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Old 02-27-2017, 10:48 AM   #21
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I'm sure it varies by individual. For us, our biggest fear in relocation is having difficulty making new friends or becoming part of the new community. We can replicate everything else we'd want more easily.

We're both military brats, so we moved often, and made new friends easily. We relocated for career often when we were younger too, but work friends usually gave us a toe hold toward real friends. But I'm guessing the older we get, the more long standing friendships the natives in the new area will have already established, and the less open many will be to new friends - especially strangers from another state/culture. We may test the theory one day...
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:01 AM   #22
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OMG I am so happy living where I do. Not a small town, but certainly not big (population about 30,000). We are in a suburb of NYC. A few of the local coffee/bagel shops and other local stores know me by name or face, and that's part of what makes me feel "at home." All of the things we like to do are nearby - county park for biking and running, close to NY State when we want to get away for a bit, close to NYC for the periodic Broadway show.....and a generally quiet town especially Monday to Friday.
Another small town feel for me is that about once very 2 weeks or so I'll be running on the streets and some driver that I know will honk hello to me.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:31 AM   #23
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Had a eureka moment, thanks to W2R, when reading the ongoing rural/small town thread.
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Personally? I think possibly you'd be better off finding a place that genuinely feels like home, and then figuring out "workarounds" for whatever it lacks. No place is perfect, as you have pointed out.
I thought that this was incredibly insightful and I didn't want to hijack that thread so...

What is it that makes your COMMUNITY feel like home to you? How long did it take for you to settle in? What made you suspect this was the right place BEFORE you made it permanent?

DW and I have struggled with this during our entire 37+ years of marriage. We've always been very happy with each other, but we've never found a place that feels like home. I would love to hear others' thoughts.
Wow, thank you for all the compliments (probably undeserved, but thanks anyway, I really appreciate any compliments that come my way).

To me, what matters is how much I feel that I fit in and the local culture. I have moved around a lot and really don't fit in anywhere 100%, and from your posts on that other thread I got the impression the same is true for you. Of all the places I ever lived, I felt Hawaii was more my home than anyplace. But to be brutally honest, I can't afford to live there and still have a nice house and plenty of money to spend. At my age, I want a certain level of comfort.

I have found that New Orleans is surprisingly similar to the Honolulu I knew years ago. No, really. Both are/were essentially big small towns with a lot of tourism, friendly people (to a point), and definitely not bland with fascinating multicultural intricacies, languages, and histories. I think there are some overall cultural analogies such as Southern Hospitality vs The Aloha Spirit, even though the South and Polynesia are different in some ways too. I feel more accepted as myself and more at home here than I have felt in some locations. I think these cultural similarities are important. I have lived here (or in Baton Rouge, not too far away) for 21 years by now.

I moved here for a job, so I didn't know what to expect. I settled in right away, because I unfortunately had to learn that skill with all the moving around I have had to do in my life. Making friends was my top priority for the first year and after that I had plenty. I will never be as accepted here as a native New Orleanian might be, but it's getting really close to that level of acceptance. The same was true in Honolulu. It's important to adapt to a new home rather than trying to bring your old home with you (mentally). Nobody wants to hear about how great your last location was. Anyway, I have made a project out of making this my home and have worked hard at it. Katrina was a real heartbreaker for somebody like me who has never had a real home and was trying so hard to establish one.

After Katrina, we used all of our vacation time visiting other locations to identify someplace else we could move to, and we felt Springfield, Missouri was our best second choice. We checked it out through many visits, and doing the sorts of things there we would be doing in our daily lives once we retired. He found that getting a haircut there was very helpful, as he interacted with local men in the barber shop and got lots of good tips. I liked going to a local gym and checking out their facilities. We visited the local college campuses, walked on the nature trails, went to real estate open houses and chatted at length with realtors and sellers, shopped in the supermarkets, and so on. Springfield is very Christian, and we are agnostic, but still we felt we could fit in because we have many of the same values and we'd rather have people around us who have those values too.

But anyway, once we could see substantial progress in the post-Katrina recovery here, we decided to stay after all.

New Orleans has a lot of flaws, of course. It is not nirvana. The worst from our point of view is the crime here. Our work-around is living in a very established neighborhood that is as low in crime as any we can afford. And then, like any "good Southern boy" he is well armed. If things get too bad in this neighborhood, we may some day have to move away. But we are in our 60's and all we need is another 20-30 years. We are hoping things stay reasonable in our neighborhood for that long.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:50 AM   #24
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I moved to Northern NV 20 years ago for a job. I met my DH who is a native. I love everything about it here. Great mild 4 seasons (except this year), good friends, beautiful area, lots of recreation, etc.
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:36 PM   #25
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Thanks to everyone for their comments!

Music Lover, I think that you are onto something with our having moved around a fair amount and not settling in anywhere. DW and I have always had a bit of the "grass is greener" bug and I'm sure that hasn't helped us feel at home. We did have 15 years in a Midwest college town - that was probably the closest fit for me - I'll talk to DW about that tonight. I know that there are two negative factors that she will bring up: 1) It's COLD there in the winter, and 2) When I spent a year away from DW on a fellowship in DC, our "friends" in this town did not really step up and help DW deal with her feelings of isolation/loneliness with me gone. This caused DW to sour a bit on the relationships we thought we had. They are still our friends, but DW probably wouldn't consider them close.

Many of you mentioned relationships with neighbors and friends - that is something that really concerns the two of us. We are both quiet and introverted and find it difficult to "talk" our way into a community. But the feeling I get from almost all of you is that you have a feeling of "belonging" in the community where you live. It's not always friends - sometimes is just seems to be the vibe given off by the acquaintances/fellow inhabitants, somehow you have settled into places where you are comfortable. I think that I will try to identify which of our criteria are the ones that would lead to a feeling of "belonging" and try to separate those from the criteria that are more "things to do".

Thanks again for helping with the thought process.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:10 PM   #26
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Thanks to everyone for their comments!

Music Lover, I think that you are onto something with our having moved around a fair amount and not settling in anywhere. DW and I have always had a bit of the "grass is greener" bug and I'm sure that hasn't helped us feel at home. We did have 15 years in a Midwest college town - that was probably the closest fit for me - I'll talk to DW about that tonight. I know that there are two negative factors that she will bring up: 1) It's COLD there in the winter,
That town sounds like it has potential!

Promise her a nice, warm, well insulated home with maybe a fireplace? A car with heated seats. A promise not to be stingy about turning the thermostat up. A trip to NYC to get the most fabulous, gorgeous, warm coat possible, and warm, pretty boots. Stuff like that might be enticing.

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and 2) When I spent a year away from DW on a fellowship in DC, our "friends" in this town did not really step up and help DW deal with her feelings of isolation/loneliness with me gone. This caused DW to sour a bit on the relationships we thought we had. They are still our friends, but DW probably wouldn't consider them close.

Many of you mentioned relationships with neighbors and friends - that is something that really concerns the two of us. We are both quiet and introverted and find it difficult to "talk" our way into a community.
One thing that I learned from having to move so much in my life, is that being a quiet introvert is not a luxury that I can afford right after moving to a new location where I know nobody. You have to FORCE yourself to act like an extrovert for about a year or so until you have sufficient friends that you can afford to dial it back. At least, that is my opinion.

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But the feeling I get from almost all of you is that you have a feeling of "belonging" in the community where you live. It's not always friends - sometimes is just seems to be the vibe given off by the acquaintances/fellow inhabitants, somehow you have settled into places where you are comfortable. I think that I will try to identify which of our criteria are the ones that would lead to a feeling of "belonging" and try to separate those from the criteria that are more "things to do".
To me, the regional culture can make a huge difference. You know, all those little things like people never making eye contact with strangers on the street in NYC, or waitresses calling you "hon" or "sweetie" down here. Both lack of eye contact and overly familiar speech can seem rude to different people. I guess one can get used to either but it's nice to not have to.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:13 PM   #27
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I'd guess for many people a place that resembles where they spent formative and/or happiest years growing up will feel like home.
This certainly applies to our situation. The place we have settled in is where our children were born. We had a trial run 6 years ago, living back here for 7 months and it immediately felt like we had never been away. We moved back for good last May.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:30 PM   #28
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One thing that I learned from having to move so much in my life, is that being a quiet introvert is not a luxury that I can afford right after moving to a new location where I know nobody. You have to FORCE yourself to act like an extrovert for about a year or so until you have sufficient friends that you can afford to dial it back. At least, that is my opinion.

To me, the regional culture can make a huge difference. You know, all those little things like people never making eye contact with strangers on the street in NYC, or waitresses calling you "hon" or "sweetie" down here. Both lack of eye contact and overly familiar speech can seem rude to different people. I guess one can get used to either but it's nice to not have to.
I agree 100% with the text in bold. I moved multiple times for my career, and of course when you are working, you become assimilated into the work community. Even there it takes 6-12 months, minimum. But when you are ER, you really have to make an effort to get involved in some community activities, even if you are an introvert, as I am. This is especially important early on. I have been fortunate to benefit from a very active newcomers club in my area, which has a reputation for being cliquish (although that is rapidly changing). I also got involved in some volunteer activities. I have scaled back recently, but only because I now have a long list of local friends.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:37 PM   #29
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Friendly neighbors has always been important to me. It is interesting how much that varied in our experiences. All experiences in Colorado have included knowing all the neighbors in a fairly short period of time. Our two experiences in Virginia were quite different. We lived in a townhouse complex for a year in the DC suburbs and had quite a lively group of neighbors that would party together frequently. We were all in our 20s and 30s.

The last place we lived in Virginia was a planned community in the Hampton Roads area. Single family homes in a very desirable neighborhood. We never got beyond more than a hello with the neighbors in the 10 years we lived there. I never could understand what made that community so different when it came to being good friends with neighbors. Our friends in that community were our kid's school families who were scattered all over the greater metro area. Unfortunately, for me having friendship relations with the neighbors is a lot of what makes a place feel like home.

Up here in the Colorado mountains where I currently live, I know and socialize with all the neighbors literally for miles around. That still is not a lot of people, but it makes the place feel like home.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:41 PM   #30
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Laid back folks who aren't trying to impress anyone by living beyond means. Very walkable/bikeable. No further than 10-15 min. to excellent healthcare. No further than 30-40 min. to a "major" airport. Low cost of living, affordable housing prices, and low property taxes. And no brutal winters.

Friends are scattered all over the country, so no pressure there. Teenage grandkids are within easy flight distance.
This is a tall order. Have you found it?

I have everything I want in my home of about 50 years, although divorce and moving to a condo changed the exact surroundings. Many people operate more on abstractions than on evidence. I have found it easier to make friends in my central city condo, or in the nearby apartment that I had prior to buying here than I did in the smaller town on the far outskirts of the city.
I think my neighborhood in New Orleans meets most of his criteria (although the airport here is more medium sized than huge). But other neighborhoods around here might not be as walkable, or as close to health care, and so on. So much depends on neighborhood.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:32 PM   #31
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"What makes your community feel like home?"

Good question. Had me thinking a bit....

Not to be negative, but thinking about many of the places I have lived (CT, MI, FL, CA, PA, TX), I am realizing that none of those places, including the current place, I have lived gives me the feeling like it's home.

There was always something or things I did or do not like about the area and I was always glad when we had to or chose to make a move. Even visiting my birth state of Connecticut where I spent my formative years and lived there twice (35 years total), I still feel like it's just a visit when being there.

Maybe one of these days, the light will come on, and where I am will give me that feeling like many posters here have.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:37 PM   #32
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Family and extended family live nearby.
Far enough away from disfunctional parts of extended family.
Lots of stuff to do - and friends to do it with.
Despite being in a big city - lots of easily accessible nature. (Like my daily beach walks and frequent canyon walks.)
Neighbors who are friendly, but not nosey... and definitely ready to help if we need it.
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Old 02-27-2017, 04:27 PM   #33
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I have lived in this house in this city for 29 years.

When we arrived city was 23,000, now over 80,000. Harder to get around, but at least you have more places to go.

I like the house, the location and the city. I'm home -
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:11 PM   #34
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Home is where the heart is...
With 22 full, lock stock and barrel moves, the only time it was not comfortable was 3 months when I lived in a basement apartment in Back Bay Boston while on a temporary job, back in 1965.
Everywhere we have lived, we've easily made friends... over the past 59 years.
With 4 kids, in the early years, it was involvement in their activities, and after that, I worked with Boy scouts and Church youth groups. It was just a natural to volunteer or join local chamber of commerces, or work as a counselor or speaker for the SBA.
After we retired in 1990, we lived in a campground with other like minded retired couple... the most fun part of our lives... that, in the summer, then for the other six months in the most active over 55 community in Florida.

Now, we live in a regular house in a full, all services, CCRC. Feels like home, but at our age, we're not so much into the social circles.

Guess you could call it comfortable... We're happy.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:27 PM   #35
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Open spaces - no/few walls/fences (ex-swimming pools). So inviting to neighbors. People actually know each other, say hi, invite you parties. Kids run thru everyone's yards. Who cares?
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:47 PM   #36
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We both grew up in MN and at mid-life relocated with our company to TX. We survived there for 14 years, but socialized mostly with others who relocated with us. When we had the chance to move back "home" we jumped at it and it was like putting on a well-worn pair of gloves. We didn't really reconnect with old friends, but have made many new ones. Being close to family is just a bonus.
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Old 02-28-2017, 07:31 AM   #37
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Home in Community

One of the considerations we kept in mind when looking for a place to live in retirement was community. 90% of our social circle was our work colleagues. We looked from Maui to Maine to Maryland before finally deciding on a spot in the crook of the elbow of what Thoreau called "the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts". A particular condominium complex appealed to us - it was managed by the owners, had all the amenities we wanted, and the price was right. On one visit, we stopped at the front entrance to talk to two women who were working on the big planter. They were members of the gardening committee, and they were happy to tell us all about the place.

That was the clincher. We wanted to be part of this neighborhood. We made an offer within the week.

That was almost four years ago, not long after I first started lurking on this site. We figured we'd use the place for weekends and holidays until we retired - it was only 100 miles from our home. A year later, we'd moved down here full time and commuted to work (aka Hell on Wheels), which contributed to our decision to retire two years ago. I've never felt happier or more at home.

I still get a kick out of that perennial financial publication topic, "10 Best Places to Retire!" The criteria always seem to be about taxes and endless summer, never about politics and community. Home is where your people are.
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Old 02-28-2017, 07:39 AM   #38
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We moved from a condo to house when our son came along 28 years ago. We talk the immediate neighbors when we see them outside, and wave to those driving past, but no real connections. Basically quiet area. That's probably just us. Nothing to miss when we finally decide to go through the trouble and downsize and move elsewhere. Or we may just decide to stay here.
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Old 02-28-2017, 10:38 AM   #39
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... Home is where your people are.
Love this, thanks!

WARNING - LENGTHY POST

DW and I talked about this thread at length last night. we discussed what I thought were several interesting things.

1. I quote DW, "No way in hell am I moving back to someplace where it gets to ten below in the winter." So much for moving back to a Midwest college town,
2. DW said something like aja8888, we've just never found "a place" that feels like home.
3. We have somewhat belated tried to be more outgoing by starting a monthly "game night" where we host 8-10 proto-friends aged from 30-60. We have a potluck dinner and play some board/party games after. After several months this is starting to feel like we are with "our people". Table discussions tend to be about art, history, law, international travel (especially cheap), books we've read, etc. What is really funny is that we are all early risers so the group tends to break up about 9:00 PM, even on a Saturday.

We also discussed when/where we have felt like we belong, even if the community as a whole did not feel like home. A (OK, not so) short list of places (roughly chronological) where I felt welcome/comfortable or, in other words, when I was with "my people":

1. When I went away to college the whole experience was like I had finally found a place where people were like me. This feeling didn't last forever, of course. However, it was a great contrast to growing up where I never felt like I fit in (maybe excepting sports teams), either in my family or at school.
2. Any classical record shop - sadly these are defunct for the most part, although there is still a CD store/coffee shop in Berkeley that would be a wonderful retreat if I could afford to live there.
3. The first tee at the golf course in CollegeTown. Twelve of us (all walkers) would have three tee times and would be setting up games and deciding who was playing in which group.
4. Tennis with fellow teachers after school in CollegeTown.
5. A little family owned Italian restaurant in New Orleans where the wife of the owner would come out and take our baby into the kitchen so that we could enjoy our dinner in peace.
6. Any restaurant/place of business that plays classical music on the sound system. Hard to find, but still out there. I've managed to find two restaurants and a grocery store in the DC area so far. Also the New Yorker Hotel in NYC is now our place to stay because of this.
7. Our previous church choir that sang a lot of challenging music. Unlike our current church choir that wastes most of the rehearsal in complaining and not paying attention.
8. Used book stores that play classical or quiet jazz music that is conducive to sitting and reading.
9. Or any of the above places that chooses silence over music. (Hurrah for Aldi)
10. Walking through an outdoor space with no one else around.
11. Operating the 12 inch refracting telescope at the University of Illinois' old observatory.
12. A former astronomy club that undertook group projects together - unlike the local one which seems to consist of lots of rich people who are eager to belittle members who haven't spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment.
13. Performing with a classical music group.

DW points out, perhaps rightly, that we are just a poor fit for 21st Century American culture in general. I feel at home in places that are calm, contemplative, and quiet. I often feel that the ONLY place I can find this is at home and that can feel terribly isolating.

Anyway, enough whining. Time to visit with my harpsichord and cheer myself up.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:03 PM   #40
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Love this, thanks!



WARNING - LENGTHY POST



DW and I talked about this thread at length last night. we discussed what I thought were several interesting things.



1. I quote DW, "No way in hell am I moving back to someplace where it gets to ten below in the winter." So much for moving back to a Midwest college town,

2. DW said something like aja8888, we've just never found "a place" that feels like home.

3. We have somewhat belated tried to be more outgoing by starting a monthly "game night" where we host 8-10 proto-friends aged from 30-60. We have a potluck dinner and play some board/party games after. After several months this is starting to feel like we are with "our people". Table discussions tend to be about art, history, law, international travel (especially cheap), books we've read, etc. What is really funny is that we are all early risers so the group tends to break up about 9:00 PM, even on a Saturday.



We also discussed when/where we have felt like we belong, even if the community as a whole did not feel like home. A (OK, not so) short list of places (roughly chronological) where I felt welcome/comfortable or, in other words, when I was with "my people":



1. When I went away to college the whole experience was like I had finally found a place where people were like me. This feeling didn't last forever, of course. However, it was a great contrast to growing up where I never felt like I fit in (maybe excepting sports teams), either in my family or at school.

2. Any classical record shop - sadly these are defunct for the most part, although there is still a CD store/coffee shop in Berkeley that would be a wonderful retreat if I could afford to live there.

3. The first tee at the golf course in CollegeTown. Twelve of us (all walkers) would have three tee times and would be setting up games and deciding who was playing in which group.

4. Tennis with fellow teachers after school in CollegeTown.

5. A little family owned Italian restaurant in New Orleans where the wife of the owner would come out and take our baby into the kitchen so that we could enjoy our dinner in peace.

6. Any restaurant/place of business that plays classical music on the sound system. Hard to find, but still out there. I've managed to find two restaurants and a grocery store in the DC area so far. Also the New Yorker Hotel in NYC is now our place to stay because of this.

7. Our previous church choir that sang a lot of challenging music. Unlike our current church choir that wastes most of the rehearsal in complaining and not paying attention.

8. Used book stores that play classical or quiet jazz music that is conducive to sitting and reading.

9. Or any of the above places that chooses silence over music. (Hurrah for Aldi)

10. Walking through an outdoor space with no one else around.

11. Operating the 12 inch refracting telescope at the University of Illinois' old observatory.

12. A former astronomy club that undertook group projects together - unlike the local one which seems to consist of lots of rich people who are eager to belittle members who haven't spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment.

13. Performing with a classical music group.



DW points out, perhaps rightly, that we are just a poor fit for 21st Century American culture in general. I feel at home in places that are calm, contemplative, and quiet. I often feel that the ONLY place I can find this is at home and that can feel terribly isolating.



Anyway, enough whining. Time to visit with my harpsichord and cheer myself up.


You need what my friend calls "like-minded people." Emphasis on MIND.

I find those are few and far between.

And I'm certainly not related to any!

That's why I read here so often.
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