The Crafty Expat, by Rita H. Azar http://thecraftyexpat.com Crafting stories, living abroad Thu, 24 Dec 2015 12:40:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 Merry Christmas and a very happy new year 2016! http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/12/24/merry-christmas-and-a-very-happy-new-year-2016/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/12/24/merry-christmas-and-a-very-happy-new-year-2016/#respond Thu, 24 Dec 2015 07:07:01 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9167 Bonjour!   Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2016 filled with much love, happiness, good health and success in all you projects!    This is always the perfect occasion to say thank you for your support and the private messages you have sent me.  I truly appreciate it and feel […]

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Bonjour!

 

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2016 filled with much love, happiness, good health and success in all you projects! 

 

This is always the perfect occasion to say thank you for your support and the private messages you have sent me.  I truly appreciate it and feel terrible because of my lack of communication with you all.  I’m just starting to get into more of a routine with my little one and hope to be back to more regular blogging in the new year.

The least that I can say is that it has been a very busy year in our household. We moved to a new home and had a baby.  We also had a wonderful three months visit from my parents and I travelled with our little one for a five weeks trip to Canada.  Finally, my short story, The Artist, was published in the anthology Sweet and Spicy – A celebration of romance.  With these circumstances, blogging took the back burner.  But, I have collected many stories and look forward to share them with you. 

Enjoy this special time with your loved ones and see you soon!

Au revoir! 

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Release of the anthology Sweet and Spicy – A Celebration of Romance http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/11/11/release-of-the-anthology-sweet-and-spicy-a-celebration-of-romance/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/11/11/release-of-the-anthology-sweet-and-spicy-a-celebration-of-romance/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2015 11:34:56 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9147 Bonjour! Well, I’m back from Canada and my trip went very well.  Baby girl was amazing on the plane and the trip was wonderful if we put aside the first week because Florence was on the jet lag.  But, she quickly adjusted and we were able to enjoy our time with family and friends. Sweet and Spicy, […]

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Bonjour!

Well, I’m back from Canada and my trip went very well.  Baby girl was amazing on the plane and the trip was wonderful if we put aside the first week because Florence was on the jet lag.  But, she quickly adjusted and we were able to enjoy our time with family and friends.

Sweet and Spicy, the Silver Anniversary Anthology that includes 18 short romance stories written by current members of The Melbourne Romance Writers Guild is now available for purchase!

AMAZON US

AMAZON AU

AMAZON UK

AMAZON CA

Barns and Noble

Smashwords

All Romance Books

This anthology includes my short story, The Artist.  It’s only about 800 words but, it’s the first short story I have ever written so I’m excited and proud that it’s finally published.  Here’s an excerpt.

 

“In a brown and gloomy building, in the middle of a street with no name, something magical was born.  In an apartment surrounded with vibrant images of love, a reunion written in the stars occurred.  Two completely different roads crossed each other and it was celebrated by two individuals, away from the judgement of the people, with no barriers of age, race or religion.”

– Rita H. Azar, The Artist, published in Sweet and Spicy: A Celebration of Romance by Melbourne Romance Writers Guild.     

 

If you decide to purchase and read Sweet and Spicy, I would love to hear from you.  Thank you for your support!

 

Au revoir! 

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Updates and some exciting news http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/09/05/updates-and-some-exciting-news/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/09/05/updates-and-some-exciting-news/#comments Sat, 05 Sep 2015 00:11:02 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9128 Bonjour! It feels so strange to sit down and write a blog post… I know I disappeared. Thanks to all the people who sent me private messages. In these past four very busy months, I celebrated three milestones. First, it’s about time I introduce you to my beautiful baby girl, Florence-Anne, who is now four months old. […]

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Bonjour!

It feels so strange to sit down and write a blog post… I know I disappeared. Thanks to all the people who sent me private messages.

In these past four very busy months, I celebrated three milestones.

First, it’s about time I introduce you to my beautiful baby girl, Florence-Anne, who is now four months old. Motherhood is truly amazing but, also, very challenging. My personal diary is filled with stories to tell.

My parents came from overseas and stayed three months so any spare time I had, I spend it with them and blogging took the back burner.

IMG_9236

 

Look at my little munchkin! Isn’t she adorable?

If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you know that I haven’t been posting many pictures of my baby. The whole debate about sharing pictures of children on the internet is been on my mind. I’m not sure if I’m willing to do so. In fact, I feel so blessed and blissful she is a part of my life I would post a picture of each of her smiles but, the truth is I am concerned about her privacy…

I also celebrated my blog turning three years old… This space has helped me so much on so many levels. It has given me a platform to express my thoughts and connect with so many wonderful people.

And, I turned 36 years old! Yes, I’m now on the other side of the 30s! But, I’m proud of the things I have achieved so far and where I’m at in my life at the moment.

In other news, well I’m taking my little one to visit my side of the family in Canada! I’m leaving Monday and needless to say I am very nervous…  Wish me luck.

Finally, my writing group, the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, will be releasing in November an anthology titled Sweet and Spicy to celebrate its 25th anniversary. I’m so excited one of my short stories, The Artist, will be published in this anthology!  I will keep you posted when we will be closer to the release date.

'Sweet and Spicy'

What have you been up too?  Did you had any major change in your life in the past months?

Have you ever travelled with an infant?  Do you have any tips and tricks for me?

Au revoir! 

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Books read in 2015 – Part 1 http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/05/02/books-read-in-2015-part-1/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/05/02/books-read-in-2015-part-1/#respond Sat, 02 May 2015 10:51:58 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9099 Bonjour! I haven’t been blogging and writing (other than keeping a personal diary) much since the start of the year but, I have been reading.  Now that I’m due to give birth any day, I thought let’s update my blog and give you a run down of some of the books I have read so […]

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Bonjour!

I haven’t been blogging and writing (other than keeping a personal diary) much since the start of the year but, I have been reading.  Now that I’m due to give birth any day, I thought let’s update my blog and give you a run down of some of the books I have read so far.

I read these three books for my book club.

The Shaking Woman or a History of my Nerves

In her book The Shaking Woman or a History of my Nerves, Siri Hustvedt goes on a search to understand the shaking of her body she experienced two and a half years after the death of her father while she was giving a talk at a memorial event for him.

This is only a 200 pages book but I found that it was quite a difficult read. There were no chapters which would have made the book easier to read. The concepts of psychology the author explains, such as conversion disorder, hysteria and memory, are quite interesting but I had to focus hard on each word so I could understand the flow of her thoughts.

I did recognise myself in some of the concepts and that was fascinating. At the end of the book, we understand that when it comes to the human body and mind, nothing is all black or white.

 

The shaking woman or a history of my nerves

The Golden Age

Joan London takes us back to the fifties. The setting is the Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Home in Perth. Thirteen years old Frank Gold is a mystic character who writes poetry and falls in love with Elsa. London also tells the reader the story of the families of these children who lives in this convalescent home and the nurses who take care of them in a particularly nurturing way.  The Golden Age is shortlisted for the Stella Prize 2015.

This story is a work of fiction. But, it is based on an actual convalescent centre for children of the same name that existed from 1949 to 1959 in Western Australia.

It is beautifully written with exquisite prose and images. Inside this convalescent home, the author explains how the children create their own little world, their own little home away from their families.

I think the reader needs to be in a certain state of mind to really enjoy this book and give it the worth it deserves. I personally didn’t connect with the characters and to their stories.

 

The Golden Age

The God of Small Things

In her novel The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy presents the story of non-identical twins Rahel and Esthappen which are separated at the age of seven after the tragic death of their cousin.  Years later, at the age of 31, they are reunited in the family home in the village of Aymanam, India.  The book is narrated in the third person but, for a big part of the story, the reader sees the events unfolding through the eyes of Rahel.  The reader learns about the tragedies that scattered her life, the life of her twin brother and the rest of her family.  Themes such as Indian history, forbidden love, betrayal and social discrimination are explored in this novel.  The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997.

This is a book one can either love or loath.  I stand in the second category.  No doubt that it is beautifully written.  But, the story is so dark and the characters so messed up that the book only succeeded in making me feel totally down and depressed.  They say you have to be in a certain mood for certain books.  I can’t agree more.  Again, I was just not in the right set of mind to read this novel and I did not get the message the author was trying to impart.

 

The god of small things

Have you been reading any good book lately?

Next time I’ll come back to this space, I’ll be a mum!

Au revoir! 

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5 of my favourite things – Easter Giveaway http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/04/02/5-of-my-favourite-things-easter-giveaway/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/04/02/5-of-my-favourite-things-easter-giveaway/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 03:31:22 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9056 Bonjour!    This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you for participating! The winner is Fong Truong.  Congratulations! These days, I have this feeling of walking on a cloud. There are so many things that make me feel cheerful. It’s probably due to settling in our new home and the imminent arrival of baby girl. Here […]

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Bonjour

 

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you for participating!

The winner is Fong Truong.  Congratulations!

These days, I have this feeling of walking on a cloud. There are so many things that make me feel cheerful. It’s probably due to settling in our new home and the imminent arrival of baby girl.

Here are 5 of my favourite things I’m crushing on at the moment.

1- The roses in my front yard

We had colourful roses in our previous house. I’m lucky enough to have some beautiful ones in this house too. They are all white and, at this time of the year, they just look fantastic.

2- Reading in the middle of the night

I never had any problem for sleeping.  Since I announced that I was pregnant, many people tell me to enjoy my sleep as much as I can because when baby arrives, sleeping will be very difficult.

But, no one mentioned that the last months of pregnancy would make sleep quasi impossible. I suffer now from a chronic insomnia. Thanks heaven for books!  I find myself getting up in the middle of the night and going to my study to lie on the couch and read until sleep comes again.

3- My new study/craft room

I have a huge crush on my new space. It’s still a work in progress but I love the burgundy wall, the coloured cushions and the lovely view I have on the park.

My study is also my craft room and I feel privileged to have my space in the house.

5 of my favourite things – Easter Giveaway - study

4- Scented candles and fragrances

When we bought the new house, I said to hubby that I will put candles everywhere.

Entering in a room filled with a sweet smell makes that room so much warmer and contributes to a relaxing atmosphere.

Air Wick has a diverse collection of candles. The Silhouettes collection has exotic aromas with clever designs. Once lit, a glow that changes colour illuminates the candle.

 

5 of my favourite things – Easter Giveaway - Air Wick candle

5- Writing a personal diary

It’s been over 9 months that I have been writing in a personal diary. I enjoy journaling every day of my pregnancy and the steps in my writing journey.

I also love notebooks and, keeping a personal diary gives me a good excuse to collect them.

5 of my favourite things – Easter Giveaway - Air Wick candles

I’m sharing one of my favourite things today as I’ve got some nice candles to give away:

1 Air Wick Silhouettes – Amber Mandarin Glow;

1 Scented candle – Lemonade Stand / Sweet Summer Fruits;

1 Air Wick Silhouettes – French Vanilla Romance thanks to Air Wick.

Go to the Air Wick website to check out their new limited edition fragrance collection, including Ebony & Madagascan Vanilla and Snowy Mountain Berries

For your chance to WIN:

1. Tell me: What are you favourite things at the moment?

2. Like Rita.H.Azar on Facebook and follow The Crafty Expat on Bloglovin.

This giveaway is open to Australian residents only, closing at 5pm on Friday 10 of April 2015.  This is a game of skill, the winners will be chosen based on their answer. The judge’s decision is final. The winner will be announced on this page and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address for the prize pack to be forwarded to, or the prize will be redrawn. 

I wasn’t paid to write this post but I received 3 candles from Performics and Air Wick.  All opinions are my own as stated in my media kit

 Happy Easter!

Au revoir! 

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Nesting http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/03/24/nesting/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/03/24/nesting/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 03:04:03 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9032 Bonjour!  There is one thing I heard a lot before I got pregnant and that is “Pregnant woman nest.”  I didn’t quite understand what it meant until I became pregnant. I’m now in a state of mind where I feel disconnected from the outside world, in my bubble.  And, this is probably why I have […]

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Bonjour

There is one thing I heard a lot before I got pregnant and that is “Pregnant woman nest.”  I didn’t quite understand what it meant until I became pregnant.

I’m now in a state of mind where I feel disconnected from the outside world, in my bubble.  And, this is probably why I have been keeping for myself and not blogging as much as I usually do.

All I want is preparing our home for the arrival of our child, wash her clothes, get her nursery ready…

It’s as if my mind had only one focus, our daughter; how will she be; what will she like; how will I build a strong relationship with her.

There are two quotes that describe well how I have been feeling.

 

A pregnant woman does not know what she is.  She has been overtaken.  She feels sick but she is not sick, she lives underwater, where there are no words.  The world goes funny on her; it is accusing when she is delighted, and applauds when she feels like shit.”

– Anne Enright, Making Babies, 2004

 

And…

 

“Learning that you are finally pregnant is like being told you have a winning lottery ticket.  You’re delighted, but you’re not going to celebrate until you have the cash in your hands.”

– Sushi Das, Deranged Marriage, Random House Australia 2012, p.269-270.

 

But, I have to admit that I did celebrate on Sunday as I was spoiled at my baby shower which was organised by my sister-in law!

Baby shower 2

Baby shower 1

Baby shower

Did you feel disconnected from the outside world when you were pregnant for the first time? 

What have you been up to?

Au revoir! 

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Thriller Live Melbourne http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/02/05/thriller-live-melbourne/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/02/05/thriller-live-melbourne/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 04:51:07 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=9004 Bonjour! When I received the email saying that I was invited to see Thriller Live, I jumped on the occasion. I always been a huge fan of Michael Jackson and, like millions of other people, I was shocked and deeply sad by his sudden death. The work of Michael Jackson will never be forgotten as […]

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Bonjour!

When I received the email saying that I was invited to see Thriller Live, I jumped on the occasion.

I always been a huge fan of Michael Jackson and, like millions of other people, I was shocked and deeply sad by his sudden death.

The work of Michael Jackson will never be forgotten as songs such as Black or White and many others inspired a positive change of attitude amongst people.

Thriller Live is all about celebrating the amazing work of this accomplished artist and taking the audience into the rollercoaster of his life by showcasing his music through the different stages of his career (Jackson 5, disco years, etc.)

The show is not about imitating Jackson but honouring him.  In fact, many talented lead singers perform his songs; amongst them, Prinnie Stevens and her enchanting voice.

Sean Christopher’s rendition of Michael Jackson is so good, one would think it was Jackson himself that was on stage.

Thriller Live is a dynamic show with fantastic dancers.  I particularly enjoyed Dangerous and the impressive choreography.

I also loved Let’s Dance Let’s Shout as the performers engaged with the public and put fire into the crowd.  Everyone in the audience was up, dancing and participating in the performance.

When I heard the music of Beat it, I was dancing on my chair.  And, what about Smooth Criminal; the performance was glorious.

Thriller Live 3

The encore was astonishing and I’m deliberately leaving out the titles of the songs that were performed to keep the surprise.  All I’m going to say is by the end of the show, everyone was standing up and dancing.

Thriller Live is invigorating and high in energy; great costumes and lighting effects; a fantastic production.

If you are in Melbourne, this show is the perfect opportunity to spend an evening celebrating the life of the King of Pop.

Thriller Live is presented at the Arts Centre, State Theatre in Melbourne until the 8 of February 2015.

 

What is your favourite Michael Jackson song?

 

I wasn’t paid to write this post but I received two tickets from ACMN Marketing and Advertising for Thriller Live.  All opinions are my own as stated in my media kit

 

Au revoir! 

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Words for 2015 http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/01/29/words-2015/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2015/01/29/words-2015/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:03:14 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=8977 Bonjour! Hello, hello everyone! I’m back in the blogging world today after a few very busy past months.   We’re still in January so it’s still time to wish you a very Happy New Year 2015 and may all your dreams come true!   Last November I dedicated myself to write the second novel of […]

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Bonjour!

Hello, hello everyone!

I’m back in the blogging world today after a few very busy past months.

 

We’re still in January so it’s still time to wish you a very Happy New Year 2015 and may all your dreams come true!

 

Last November I dedicated myself to write the second novel of my series for NaNoWriMo.

After NaNo was done and dusted, it was time to get ready for Christmas: Christmas tree, Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, Christmas functions and Christmas visits.

Then, it was all about packing the house.  Is there something more tedious than packing?

Finally, we moved!  There were boxes all over the place but I’m glad to report, as I’m writing these lines, that the unpacking is all done and the house looks amazing!  It’s as if I lived here my whole life!  There’s still a lot of interior design to do but that will come slowly.

I finally feel I have gained back control of my thoughts that were sparsely locked in different boxes for a few weeks and I can think much clearer now.

View from my work desk

The view from my work desk.

In other news, baby is going very well!  Do you want to know if it’s a boy or a girl?  Take your guess and then check out this post on Facebook.

My baby
Isn’t the cutest baby. I’m a bit partial though!

The last thing for today that I wanted to share with you were my two words for 2015.

Perseverance and determination

 

I’m thinking here about writing, of course.  I have to always keep in mind that it’s a slow process and it takes time, that I have to keep writing every day in order to see my goals of publishing becoming a reality.

I already have come such a long way with the help of my writing group and with all the things I have learned in the past years.

Anyways that’s it for now.  I have been such a bad blogger, not reading any blogs lately.  But, I intend to make up for it in the coming days.

So, tell me, what have you been up to?  What are you words for 2015?

What have I missed?  Link up in the comment section one of your posts that you think I should read.

Au revoir! 

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Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2015 http://thecraftyexpat.com/2014/12/25/merry-christmas-happy-new-year-2015/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2014/12/25/merry-christmas-happy-new-year-2015/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 23:12:31 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=8960 Bonjour! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2015 filled with many blessings and happy returns! My best wishes of health, joy, peace and success in all your projects.  May the New Year see some of your most precious dreams becoming a reality. And, enjoy this precious and special time […]

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Bonjour!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2015 filled with many blessings and happy returns!

My best wishes of health, joy, peace and success in all your projects.  May the New Year see some of your most precious dreams becoming a reality.

And, enjoy this precious and special time with your family and friends.

Thank you again for being a member of the community of The Crafty Expat.  Your support means the world to me.

 

I’m taking a break for getting organised and moving house.  I will be back towards the end of January blogging from a new home!  Meanwhile, I’ll keep you posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  See you all very soon and take care.

Au revoir! 

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The road to publication, part 8 – Wrap up of the year 2014 http://thecraftyexpat.com/2014/12/22/the-road-to-publication-part-8-wrap-up-of-the-year-2014/ http://thecraftyexpat.com/2014/12/22/the-road-to-publication-part-8-wrap-up-of-the-year-2014/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:40:14 +0000 http://thecraftyexpat.com/?p=8934 Bonjour! Well, well, this year has flown by and this is my second last post for 2014. My words for this year were self-confidence. I wrote in January 2014: I want to push myself and believe I have the capacity to achieve my dreams. When I wrote these words, I had one thing in mind: […]

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Bonjour!

Well, well, this year has flown by and this is my second last post for 2014.

My words for this year were self-confidence. I wrote in January 2014: I want to push myself and believe I have the capacity to achieve my dreams.

When I wrote these words, I had one thing in mind: working towards my goal of being a published author. I wanted to believe in the power of my words.

I started the series The Road to Publication so I could keep track of the steps I took to achieve this goal.

I fixed myself some objectives just to realise that there was a long way to go to learn the craft of writing. In fact, I was starting from scratch. The overachiever in me wanted everything straight away but I realised that I had to be patient.

I really like this quote from Kate Forsyth

I really like this quote from Kate Forsyth

It hit me one day: It took me over 6 years to be able to practice as a lawyer in Canada so I could not expect to be published in less than a year.

So, I grabbed my courage and decided that the first step was to give my words and my stories a fair go. I participated in three poetry competitions, several writing competitions, found a critique partner, found an amazing and supportive writing group, contributed to other blogs and edited and sent my three first chapters to a publisher.

I didn’t win any of the competitions (although I did have some amazing feedback) and I did not hear from the publisher but I have the wonderful feeling that I have passed the first and most important step toward achieving my goal which was letting my words out and having confidence in the fact that I could do it, that my words were worth it.

This year, I have learned so many things about the craft of writing such as how to plot a novel, write the dark moment, give depth to the characters. There are still so many things to learn but I’m well and truly on the way and I’m not giving up.

I have also learned so much about publishing a book and the different possibilities involved: self-publishing, traditional publishing, eBooks publishers.

I have not finished the edits involved in the first book of my series but I am into it and I feel that I’m getting a much better understanding on how I should go.

I have also written an important part of the second book of the series and had overcome so many plot issues I had with this second part of the story.

I am a writer and I am finally feeling that I’m doing exactly what I should do, what I love most.

I have to admit that on a personal plan, 2014 started for hubby and me with many difficulties and heartaches.

But this year ends in a grand manner. I am finally an Australian citizen, we are moving to our dream home next month and the best news of all, I’m pregnant!

I am looking forward to 2015 and a year of surprises!

Have you realised some of the goals you fixed yourself for this year? 

Au revoir! 

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The post The road to publication, part 8 – Wrap up of the year 2014 appeared first on The Crafty Expat, by Rita H. Azar.

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