At last, I am done at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. This week I turned
in my last project for the semester, an enormous programming
(and also re-submitted a paper that got lost in email, nearly
giving me a failing grade in another course). Amsterdam was a
fantastic experience; I wish I’d had more time to spend in the city
and the Netherlands. We’ll just have to go back some time…

However, taking masters courses at the UvA/ILLC I did also learn so
much more than I expected to. Below are some of the more useful things
I learnt and wrote in my note books, in direct quotation from my

All of these [infinite numbers] have their own personality. Aleph-one
is sort of dull, stubborn; aleph-two is more liberal. Of course,
aleph-zero is countable–a joyful character.

These days, we think of singular ordinals as more friendly objects,
and the regular ordinals are… not so friendly.

You can make enormous leaps in a proof just by saying ‘Similarly,’ and
hoping for the best.

Every initial segment [of a set of numbers] is like made of cheese or

This proof is better understood in the darkness. [Turns off the light
in the classroom.]  Some proofs have that property.

And now..! The great invention of… somebody… hmm.

I am already two minutes overtime and someone up there has a birthday
and I was promised some cake, so I will take cake down and prove this.

Simple things should have simple proofs. This is not entirely true.

Arabic and Chinese are the most interesting machine translation
languages to the US now. Farsi might become part of that group soon if
the Iranians stick their heads far enough out.

If the last element of this list did not exist… Something terrible
would happen.

If I were cruel, I would exchange the regular symbols with ones like
0, or 1, or even Ω or ∆; but I’m not. But there are people
out there…

I will wash my hands before dealing with this holy subject of the

Counting on your fingers is not enough [with infinite numbers]. Well,
it depends on your fingers I guess.

This deadline is more fair, since everyone will have the same ‘no
time’ to work on the homework.

There are no miracles in mathematics, nothing comes from thin
air. Except… the empty set comes from thin air.

The reason they call them heuristic methods is that you can do
whatever you want.

[There is one exception to the product of probabilities being lower
than each individually]; the chance of a series of unfortunate events
is always higher than each unfortunate event happening individually.


Leaving Amsterdam

All of a sudden we’re leaving. I got the arriving part, and now the leaving part, but I’m not really sure what happened to the Half Year in between. So the last couple of days have mainly consisted of packing, cleaning and saying our goodbyes. My suitcase almost closes, and I’m thinking that if I sit on it, we might manage to zip it up and bring all the stuff with us. But the zipping isn’t the hard part, even if there is way too much stuff in the suitcase, the hard part is the leaving.

Because somehow Amsterdam is our place by now. It’s not our only place, Bergen is also our place. But not all the places one lives in become one’s own.  I love this city, it’s so wonderful how it brings me so much peace, although it’s the biggest city I’ve ever lived in. I love the original second-hand shops that pop up wherever you go, the canals, the people, the cafés, de Jordaan, the way people treat dogs down here (there’s one in almost every shop, and they’re allowed to roam free everywhere), the huge trees that grow everywhere within the city, and Andy, who sells “Z-magazin” (the Dutch equivalent of “Megafon” or “=Oslo”) outside our grocery store and who is always amazingly nice and kind. I love the bikes, I love biking in Amsterdam, and awakening to the sound of accordion music at 10 am. And the mix of wonderfully different people from all over the world (half the people who live in Amsterdam weren’t born here). I love the free feeling and the tolerance. So Clichéisly enough, I will leave a part of me in Amsterdam, and the city of Amsterdam will always live in me.

I think that is more than enough emotional babbling, here are the last pictures from Amsterdam.

Kevin (taking the pictures), Cathie and me met Anne in the garden at the Prinsengracht dorm to say our goodbyes. We had Chablis and chocolate truffles, but it was kinda sad in spite of these delicious things.

Kevin and I said goobye to Franziska at de Magere Brug, which was also very nice, but kind of sad.

And finally, a couple of Amsterdam night roses for Amsterdam.

Etter litt iherdig overtalelse bestemte mamma seg plutselig for å ta en impulstur til Amsterdam. Hun var her fra fredag til og med tirsdag:

Det ble “litt” shopping, og en del shoppingpauser på koselige kafféer.

Morgenene gikk med til koselige frokostsstunder og lange morgenkaffesamtaler.

Her er vi på en kjempekoselig kafé i “De negen straatjes” i Jordaan.

Et sted (vis a vis Retro en chick) traff vi på en svær katt som helst ville ha litt Irish coffee.

Det var alt i alt noen kjempefine og herlig avslappende dager som gikk alt for fort, men som ikke kommer til å bli glemt med det første.

Etter å ha fullført eksamen i Social psychology and the self fant Cathrine og meg ut av at vi var nødt til å feire litt. Ikke bare hadde vi endelig sommerferie, men vi var ferdig med første avdeling (2,5 år (+ 1 årstudium)) av psykologistudiet! Feiringen ble gjennomført med sprudlevann, bringebær og Sinatra’s My way over høyttalerne.

Som Cathrine skriver var det en høytidelig og fin stund, som etter vært ble døpt “franatra og sjmpanje” 😉

Senere, samme dag, gikk Kevin og meg ut for å spise Sushi med Sølvi og en venn som plutselig var i Amsterdam. Vi endte til slutt opp i leiligheten vår i Sarphatistraat hvor vi mimret om gamle musikklinjedager for harde livet.

-> Sølvi i Sarphatistraat 🙂

Just heard about this, happening not very far from our house back home in Bergen…

UPDATE: it seems all went well. There was a chance of the fire reaching a warehouse full of airplane fuel, but it’s over now; there’s just a very bad odour hanging around in Bergen at the moment.

I’ve received complaints about lacking updates, so although I really should be preparing for mye exam on Thursday, here’s a quick one:

A couple of weeks back we had a girls’ night out at our regular, De Magere Brug;

This is Cathie, Anne and me on the bridge the pub is named after. It is not very “mager” anymore, but apparently the bridge that occupied that place before the new on was built looked really “mager”, and then the name just remained the same.

All the girls:




Anne, and

Virag, making a rather funny, but really cute face.

Later that night, Cathie, Anne and me decided to go have wine on an actual bridge. Luckily we picked up some chairs (and some more people) along the way:

Anne, Ivan and Tiril

Cathie and Anne

All in all it was a great night, and Amsterdam is so beautiful in the dark.


Tiril and I sometimes play this turn-based computer game called “Heroes of Might and Magic V” while we’re studying. Today I had a look at our list of saved games from this semester, and I think there’s a certain pattern in the names we give the games:

  • Tikka Masala
  • Maiskolbe (“corn on the cob”)
  • ISN
  • alltid sloss (“always fight”)
  • masala kapstok
  • Kryss-entropi
  • Lindeman (a psychologist)
  • Expectation Maximation
  • Eksponeringstid
  • treige jevler (“slow..bastards(?)”)
  • vaartegn (“signs of spring”, this one’s from March)
  • runrunrun
  • tannpirker (“tooth pick”)
  • hengendeneppe (???)
  • toppenavingenting
  • Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms
  • comstockery
  • Transfinite & Epsilon Induction
  • Godt Smor (“good/salted butter”)
  • Ferdig med Sag & Bender!!!
  • Construction Grammar

Hmm. Other than our obvious obsession with food, I see that names related to my courses seem to outnumber Tiril’s by 6 to 1.

But then last semester it was all Ericsson, Sullivan and Klein.