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Thread: The PikeStance Experience (Life, Travels, and experiences)

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    PikeStance's Avatar ⚜️ Omnipresent ⚜️
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    Default The PikeStance Experience (Life, Travels, and experiences)

    Are You Experienced?

    INTRODUCTION
    With the discussion of the front page, I decided why not start a blog myself. I have never blogged per se, so I am not sure how this would all work out.
    Essentially, I will discuss my travels overseas, my teaching experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and family.
    Commentary Thread can be found HERE



    BIO
    My Profile Page
    Born:
    New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
    Resident: Relocating to Berlin AUGUST 2017
    Previous Residencies:
    Lafayette La, USA (1991-95) | New Orleans (95-2000) | Cote d'Ivoire (2000-01) | Chicago (2001-06) | Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (2006-08) | Dubai, UAE (2008-11) | Beijing, China (2011-12) | Shanghai (2012-2013) | Changchun China (2013-15) | Jakarta, Indonesia (2015-17) | Berlin, Germany Aug. 2017 -
    Marital Status: Divorced (currently in a serious relationship)
    Education: Post Graduate work in Education (University of New Orleans & Northeast Illinois University) |BA History with Minor in Psychology (University of Louisiana, Lafayette, La)
    Credentials: Teaching License from the State of Illinois (Endorsements: US History, World History, Political Science) | IB Training: MYP and DP Geography & History
    Occupation: Educator (Secondary social studies)
    Past Jobs: Sports Official (Soccer, Football, and Rugby) Pizza Delivery, Family business (Buying, selling and trading historical documents, images and artifacts)
    Hobbies & Leisure: Sports, modding, genealogy, wargaming, Golfing, Graphic Artist
    Favorite Sports/ Teams: American Football (New Orleans Saints) | Baseball (Chicago White Sox) | Football/Soccer (Arsenal) | Rugby (no declared team)
    Favorite Movies: Remember the Titans | Braveheart | School Ties | James Bond Films | Bourne Series | Mel Brooks films | Monty Python Films | Indiana Jones Series
    Favorite Music: Generally a little of everthing, but mainly- Hard Rock and Heavy Metal
    Political Views: Minarchism/ Anarchism - My Political Profile Post

    More to be added.....



    Places of Residence
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I have lived in the following locations

    New Orleans, La (1969-1991) (1995-2001)
    This is the place I was born and raised. My first and only love. There is no city like New Orleans on the planet. Though matter I go or live in the world, I always take New Orleans with me. I also attended the University of New Orleans on two separate occasions. First I studies here as an undergraduate then later I studies as a graduate to acquire my teaching license.

    Lafayette La. (1991- 1995)
    This is a great little time two hours to the west of New Orleans in the heart of 'Cajun' land. I attended the University of Louisiana and earned my BA in History with a minor in Psychology. My first coaching experience was here. Coaching U12 Boys soccer team. I was also encouraged by my "soccer moms" to pursue a career in teaching.

    Chicago, IL (2001-06)
    I originally went to Chicago for an interview to teach English in Japan. I thought while I was there I might as well apply for a teaching position for a school in Chicago. AS luck would have it, I was offered an interview. I interviewed for both jobs on the same day. That same evening, I was offered the job for a local all girls school in Chicago. I had to make a quick decision; do I take the sure thing or wait to hear about Japan. I took the sure thing. I would stay in Chicago for 5 years. I would eventually become a fan of the Chicago White Sox and watched them win their first World Series in a long time. This was also my second time in my life I have seen snow.

    Abidjan, Ivory Coast (2006-08)
    Again chance played a huge part here. I was looking for a job and by odd chance I started looking at international schools. I came upon an open position in the Ivory Coast, a country I served in the Peace Corps years before. The position stated that they could not afford to fly anyone to the country. On a whim, I wrote an email stating my interest in the country and a desire to return. I didn't expect an answer. As it turned out, the director was a former Peace Corps volunteer and was willing to offer me and my soon to be wife a job. I loved the Ivorian people. Very kind and friendly. I also loved most of the food! Great Chinese food...LOL The weather was nice as well.

    Dubai, UAE (2008-11)
    The Middle East was not our first choice, but we could not have made a better choice. The best international school I have worked at to date. The students were very respectful. The country was only unbearably hot in Aug/Sept and May/June. For the better part of the year, you can easily do outdoor activity, like go- carting, paintballing, golfing, etc... Everything and everyone spoke English, so it was easy to get around. The country was also very developed, so they have most conveniences like in the US. If there was hardship it was during Ramadan when everything shuts down. The down side is that Arab drivers drive like maniacs. The most dangerous thing you can do is cross a street where most drivers go at excessive speeds. There were several fatalities a year. Despite that, we only left because my wife didn't like her workload. Or else, we probably would still be there.

    Beijing, Shanghai and Changchun, China (2011-15)
    Beijing: The school suck! The pollution suck! The Taxi Suck! The food is the worse in China! (except a place called Nola's which served New Orleans styled food). I am glad we spend only one year here.
    Shanghai: A much better city. Taxis are nicer and the people are generally nicer. However, the city is more "western" in some ways than Chinese. This is when I got divorced. I also worked at an all Chinese boarding school.
    Changchun: People are nicest here. The city has over 7 million people, but it feels a small city. It is easy to get around and I do not live far from shopping and good restaurants. However, the only place where you are sure to find an English speaker is at Starbucks. Crazy right!?! The school started off great, but quickly turn sour.


    My Travels
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit in the past few years.
    Europe: London, England | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Paris, Alsace, France | Baden, Augsburg, Germany | Rome, Naples (Pompeii), Florence, Italy | Lucern, Switzerland | Budapest, Hungary | Vienna, Austria | Slovakia (just across the border).
    Americas: Bahamas | Canada
    Africa: Abidjan, Bassam, Ivory Coast | Accra, Ghana
    Southwest Asia: Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, UAE | Masadam, Oman | Qatar, Qatar
    East & Southeast Asia: Phukett, Chang Mai, Thailand | Phnom Phenn, Cambodia | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | Bali, Indonesia | Kyoto, Tokyo, Yokohama, Japan | Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun, Qi'an, Chengdu, Lijiang, Dali, Xishuangbanna, China
    United States: Louisiana | Texas | Iowa | Michigan | Mississippi | Alabama | Georgia | Florida | South Carolina | Tennessee | Virginia | New York | Massachusetts | San Francisco, CA |


    Occupation
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I am an international teacher
    I have taught;
    Abidjan, Ivory Coast (2006-2008)
    • 6-7-8 Grades: Geography | United States History
    • 9-10 Grades: United States History | World Cultures
    • 11-12 Grades African History | Political Science
    • 6-12 Physical Education
    • 6-7-8: English (2006)


    Dubai, United Arab Emirate (2008- 2011)

    • Grade 7: Choice- Environmental Issues | Order- Social Order | Balance- Social Inequality | System- Political Systems
    • Grade 8: Choice- Charity and Service | Order- Law and Order | Balance- Global Inequality | System- Economic Systems
    • Grade 9: Geography
    • Grade 10: Geography {2009-10} United States History {2009-11} Political Science {2011}
    • Grades 11 & 12: DP Geography


    Beijing, China (2011- 2012)
    • AP World History (10-12)
    • Economics (10-12)
    • Asian History / 2 sections (9)


    Shanghai, China (2012-2013)
    • United States History/ 2 sections (9)
    • World History (10)
    • American Government (10)
    • College Prep (10)


    Changchun, China (2013- 2015)
    • MYP 1 (6) Ancient History | Environmental Geography
    • MYP 2 (7) United States History | Cultural Geography
    • MYP 3 (8) Asian History | Human Geography {2013-14}
    • MYP 5 (10) Historiography | Human Geography {2014-15}
    • DP 1 & 2 (11-12) DP Geography


    Next Year, Jakarta, Indonesia

    • DP History
    • DP Geography (?) TBD - inaugural program
    • MYP classes: TBD Level and number to be determine 2/3 depending on if I teach Geography


    Prior to teaching internationally, I taught in Chicago from 2001- 2006
    I taught; Geography, religion, history, math, science, and English.


    Hobbies
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Gaming: Board Games | PC Strategy Games
    I have always enjoyed strategy gaming. My first experience was playing a battle with my friend with little cardboard pieces on a hexagonal map. From there, we started to play Risk all night long non- stop. Late, we played Conquest of the Empire, Fortress America, and of course, Axis and Allies. We also played Monopoly and Clue as well. Later, I learned how to play Go; a game developed in China. I am usually ranked between 5K- 8K on either KGS or IGS servers. My name is Pike if anyone is interested in playing or learning about the game.

    Genealogy
    Years ago, I did a lot of research on my family history. I am mostly French with some German and Irish.

    Golf
    I started playing a few years ago. Since moving to the Northeast of China I have no had many opportunities to play. Hopefully, the move to Indonesia will mean more play time.

    Sport Official
    Soccer: I was an official for over 15+ years. I lost officiated in Dubai. When I left the states I had experience officiating mostly top Amateur matches with one or two professional level matches (unofficial scrimmages).
    Football: 2 years officiating football. I was just starting with my first official "Sophomore" crew. The first step to doing varsity level matches. I was highly regarded due to my extensive experiences as a soccer official.
    Rugby: 2 years as well. I started off as a player. One of the players were an official. He heard that I was a soccer official and recruited me to do Rugby. I was new to the game, but I was getting better as referee. The players developed a nice respect for my efforts. I probably would had moved up the ranks quickly had I not moved to Africa.


    Modding
    I mostly mod DB tables concerning BAI and CAI behavior and mechanics.
    I work on Imperial Splendour (Empire Total War) and Age of Bronze (Total War Rome II)


    Forum and Debate
    I have been debating for many years starting in 1995. My name is indicative of how vehemently I argue my points. I consider myself retired from political/ social debates. However, I will still dabble here and there.

    Graphic Artist
    I very much lacking in artistic skills. I am also woeful at technical stuff. There is a long learning curve for me. I work tirelessly to hone my skills in these areas.
    Please visit my Galley HERE

    ......
    Last edited by PikeStance; July 09, 2017 at 11:57 AM.
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    Default Re: The PikeStance Experience (Life, Travels, and experiences)

    THEN AND NOW

    Part I: Lost and Found
    It is ashamed I am only starting this now. I have over 15 years worth of travel and enumerable experiences to convey. I have been married, divorced, and soon to be remarried. More on that later. How did I get here?

    In my darker days if you had told me that I would travel has much as I have, then I would had thought you were crazy. A funny story, I once paid a psychic in the French Quarter who said that I would travel extensively. I thought she was crazy. My dark days were actually pass me at the time, but I still thought it was impossible to think. I was also told I would not marry until my 30s and I thought that was crazy because I was in a serious relationship at the time. My 30s were 5 years away. Little did I know, the relationship would end within 5 months of that reading. Funny, she never bothered to mentioned that.

    A key moment in life came much sooner than that. At the time, I was frequent drug user. I had a friend who was into doing crack cocaine. The moment of change came to me when he scrambled around the room picking up every conceivable 'thing' on the floor and preceded to try to smoke it. With each failed attempt, he became more agitated and aggressive. After that incident I went back to college. I went from average student to making the dean's list. My friend would fall deeper into drugs ruining his relationship with his girlfriend and with his family. The Plain simple fact, drugs are a dead end. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply fooling themselves. I would go on to earn a BA in History. However, my journey was far from assured success. The incident did proved to be a kick start for me. I wish it had come sooner. But is life, if not filled with regret and missed opportunity. But life isn't just that; I will come to meet all challenges and eventually go from being a disappointment to be admiration.

    Please continue to join me on my reflections of my past!
    Last edited by PikeStance; March 05, 2015 at 04:40 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: The PikeStance Experience (Life, Travels, and experiences)

    THEN AND NOW

    Part II: Life As A Mustang


    My 'signature' songs /videos of my life at this time period that puts things into perspective


    I was afforded the luxury of financial security and a far too forgiving parents. Fortunately it was not a future destroying time period. It is interesting how I read college students on here being so studious when I was far from that. I went from drunken fool to personal stagnation. The freedom allowed me to fill my every whim whether productive or not; mostly not. In this period, I coached several youth soccer teams, started sports officiating and even ran an adult soccer league. I actually started off as a player. However, the league needed someone to organize it because the person responsible had to suddenly leave. One of the factors on why I took on took on the responsibilities was because I suffered one of many injuries to my ankles playing soccer/ football.

    As a soccer/football, I managed to letter my senior year. However, I was very fortunate. My sophomore season I lost out as a starting left back. My junior season I spent most of my time injured and as a bench player. By chance, we were lacking offensive players, so I was pressed into service as a left winger (we played a 4-3-3). Somehow, I impressed my coaches and started that week. My career as a forward was launched. My senior year, we lost our best attacking player to injury and as a result we drew as many games we won and loss. {something like 2-4-2). After high school, I played sparingly. Inspired by the 1994 World Cup, I started to play again. It didn't take long for me to injure my ankle once again. Of course, just when I formed a team and was ready to play seriously again. As fate will have it, I would start coaching.

    This turn out to be a major turning point. Coaching is what got me into teaching and sports officiating. My first team was an U12 boys team
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As fate will have it, there was three mothers on the team that were teachers. They were impressed with how I was with the kids, they encouraged me to get into teaching. At the time, I thought they were nuts. AS it turned out, I should had listened to them from the beginning. I like to tell people that I got into officiating because I was frustrated with the officiating of my games. While that is partially true, it isn't the complete story. I was in a magazine shop when there was a top level referee telling stories of his officiating experiences. In the middle of these stories he mentioned about an entry level clinic being offered. I wasn't yet convinced this was what I wanted to do, but I figure it will give me valuable insight to how referees think when they officiate. I would go on to officiate for over 15 years. I would eventually obtain the State 5 level referee before moving overseas. The highest level game I officiated was a preseason game as an assistant referee between a Div 3. and a A league team in the US. I also officiated as an AR college club soccer and tryouts for the local A- league team in New Orleans. I was told I was being groomed to do higher level games before I moved to Chicago for a job. In any event, sports officiating was something I did to make money to do other things between the time period I earned my BA and actually having a job. In fact, for almost a year after graduating, I essentially did nothing as if I was still in college. I was able to travel to Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama for top level tournaments.

    It wasn't as though I was unproductive. I did get into webpage design and creation. In fact, I convinced my father to create a website for his business and I convinced him to use eBay as a way of moving his stuff that didn't sell right away. My father was quite stubborn, I pretty much had to convince my mother first, then create it then show him to convince him. eBay was not much different. The sad thing is I pretty much forgotten everything I had learn, but not to mentioned, much of what I knew is now outdated.

    Apart from working with my dad with his business (which was history related), I did manage to go back to school to become a teacher. The kicker was three people. My girlfriend a the time, my best friends girlfriend and my sister. Since I had so much time on my hands, I helped raised my sister's kids; two boys. They both see me as like a second father even today. My girlfriend was 10 years older than me and she had a daughter from her previous marriage. Despite a very rocky beginning, she would prefer that I help her with her homework. All three encouraged me to go into teaching. With their encouragement, I apprehensively took some classes. The first class I took had us observe and then under guidance, teach one class. I was nervous as heck. I didn't really it was humanly possible to sweat that much. However, my the end, I was hooked. I really enjoyed the experience. Later, when I was a student teacher. I asked my cooperating teacher does the nerves ever go away. He lied! He said they didn't. However, it did help me. He turned out to be a great mentor and friend.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As you can see it was an all girls catholic school. The funny thing is my mentor was a hardcore cigar smoker, but I would not start to spoke cigars for another 15 years.

    My freedom also allowed me to indulge in online activities. At fist, I was into the chats, then later I was message boards, then later listservs. My progression towards anarchism began here. I actually started of listening to Rush Limbaugh. In fact, in my worse period I started listening to him. This is back when I spent most of my time painting miniatures because I was into miniature wargames at the time. I was horrible painter. More on this later. I would identify myself as conservaive, though I would deny like Thomas the apostle. One guy actually identify me as a "goddamn conservative." The irony is I was actually pretty socially liberal. Years later, during the republican primaries, I found myself without anyone I could identify with. I even looked to the democrats. I actually read a speech by Clinton at a conservative democrats meeting (don't ask me when or where though, I do not recall). Years later, when the conservative media called him a liberal, I had a good laugh. Anyway, on the internet, I found my home; the Libertarian Party.

    When I first joined I did everything to help promote my new party. I went to conventions and passed out the "World's Smallest Quiz" in the hopes of first identifying potential libertarians, but then trying to convince them to join the LP. I also campaigned for LP candidates in local elections by handing out fliers to passersby. I also promoted the principles of libertarianism online.

    One question I always get is why the name PikeStance. In the early days I often shorten it to Pike. In fact, I am still known as Pike on some areas of the internet. I am also known as St. Pike or Saint Pike or American football forums, since I am a New Orleans Saints fan. People often asked if I am named after the fraternity that shares the nickname or the fish. The Pike refers to man's early weapon. A weapon still in use today, though its role has be presserved for ceremonial uses only. However, hunting and gathering society still use the weapon today. The Stance refers to how Pikeman stand in a defensive posture. In essence, it represents both the sharpness of my argument and my vigor in my defense of my position. It proved to be a fitting moniker. Funny, despite my "retirement" and my timidity in discussion, I am still accused of being aggressive. If you want to know how I was in the past consider that. I could be a real SOB back in the day. I am not bragging, I am really quite embarrassed by my behavior. Ironically, despite my vigor, I was still consider a gentleman debater! I was asked on several occasion to write for various publications. I also served for two years as a moderator on AOL. Of course, it is easy to do these things when you 'work' for the family business, referee in the afternoon and weekends, and attend school part- time.

    That pretty much sums up my moment of luxury. It ended when I moved to Chicago in 2001.
    In this time, I went from drinking and doing drugs to excess to very little. I went from uncertainty and a lack of direction to new found path to life. While this may have been the worse part of my life, it formed the basis on who I would become. Personally, I don't think I would change it much. If I were to change it, I may not come to travel as extensively has I would have later in life. I like where I am at now, though I do have some regrets in pains I would had liked to change.



    Thanks you for reading...
    Last edited by PikeStance; March 06, 2015 at 10:38 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: The PikeStance Experience (Life, Travels, and experiences)

    THEN AND NOW

    Part III: The Pains of Loss & Sacrifice



    There were to important women I dated/ married thus far.
    The first person I was in a serious relationship with was 9 years my senior. I was 25 at the time. She also had a young daughter. She was 6-7 years old.
    I dated this women for a year, but it was a very close relationship. She was a newly divorced women who's husband cheated. He would married that same women. At 25 I was a little experience dating a divorce women with hurtful past. I should had guessed when I discovered that she attended one of those "non- denominational" Churches. You know the type. The type that have people who would get up and run away the church yelling something. On one visit, a women got up, went to the alter, and laid down for virtually the entire mass. It was a surreal experience growing up Roman Catholic. I have heard of this stuff happening at "renewal" events with my own church, but those people seemed odd to me. The person I was with didn't carry on like that, except when they came to part where every one "spoke in tongue." I honestly do not buy that. The "minister" did it too, but he repeated the same sounding gibberish to me. I guess you can say I wasn't overcome by the Holy Spirit. Anyway, I wasn't too concern since she was apologetic for what I have seen.

    The daughter and I got off inauspiciously. I enters the home while family was visiting from out of town and she said; "Oh no that man again! I don't like that man" It was only to get worse. I happened to have a nephew about the same age as her. I thought a perfect way to get into her good graces. Well, I am the fool. My nephew became insanely jealous of her. Well, you see, I was very close to him. I would pick them up after school. I would do their homework with them, I would coach them in soccer, take them to laser tag, the movies and everything else. He didn't see this girl as a playmate, but as a rival. He was incredibly mean to her. In the long run it probably help foster a closer relationship. As I healed her hurt feelings her attitude towards me improved. Plus my younger nephew liked her. As a child of divorce parents, she often sought approval. She would often asked to play with my nephews even though the older one wasted no opportunity to be mean. The younger nephew loved playing with her, so, in the end, it all worked out.

    The key on my part is I always took the high road whenever she was nasty towards me. I also didn't put up with her attitude. Her mother, my girlfriend, acted like a typical divorce parent competing with the ex for love and affection, and were, at times, too lenient. She would often comment that I was too strict. The table was turned when the daughter expressed her preference that I help her with her homework. To make a long story short, I spent a lot of time with the both of them and bonded with the girl. I thought her as my daughter and she asked if she could call me Uncle. Given how we started, I was thrilled.

    Eventually the relationship would end and till this day, I do not know was was most heart breaking, the loss of my girlfriend or the loss of my 'daughter'. I think of her often and on occasion I make a vain attempt to find her on facebook. Every time I get a friend request, I often look to if it could be her.

    Years later, I would meet the person I would eventually married. She told me fairly early in the relationship that she didn't want kids. At first, I was really upset, but I really liked being with her, so I made the sacrifice. It was one sacrifice too many. The relationship was doomed from the start. It was primarly based on sex. We mostly disagreed about music, philosophy of life, and interest. Ironically, I did developed an interest in art, but she steadfastly refused to understand my interests. She would often mock them. Near the end of the relationship we argued about every little thing. She would often say the most insensitive things to me and if I mildly made any constructive criticism she acted as though I said the most cruel thing. Ultimately, by the time we were divorced I don't think she liked me much. The irony is we probably would had separated back in 2006. In 2006 we moved to Africa; it was difficult at first and we would often get drunk supporting each other. It was the closets we ever been. In 2007, we got married (which is another story all by itself). After we moved to Dubai, it was a slow decline quickened when we moved to China.

    As it is right now I am 45 years old and I do not have any children. A regret that I will have. The upside is that I am currently dating a younger women interested in kids. I may still yet have one. However, the sacrifice was one too many. When in marriage counseling, it was revealed that the three biggest issues in a failing marriage are [1] children [2] money [3] sex. We had issues with two. Yes, ironically, my wife lost her libido. Apparently, that was my fault too. Money wasn't an issue, but I had to argue to get anything I wanted. One of the reasons I have so many Total war games now is I don't have to hear her nagging i am spending too much time and money.

    You want good advice: NEVER SACRIFICE! Do not marry for sex; it never lasts and it is hardly a basis fora relationship. Do not get me wrong, it is important, but it can't be the primary reason. Youn eed to love her personality. You need to appreciate her humor. You need to know her character (if they are pretty but is a crap person character wise, you will be miserable). If she TAKES and never GIVE, the RUN. If she is not over the last guy, RUN. I dated two women on the rebound and they both turned out bad. You will be tempted to hate them, but really the signs are there. DO NOT IGNORE THEM!

    Thanks for reading.... would love to hear comments.


    Last edited by PikeStance; April 02, 2015 at 04:08 AM.
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    Proposed the Following for PHALERA: Mangalore & sumskilz | OPIFEX: wangrin, z3n, and Swiss Halberdier


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  5. #5
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    Default Re: The PikeStance Experience (Life, Travels, and experiences)

    THEN AND NOW

    Part IV: Pike the Jetsetter: The fun, the not so fun and the 'this sucks' problems of living overseas.



    Content Coming soon
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