Don’t let fear govern us: a little chronicle of 2017/04/07 Stockholm

I guess that you already heard a lot about what happened in the Friday afternoon 2017/04/07, here in Stockholm.

My class always have computer lab in the afternoon, with Friday before the long Easter break being no exception. At 14:38, when I was struggling to re-concentrate after lunch, in order to solve the protein docking problem, I heard the whisper around the table about “truck accident in the city center“. “Tianlin, don’t be disturb. Work on your assignment!” I spoke to myself. But minutes after, everyone realized that it is not an accident.

At 15:03 I received the first message from a friend who is now studying in Copenhagen, asking me if I am safe. We exchanged information from each sideand reminded each other to take care and stay vigilant. I kept receiving more and I know that there will be even more tomorrow, after my relatives and friends wake up and watch news from media.

In the coming few hours, my classmates were in a state of extreme shock and sorrow but we still need to face the most practical issue: the public traffic was suspended. My classmates who finished their assignments earlier started discussing how they should go home. Although I live in Södermal, which is 15 km away from Stockholm University, it caused no trouble because I bicycled everyday. From 17:54 I departed from Stockholm University.

My journey home was smooth. Just there was a significant increase in traffic from outside to the center of the city. Just there were so many people walking on the paths. They were talking, arguing, phoning and messaging.

My journey home was smooth until I was stopped by the corder in Östermalmstorget. From there, no vehicles were allowed to enter this region. People were moving out, hugging each other and some were photographing. But it caused no trouble because I am so familiar with this district and took a bypass from another side, then crossed the old town to Slussen. (Reminder: As the police investigation is still going on, for personal safety, you should also avoid crossing the city center as well!)

I arrived in Slussen at 18:42. I have never seen so many people in Slussen, not even in the city Marathon last autumn. I beg if you were standing on wall of the Royal Palace, you would see a huge arrow moving from the city center to the South. For this reason I had to stop bicycling and start walking with my bike for 7 minutes, until I reached the end of Slussen, where the street is less crowded.

I managed to arrive my hostel in Medborgarplatsen at 19:01, so the journey is only slightly longer than one hour. Now I am sitting in front of my laptop, typing my blog as it was a normal Friday night. But 2017/04/07 will never be a normal Friday.

Everyone is questioning why it happened and why it is in Sweden, a country in which tolerance and equality can’t be more ubiquitous and self-evident. I made friends with refugees in the free Swedish course sponsored by the government; I enjoyed medical treatment with high quality almost no cost; I even borrowed 20 Kr from a 7-11 cashier who did not know me at all…..Sweden is a place where you will constantly feel the kindness and trust from ordinary people. So why Sweden?

I don’t know the answer either and I won’t speculate further here. I only know that tonight, people may cry, they may feel weak, insecure or even tormented. But I will never allow fear to occupy my mind——- otherwise, they who did the harm, will win. I will go to the organ concert in St. Nicolas Church tomorrow, as planned. I will go to the King’s Garden in the city center next week, because the cherry trees will blossom, and because I love this city.

Great thanks to my classmate André Rosa, who generously provides the cover photo of this blog.

It was taken on 2017/04/07, sunset in Stockholm.

Spring can’t be far behind: Photos of Stockholm in March

The switch from standard clock to European Summer Time is in effective since last Sunday, which is a move that symbolizes the arrival of spring in most of the continent, as I was told. But the weather is merciless: we experienced a day of snow shower yesterday and are expected to see more today. Hmm…..might be the variation in weather and temperature itself is a part of spring!

I remember that three weeks ago when I rambled across the old town, I witnessed how those gigantic ice cubes that once reigned over the Baltic sea, melted for the first time since December:

Two weeks ago I was in the forest near Lappis with my bike. Notice the harmonious co-existence of white snow on the road and the verdancy in the background:


Welcome to Sweden!


After years of undergraduate study, months of painstaking school-hunting and weeks of filing endless application forms,  you are carefully selected among thousands of highly qualified candidates and are finally invited to Stockholm now. Here is the a short and warm welcome from our president, Sigbritt Karlsson:

When I look backwards in time, 2016/03/24 is one of the turning points in my life. In the past few months, I bought 1 bike, learned 2 languages, studied in 3 universities, and met 19 amazing classmates; I opened my own blog, baked my first cake and produced my first lenti-crispr construct……Are you looking forward to your own future in Sweden as well?

Below you will find some links, which might help you a little bit to understand this wonderful country that you are going to study, as well as other tips that might be helpful for some common questions (e.g. residence permit, housing) related to life in Sweden.

About Sweden, about Stockholm

  1. is a comprehensive website introducing all faces of this amazing country
  2. explores Stockholm, the capital of Scandinavia. (It is most visited site by me as well)
  3. If you have never been to Sweden before, Health Care In Sweden from our student blogger Abhineet Tomar, the sustainability series from Divya Hariramani and my previous blog Encounter Gender Equality in Sweden will probably give you more ideas about the pillars of this country: social welfare, sustainability and equality

Tips and Advice

  1. can answer nearly all of the questions that you might have, but for more specific, such as:
  2. If you are an European student, and need to rent a room before you come, check our blogger Tomas Albrecht‘s post House Hunting in Stockholm;  if you are non-European and not sure how you should apply for a residence permit, read his detailed blog How to Get the Residence Permit
  3. (A strong advice) Follow our Facebook page KTH International Students to get the most updated, useful and official information!

For MTLS students

  1. You may find detailed description about courses that you are going to have in the autumn semester 2017 in my page TO THE PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS as well as the post Course Review: Genetics of our student ambassador Carolina at Karolinska Institute
  2. To learn more about student life at Karolinska Institute, read its students’ blogs:
  3. Already eager to be connected the research atmosphere in Stockholm? Events at Sci-Life-Lab, which is our cooperation institute, seminars from The Royal Swedish Academy of Science will definitely interest you
  4. Call-up Week: starting this week, you will receive a phone call from our current students. But don’t be nervous: it is our little tradition in order to reach, greet and welcome the new students! The first phone call will start on 29th March. So, do pick up your phone 🙂

See you in Stockholm! 😀

Course Review: Introduction to Bioinformatics

After the New Year’s break, our battle field shifts from Karolinska to Stockholm University, where we are going to learn bioinformatics now!

A few weeks before, our course teacher Professor Arne Elofsson had already sent us the link to course website. According to the course website, the upcoming course “Introduction to Bioinformatics” will consist of 17 lectures (2 hours each), 9 programming-lab sessions (3 hours each) and 9 bioinformatics-lab sessions (3 hours each). Believe it or not, the whole course is designed to be finished within four weeks! At that time, I was still indulged in my excellent academic results in the first term at Karolinska, and had no idea of how tough the coming 3 months would be and how much I would learn.

My google calendar from 16 Jan to 5 Feb.

1. The course teacher


A Bite of Hong Kong in Egg Tart

March is the busiest month I have ever had in Sweden. My schedule is full: we began the challenging machine learning course in bioinformatics (given that I learned programming only two months ago); I took the preliminary national test in Swedish twice in a week; I visited the annual job fair at Karolinska and will start job hunting very soon……Therefore, I decided to take a temporary escape from these stressful moments and go back to Hong Kong. But this time not through airplane: it is “a journey on food”.

Taste buds connect our memory and feeling.

That’s why I chose egg tart, which can be found in any bakeries that I always bought one after school when I was a secondary student. To many, egg tart is perhaps the most famous, popular and savory cuisine in Hong Kong. The origin of egg tart is ambiguous: most believe that it is the magical concatenation of Colonial tradition and Cantonese wisdom. On the other hand: it is one of the easiest and least time-consuming things that you can bake!

Imagine you are invited to a Birthday party and you want to give a surprise to your friend and the guests (>20). You start at 5 pm with these materials:

  • Aluminium Baking Cups                      X 24
  • Puff Pastry                                               X 2
  • Egg Yolk                                                    X 6
  • Whipping Cream                               300 ml
  • Sugar                                                     50 g
  • Milk/Soy milk                                     150 ml