Archive for the ‘Adam in Norway’ Category


Adam: Goodbye Norway. Tusen takk.

November 26, 2009

After I returned from Tromsø, the countdown was on. Home was just around the corner. The last week of my semester abroad was fast and random.

Our last few day of classes really focused on wrapping up our Norwegian experience and included a visit to the US Embassy. Much like our visit to the Embassy in Stockholm, our speaker was very rah-rah America. He was also very blunt about Norwegians being a bit too idealistic and naive when it comes to international politics. Snap!

Tuesday was an early morning as we had our Norwegian final to do. It was not too difficult, but after a semester of writing papers, it was odd to just fill in the blank. Later that afternoon, we had our oral exam. Astrid came a little early and brought us a marzipan cake and coffee, because she had to reinforce that she is the world’s best Norwegian teacher.

My last two days were spent at a cabin, which required a two-hour hike to get to. My fave. The stay was a part of class and was meant to be a way for all of us to say goodbye. Instead, it ended up being a really relaxing night that didn’t really include any closure. It did include an intense dance party that consisted of Sonja and I dancing and sweating. A lot.

I actually didn’t feel like I needed closure, since it didn’t feel like I was saying goodbye. Sonja and I plan on seeing each other a lot since we both go to the U. And I enjoy Erika and Kirby’s company enough that I would be more than happy to road trip down to Ohio or Massachusetts to pay them a visit. Also, it’s only matter of time before Lisa and Charlotte come over from Germany and embark on a journey through the States, including Missouri.

My journey home was a long one, but my excitement made it relatively enjoyable. My eight-hour flight from Oslo to Newark was full of movies and sleeping. Going through customs wasn’t nearly as scary as I had originally imagined. And the ghetto little plane I took from Jersey to Minneapolis didn’t blow up or rattle itself a part. I ended up making it home in one piece!

It’s hard for me to believe I did so much in the last semester. I learned a lot about Norway, travelled all over and experienced some amazing things! I mean, I lived it, but I can’t believe that was my life for three and half months.

Now that I’m home, I plan to enjoy my two months off and to see all the people I have missed. My adventure doesn’t stop, it continues. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to go abroad and have such an amazing time!

Tusen takk, Norway. You were great! Ha det bra!


Adam: Meanwhile, in Oslo

November 14, 2009

My lips are super chapped, which only means one thing: Winter weather is here. But, this year I’m actually prepared with my lip balm and hat and gloves. My mother would be so proud.

As I’ve mentioned before, I finished my last paper a few weeks ago and only have a couple readings to do before the semester ends. Looking back, we really have learned just about everything there is to know about Oslo. In fact, we’ve so wrapped up in Oslo’s business, it would probably file a restraining order if we were not leaving soon.

Also, even though it was a lot of work, my Norwegian course was absolutely worth taking. Not because I can now lightly converse with Norwegians, but because of Astrid. She’s one of those teachers that makes it clear that she loves what she does, ya know?

Tuesday night she gave Kirby, Sonja and me another private lesson that again included cake and fruit. It makes it a lot easier to study Norwegian for two hours straight when cake is involved. We only have a few more classes left until our final exam, which spans Monday and Tuesday. Blurg.

I had the final day of my internship at Utrop Wednesday. We unofficially celebrated my time there by eating fish burgers (or at least that’s what the package said). Super classy and magically delicious. I was informed that my story about Norwegian language courses made the front page of the current issue. Super neat-o! I plan on getting a stack of copies. I’m lucky President Obama’s visit is a couple weeks away, otherwise I probably would have been bumped.

We make another visit to Parliament tomorrow to meet with a member of the Progressive Party, which brings in young voters through pledges of lowering alcohol tax. Yeah, this is the situation.

This weekend is an excursion to Tromsø, which is located in Northern Norway. Sadly, it has not snowed enough or at all really, so we will not be dog sledding as originally planned. However, we still plan on staying in a tent and trying to see the Northern Lights. I guess they said we could walk the dogs if we’d like. I miss my Rosie, so that will probably happen.


Adam: Homestay away from home

November 11, 2009

This past weekend, Becky and I headed to Stavanger (located in Southern Norway) for a homestay. This was a trip for class, but much like The Stock and The Cope, it was pretty relaxing.

After yet another lengthy train ride, we were greeted at the train station by our host parents (or host grandparents as I prefer to call them) John and Marta. I could tell I would like Marta right out of the gate, since she’s tiny and has a rockin’ pair of Dior glasses. John got an automatic pass as well since the first thing he suggested we do was eat. You got me. We stopped at a restaurant not too far from the station and ate the first of many typical Norwegian dishes. My huge plate consisted of lamb, potatoes, some veggies and fish balls. Yum-o.

After lunch we went to what would be home for the weekend. They’re house was very cozy and our rooms were great. Mine was the entire basement and Becky’s was a loft that was the entire upstairs. Very big.

It was a pretty quiet first night. We got a quick tour of Stavanger in the car, although I was absolutely exhausted and started to fall asleep a bit. But, I got the gist of it. After returning home, we had a light dinner and then pretty much just went to sleep.

The next day, we had a few scholarly activities planned. We first visited the refugee asylum and got a tour of the facilities. We did the same thing in Oslo, and both times I imagine the residents are thinking, “Who the hell are you?!” The Stavanger Cathedral was our next stop. It was quiet and empty, but oddly enough the newly named Bishop Erling Johan Pettersen was there doing a television interview. John wanted to bust in on it.

Bishop Pettersen was very nice and even told me he had studied in Little Falls, MN for a year. Small world. Later that day, John told us that friends and family had been contacting him after seeing us on the national news. I’m pretty sure it was just the back of my head that was on NOR1, which is a pity since I wasn’t having a great hair day.

We then met up with Erika and Lexi at the Norwegian Missionary School. They were staying in Sandnes with Dr. Owen Hunt’s doppelganger and his wife. The Missionary School wasn’t Creep City, Utah like I originally imagined. Our speaker talked a lot about just helping people out and not necessarily pushing religion down their throats. If a Mormon heard this, there would have been some major eye rolling.

And the fun didn’t stop there. Far from it. We still had the canning museum to visit. Before oil, canning was Stavanger’s main source of income. Oddly enough, it turned out to be our favorite part of the day. We were the only ones in there and got a private tour filled with fun facts about the process. Did you know if food is properly canned, it can last up to 100 years? I didn’t. Our field trips were done for the day after the thrill of the canning museum and we just took it easy until dinner. Dinner was two rounds of salmon and potatoes. Awesome!

Then came the most random night of my life. John and Marta had arranged for us to hang out with a young Stavangerian who offered to take us out on the town. Our host parents dropped us off at Margerete’s around 8 p.m.. It was very reminiscent of junior high. John even knocked on the door and made sure she was there.

Becky and I arrived in our regular clothes and Margrethe was… not. Looking like a million bucks, she was wearing a very short, sparkly black dress (presumably from H&M) along with matching 5 inch heels. So, it was going to be one of those nights.

Once inside, we were introduced to Margrethe’s friends. Margrethe is 19 and works at a salmon farm a little ways out of Stavagner. Some of her friends were from work and others were from around the area. I don’t really remember anyone’s name, but if you’re reading this and you’re the girl that looks like a young Tracey Ullman and kept wanting to wear my glasses, you were my fave!

After a while we went to Opera, a bar everyone was pronouncing “Oprah.” We all just cut a rug to the Black Eyed Peas and other rando pop songs. It was a good time. Seriously though, the most random night of my life.

Our final full day consisted of a long car ride through the mountains. We got to see a lot of beautiful scenery and take lots of pictures. John sure can talk and had many, many, many fun facts to share about Stavanger. And I mean many, many, many.

That evening the four of us devoured a huge bowl of fresh shrimp. John had picked it up that morning and it was only a pile of heads, tails and antennas when we were through. We ended the night by watching You’ve Got Mail (or Du har e-post). The Norwegian subtitles helped me study for my Norwegian final that is just around the corner. Much like the book shop Meg Ryan owns in the movie. Anyone catch that?

After our final breakfast, we boarded the train back to Oslo. John and Marta truly gave us the best Norwegian experience imaginable. I mean, the food alone. They’re very nice people and I was happy we had the opportunity to spend time with them.


Adam: The Stock and The Cope

November 6, 2009

It was goodbye to The Os and hello to The Stock and The Cope. Evidently, in addition to a vast knowledge of Scandinavian culture, I have become a pro at abbreviating everything.

This visit was a field trip that was a part of class, but let’s be real, it was a vacation. I mean, we had reading to do and places to visit, but it was a nice departure from the… excitement of normal classes.

The adventure began early Saturday morning when we boarded a six-hour train ride to Stockholm. After arriving we went directly to our hostel, which was located in a great part of the city. We were all hungry and quickly indulged in true Swedish cuisine: Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Later that night, we paid a visit to the Absolut Ice Bar. Since the entire bar is made of ice we had to put specially made ponchos before entering. Inside, we enjoyed specialty cocktails in glasses, also made of ice. It could not have been more of a tourist spot, but it was totally worth it.

As I said earlier, our hostel was in a great location. It was close to a number of places we visited, but the best part was the breakfast in the morning. Shock! It was a typical Swedish spread: Bread, cheese, meats, etc. After wolfing down as much as possible, we would all make another sandwich and pack it away for lunch. Not super classy, but that’s the way we roll in SUST. And considering how expensive Scandinavia is, I had nothing but pride when wrapping my daily salami, cheese and cucumber sandwich in a paper napkin. Delish.

Other highlights included a visit to the Stockholm City Hall (we were able to get an idea of what it would be like to attend the Nobel Prize dinner. Though, only the losers in literature and science are in The Stock, while President Obama will be in Oslo), The Nordic Museum (even though we were all ready to PTFO) and the United States Embassy.

The girls did not care for Public Affairs Officer Ryan Koch, because they thought he was, “A tool bag.” I, on the other hand, enjoyed what he had to say about working for the State Department as well as the praise he had for Secretary Clinton. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s the only reason he was ok in my book… Well, that and the free pens.

Wednesday morning we boarded another six-hour train to Copenhagen. There’s a bridge that connects Sweden with Denmark and along the way is Denmark’s impressive windtower… field?

We didn’t waste any time and quickly set off for the Danish National Gallery. The gallery was large and had many impressive works of art, however most of Sonja and my time was spent pretending to be Jedi Masters in front of the automatic sliding doors. I wish I could say I’ve become super worldy on this trip, but this sort of confirms the opposite, huh?

Highlights of The Cope included stops at the University of Copenhagen’s Eskimology and Arctic Studies department (yes, a very practical major), Nordic Council of Ministers (one of the best offerings of food at any field seminar), Christiana (the self-proclaimed “not a part of Copenhagen” town that is infamous for its hash) and the Danish Parliament.

It was interesting to hear about Danish politics, specifically how Denmark was a huge supporter of President Bush’s policies. Socialist People’s Party Secretary Lars Brandstrup said they were “the US’ appendix.” Who knew? Also, Brandstrup was very blunt about their attrocious immigration policies as well as their generaous foreign aid being a way to keep immigrants out. What a mess.

We left the crazy partying to Sonja and Erika who raged it at the Basement Jaxx concert our final night while Lexi, Becky and I saw Julie and Julia. Oh boy, Meryl Streep can do no wrong.

Our final night turned out to be when daylight savings time occured, so many of us ended up getting up an hour early, which after our long trip was… just lovely. It was also a very rainy day, so it turned out to be a good travel day. And minus the bus transfer and Burger King chicken sandwich that did not agree with me, it was a great trip back to the merry old land of Os.


Adam: Back from Ireland

October 10, 2009

Shockingly it was not hard to get back into this whole school thing after my Irish adventure.

At the beginning of the week we watched Izzat. The film follows the story of Wasim and his journey from a down-and-out Pakistani immigrant in Norway to a down-and-out gansta. It was actually a pretty interesting film.

In fact, the director of the film, Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen, came into class to discuss what we thought of the film and its themes. You know, since we’re experts. I found it funny though, because he knew we were watching the film after finding our syllabus online… I’m guessing he must have Google searched himself.

Tuesday we made a visit to the Nordic Black Theatre, which is located next to the beautiful new opera house… On a boat. Actually, it’s a theatre/cafe/bed and breakfast. We met with Artistic Director Cliff Moustache (I hope that is his birth name) and had a great discussion about the theatre. He was quite a compelling talker and really made me miss the Guthrie. (As well as the money I make working there.)

While at my internship Wednesday I was shown an opinion piece  by Editor-in-Chief Majoran Vivekananthan wrote. He talked about how the Norwegian government says it promotes integration, but really only offers immigrants the option to assimilate. Apparently, he’s been in the media and on television. Pretty neat-o.

I was then asked to write my own opinion piece of my experience in Norway, which, not gonna lie, is awesome. I think I’m not sure what I will specifically be writing about, but I hope to incorporate my confusion on Norway’s obsession with hot dogs.

Since Kirby, Sonja and I missed a week of Norwegian, Grandma Astrid, as Sonja lovingly calls her (behind her back, of course), offered to give us a make-up session Friday. As if that wasn’t nice enough, she made an entire cake and brought grapes! Cake and grapes! This woman is unreal.

We head to the Stock and the Cope next weekend for a 10-day trip. Kirby and I plan to see Mamma Mia! while in Copenhagen. This is something that needs to happen!


Adam: My friend, Oslo

September 16, 2009

I love Oslo like it’s a person and think it has an infinite number of things that are advanced, smart and just all around awesome, but stopping public transportation at 12:30 a.m. has got to go. We have had to walk home many times, but Saturday’s walk was a little over an hour. So ridic.

Though, we did hear a lot of great music while walking though downtown. Not in da clubz (I have yet to find a Norwegian bar that plays good music), but from street performers. I wouldn’t say any of them looked particularly homeless, but if they were, American hobos need to take a lesson from these guys. I mean, one guy was rocking to Bon Jovi with an amp and everything.

When I started Norwegian I thought it would be a bit of a drag, but our teach Astrid totally makes it worth it. As I previously stated, Astrid is Helen Mirren’s doppelganger, and even though I’m guessing she doesn’t have an Oscar, I’m gonna say she’s twice as fabulous. She has brought the entire class chocolate and coffee twice, is a bigger enviornmental nut than Al Gore, and has flawless hair everyday. Flawless. She has a very practical approach to teaching, which makes remembering this stuff a lot easier. Plus, she loves me.

SUST classes are great as well. Sure, they’re a lot more work than I’d like while abroad, but I realized the other day that I may pull off spectacular grades this semester… Unexpected bonus.

Norwegian Parliamentary Elections were held Monday, which resulted in the re-election of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Intersting fact: Norway bans the sale of alcohol on election day, though the real news is that election coverage is not nearly glitzy (that’s right, glitzy) as it is In the good ol’ US of A. There were a few election parties, but I actually found out the results the next day from the New York Times. Needless to say, it was not anything like Obamania.


Adam: Passing Not Running Up Bills

September 15, 2009

I’ve been in Norway for over a month! Or rather, I haven’t had Starbucks in over a month… Instead of talking about joining or not joining the European Union, Norwegian government needs to address the issue of not having my number one addiction anywhere in sight. I’m not saying they have to be on every corner, but one wouldn’t hurt.

Monday we visited the Norwegian Parliament for class. Since I geek out for anything that has to do with government, this was the best field seminar yet. We got a tour of both chambers of parliament and even got to sit in the chairs. Again, probably not that thrilling to the other ladies, but the photos taken of me show just how excited I was.

Also, we learned though the media Tuesday that we arrived at parliament right after a bit of a showdown between the leaders of three political parties. Honestly, we talked about it at the beginning of class, so I wasn’t really paying attention, but I guess a lady named Erna Solberg was peeved by something these two other bros did, and something, something, something…. This story sounded so much more interesting in my head, but that’s probably because I imagined it as a true rumble. I suggest you do the same.

Living in Sogn continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. Well, except for doing laundry. The washing machines are confusing and the dryers seem to do everything else, but dry your clothes. German friend Lisa and myself make dinner a lot, and by dinner I mean a lot of pasta with cream sauce. Obviously, this is a complete disaster and I need to start eating healthy Norwegian things, like veggies and fish. So that’s what I’m going to do. Tomorrow. Or the next day, I swear.

Time is flying by real fast and planning/anticipating various trips only seems to speed it up. In addition to Dublin, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, plans for Bergen and, as previously mentioned, Tromø are on the table. Traveling around Europe is obviously worth it, but the key is to find everything on the cheap. Ryan Air is a great go to for flights (it’s what Erika and I are taking to Ireland), although since they are so cheap, I’m picturing  tiny, shaky, explosion-prone planes.

I finally feel as though I’m figuring out how to stretch a buck here. What’s my secret? Being frugal. There’s a little convenience store that’s really close to class and has the most amazing warm, filling bread-thing filled with tuna and peppers for a mere 20kr. A steal, as the kids say. Although, and this goes back to eating like a garbage disposal, they’re probably not the healthiest thing in the world and it didn’t feel great when the worker who I see everyday knew what I wanted when I walked in the door.

Things feel familiar and comfortable and usually include eating and enjoying everything Oslo has to offer. I can’t complain.


Adam: Berlin

September 3, 2009

I have officially moved into my new apartment. Norway is such a brighter place now that I live in Sogn with people who verbalize and are under the age of 35. Kirby and I had one heck of a downhill journey from Kringsjå to Sogn which included carrying bags that weighed a total of a million pounds, or 453,592.37 kilograms, as Europeans and the rest of the world would say.

It was totally worth it though and my Ikea furnished room is absolutely wonderful! We celebrated on Sunday with a brunch that contained the number of calories one would find in an entire IHOP kitchen.

I’ve pretty much become an honorary German citizen, since they are the nationality I come into contact with the most. As John F. Kennedy would say, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” or “I’m a jelly donut.” Google it. The Germans are keen on travel as well, so plans of visiting Tromsø (to see the Northern Lights) and Bergen (to eat shrimp along the coast) are in the works. After reading this random blog it is all of our dreams to dogsled while in Tromsø. I know, dog sledding. Typical me.

I’m very excited to have the opportunity to travel outside of Oslo and see this as my first step in becoming a true jet setter and replacing Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel.

Friday a few of us went to the final concert of Accidents Never Happen, an Oslo treasure. Their opening acts were complete messes. The first was a performance artist, a term I use when I don’t know what they are, who played one continuous song. Everyone else in the audience seemed to dig it, but I couldn’t even pretend to be interested. The second guy was a DJ who seemed to be having a better time than the audience…

Finally, Accidents Never Happen came out and rocked and rolled through six or seven songs before waving a final goodbye to their die-hard fans. Upon completion of their disbanding, naturally, a remix of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” began. Everyone knew the words (We are in Scandinavia, after all) and danced their Nordic hearts out.

Class continues to be enjoyable whilst getting in the way of other things I would like to do. It proves to be really interesting and celebrates my gift of over analyzing.

We got our monthly stipend today. I feel like I have a handle on what is a good price (not that this really exists in Oslo), so I’m confident that I can make it last for four weeks. Let me just say this. Since I have come over here I have seen at least four stories on HuffPost about Oslo being the most expensive city to live in. Oh, it is, but I get it, Arianna Huffington. Don’t you have a Republican to attack or a two day-old story to post?

Tomorrow I continue in my quest of becoming Norway’s Anderson Cooper at my internship with Utrop and will see if I actually have a story… It’s intimidating to write something about something I don’t really know about.


Adam: Jeg snakker litt norsk.

August 28, 2009

It was a week of firsts. Norwegian class has been a real hoot. Obviously, there are tons of international students in our class trying to “snakker norsk,” as the kids say. I have a limited knowledge of the language, so it’s pretty easy for me, but there are some classmates of mine who can barely speak English.

Sonja and I aren’t in the same class, but she said there is an Italian girl who has an English dictionary to decipher what Astrid (our fabulous, Helen Miren look-alike teacher) is saying. What a mess. Astrid emphasizes the importance of correct pronunciation all while making old people jokes about herself. She also cakes on the make-up, which I absolutely love! Hopefully I’ll be able to snap a picture with her before the semester is over, but we’ll have to see.

I also started my internship Wednesday with Utrop, Norway’s first multi-cultural newspaper. My supervisor, Are Vogt, took me on a tour of the office and introduced me to the staff. Are explained that Utrop gives a voice to the multi-cultural citizens of Norway (namely Oslo) while not being overly sympathetic. It is a news organization after all.

After the introduction to all that is Utrop, Are sort of just pushed me into the deep end. He assigned me a story about “krafttak for norskopplæring” which is an initiative to get immigrants to learn Norwegian. There is going to be a change in the way the state pays for people’s tuition in 2010, so there will most likely be a big push to get people to enroll in a class as soon as possible, while it’s still free for them.

I made some class and sent some e-mails, and learned that it sucks not speaking Norwegian. Everyone knows English, but I feel bad when I say, “Beklager, jeg snakker ikke norsk” (“Sorry, I don’t speak Norwegian.”) Well, now I guess I could say, “Jeg snakker litt norsk.” Nevertheless, I hope I have a good start to my whirlwind career as a Norwegian journalist.

Tuesday night was pretty remarkable. After going to Mono Cafe, we stopped at McDonald’s. And after three weeks of bland food and disappointment, I now know that a cheeseburger and fries equals complete and utter bliss. The French kids we were with got a good laugh as they believe that Americans can’t possibly live without McDonald’s. Let’s be real, we can’t.

Side note: Ted Kennedy’s death made the front page over here, which was the first American news I had seen outside of CNN and HuffPost. Major bummer.

Tomorrow will be a day-o-homework and then a group of us are going to a concert in Grünerløkka, which has quickly become a hot spot. A lot of cute cafes and oh, so trendy.

Also, Kirby and I might move a little further towards campus to Sogn Studentby. We have a lot of friends there and it’s basically like switching dorm buildings. No big. It’s a little closer to campus and it has more T-Bane trains that go to it, which would give us more time and cut out the embarrassing running we do to catch the one that goes by Kringsjå.

We’d be moving in with our German BFF Charlotte and a few others, but Kirby doesn’t want me to be so optimistic. Oprah says that we should all embrace The Secret, meaning we should imagine ourselves already living there, having a blast. Maybe I’m jinxing us, but we’ll find out tomorrow.


Adam: “Now walk away. Strong and Frugal.”

August 25, 2009

The third week of my Norwegian adventure has officially begun.

I really enjoy studying abroad, except for the actual “studying” part. Although, much like at home, being in class keeps me from spending money. Especially the money I don’t have. I’m trying to be as frugal as possible. I hear Norway is really expensive… (Over the top eye roll)

Classes basically involves speaking from our perspective about Norway and the rest of the world. No sweat. There’s a lot of reading that we’re supposed to reference in class, but that’s easier said than done. We’re a very opinionated group, so it’s kind of like being on The View: Norwegian Edition. A real dream come true.

The best part of the educational portion of this trip is our “field seminars” which includes fascinating excursions into Oslo. We checked out the Nobel Peace Center for class Wednesday. After checking out a photography exhibit, we got a guided tour of the center. I thought 2007 recipient Al Gore might give the tour, but we had to settle for the Norwegian Diane von Fürstenberg. It was a very interesting tour and the highlight was the exhibit of Alfred Nobel, which featured a book that made windows frost/defrost and dynamite sounds. Sheer magic!

This weekend included a concert that many, many French kids said would be a real hoot. Note to self: French people reeeeeeeally like techno. Birdy Nam Nam is a group of four broskis who DJ their hearts out on their MacBook Pros. They also make me feel incredibly unhip, or un-French, as I kept wondering why their “phat beatz” had to be so loud.

Sunday was much more quiet and relaxing. Kirby and I met up with some Germans and checked out a festival which had a little flea market and cheap Chinese food. Definitely a highlight of the entire trip. We were super cool and had coffee outside of a cafe, walked outside in a beautiful garden, and almost went to the circus that was in town. They charged a lot for admission, so we had to pull ourselves away.

Punctuality is Norway’s middle name…. Or maybe its last name. Either way, it’s been difficult to not just saunter to the T-Bane stop at my leisure. Instead, I have to make sure I’m there to at the exact time the train pulls into the station. FYI: Oslo’s transportation system does not mess around. Being on time has been a chronic problem of mine, so hopefully this will cure my problem.

I start Norwegian class tomorrow, so I will hopefully be able to carry quasi-conversations with the various store clerks I come in contact with. The other day I replied “nei, takk” to an H&M worker who I thought was asking if I wanted a bag or not. Turns out she was telling me the total of my transaction. She quickly informed me that saying “no, thank you” to “you’re total is 100kr” is not acceptable.

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