on a complex as a big as a city block. My floor is a seven-person “collective” wtith private rooms and bathrooms, and shared living-room/kitchen area.

As I exit my room I see a six-two, blond & blue-eyed, square-jawed twenty-one-ish year old boy-man cooking barefoot in the kitchen. God damn, Norway. Why do all your people look like fucking supermodels?

He didn’t get a bed either. The last guy in my room took his home with him to New York. I’m still 0-1 on the bed front. But the blond-god is pleasant and friendly.

The other flatmates are just as nice. I meet four out of six, get the details of our cleaning duties rotation, and tell them all about my sexy research.

Their English is so good it puts us North Americans to shame. And they keep apologizing for their “poor English.” Just stop it. You are all so far ahead in your education that even your English is better than most native Canadians. I should know, I read their university papers. Some students are excellent, some are lazy, but there’s a good chunk of them that simply were not properly prepared for how to write for university, and are even confused as to the main components and point of an essay. I’ll keep the rants for later posts.

Day 4: I head to the International Students Office to try to fix a registration issue, and have a lovely conversation with the gentleman in charge of the doctoral “free-movers” (as I am classified). He is German, married to a Greek, and went to school in Switzerland. We spoke French. He’s even been to Montreal and spoke fondly of the confusing Quebequois dialect known as joual. Crisse, qu’le monde est p’ti des fois, en?

Mr. German relates an amusing observation on Norwegian culture: “It is fully egalitarian,” he insists. “From Monday to Friday, there is no difference between man and woman. But,” he tilts his head slightly, “when Norwegians drink alcohol on the weekend they allow themselves to flirt.” I do not yet know enough about domestic mating habits to judge the accuracy of his claims. I’ll keep you posted.

On my way home I snap a few shots with the iPhone. As my friend M.H. says, Trondheim is a terribly handsome city.


Snapping a picture of someone snapping a picture.


Along my walking path.


Google maps did not anticipate my route being disrupted.


Typical homes.


A pamphlet in my welcome materials.


About 10:00 am.


NTNU campus.

Downtwon Trondheim from the NTNU campus.

Downtown Trondheim from the NTNU campus.


NTNU girls are so bad-ass.


The light at high noon.

Finally, here’s my makeshift bed. I’d like my mother to know that I have adjustable heating, and am not suffering despite the lack of proper bed and bedding. G’night, Readers. I’ll be dreaming of my IKEA shopping trip tomorrow.


Norway Diaries 1: T minus 24 days

So begins my series of blog posts on my research abroad in Norway. Twenty-four days and counting.

First thing’s first: here’s the link to my GoFundMe campaign to raise money for my trip, or click the many many green icons I have plastered and will continue to plaster around my site in order to help supplement funding. Monies are short, and Norway is expensive. You can also read about my project, including a detailed budget, on my Summary of Research Project page.

Second thing’s second: winter is coming. In a big way. Right from the arctic circle. I have purchased a good down coat and boots that keep me cozy in minus forty degree weather. Fun fact: Farenheit and Celcius match up around minus forty. Consequently, I also got me some Long John’s, and boy are they sexy.


Third and final thing: I have signed up for ice bathing in Trondheim’s fjord along with other lunatic international students. In January. I think it’s meant to be a bonding experience. I also think it’s meant for locals to laugh at the crazy foreigners.

Click pic for short video of loonies

I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I’m still in preparation. Follow my blog (on the left-hand side colomn there’s a button to sign-up) and you’ll receive automatic updates on all my Norway adventures.

Stay warm.