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Sat Feb 8, 2020, 10:57 PM

What did you take with you when you moved?

I'm interested in hearing from ex-pats who moved, and if they had regrets about stuff they brought with them or left behind.

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Reply What did you take with you when you moved? (Original post)
58Sunliner Feb 2020 OP
Control-Z Feb 2020 #1
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #2
ret5hd Feb 2020 #3
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #4
ret5hd Feb 2020 #7
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #11
NanceGreggs Feb 2020 #5
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #12
GP6971 Feb 2020 #6
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #13
fierywoman Feb 2020 #8
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #14
fierywoman Feb 2020 #18
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #19
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2020 #9
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #15
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2020 #17
masmdu Feb 2020 #10
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #16
GoneOffShore Feb 2020 #20
58Sunliner Feb 2020 #21
GoneOffShore Feb 2020 #22
Houdinime Dec 2021 #25
GoneOffShore Dec 2021 #27
58Sunliner Feb 2022 #35
GoneOffShore Mar 2022 #38
Name removed Feb 2020 #23
DFW Mar 2020 #24
Houdinime Dec 2021 #26
DFW Dec 2021 #28
JanMichael Feb 2022 #30
DFW Feb 2022 #31
Laurelin Jan 2022 #29
58Sunliner Feb 2022 #33
Laurelin Mar 2022 #36
GoneOffShore Mar 2022 #37
GoneOffShore Feb 2022 #32
58Sunliner Feb 2022 #34
GoneOffShore Mar 2022 #39
Old Crank May 2022 #40

Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:11 PM

1. K&R and bookmarking.

I want to check back and see what answers you get. I have a close friend who will be moving to Canada (from So Cal) in probably a year. She's been flying there for job interviews and has applied for citizenship. This might interest her.

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Response to Control-Z (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:29 PM

2. I'm thinking of France. I know it, lived there.

But I am not sure how I will manage a house full of stuff. Most of it I will get rid of, but I don't want to leave empty handed.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:31 PM

3. I think this would depend entirely on the exact circumstances...

For example, let's take moving from the US to Belize (I happened to look at that a while back).

Importing ANYTHING to Belize costs a LOT! Like, even a bottle of wine...or a couch...or a refrigerator. And importing an automobile is bank-breaking.
Unless you meet the requirements to move as a retiree (very easy, some basic income minimums, etc).
Then you can get a one-time exemption to import all your household stuff duty free. So you would want to bring EVERYTHING.

But maybe someplace like Canada or Belgium or wherever is completely different. Some places I could see moving only with my full backpack...a true fresh start.

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:36 PM

4. I'm retired.

The backpack is tempting. Replacing everything is too expensive.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:50 PM

7. Speaking ONLY for me...What do I really need where I live?

A mattress, some bedding, small fridge, some basic cooking utensils, soap, a towel, a chair, a table, a laptop.
When/if I get to a new place, I won't be spending all that much time in my "quarters".

But then, I'm currently in the "let's sell everything and get the hell outa here" mode myself. Also retired.

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 10:41 AM

11. Yeah-DT doesn't help.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:40 PM

5. Don't know if this is still available ...

... but when my first husband and I moved to Toronto from NYC, we were able to obtain a list from Immigration Canada as to what to bring, and what to leave behind.

For example, we were advised that it would be cheaper to buy new appliances (fridge, stove, freezer, etc.) when we arrived in Canada than pay the cost of having them moved/shipped here.

We had a lot of antiques and furniture, so we paid to have that moved. But many things - like kitchenware, cutlery, etc. - could have been purchased here inexpensively, and could have been left behind.

If you're wondering what's worth taking, go online and check out what items cost at your final destination. It may be that some furniture can be replaced when you arrive at a cost cheaper than/or equivalent to what it will cost to bring it with you.

Hope that helps ...

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Response to NanceGreggs (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 10:46 AM

12. Thanks. No need to move appliances.

The only questions are my vintage record player, stereo. I can buy a transformer for those. I don't think I will move the bed. I'll probably hit the auctions for larger items.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sat Feb 8, 2020, 11:47 PM

6. Well, I haven't moved abroad

but I was responsible for moving our employees to and from overseas locations primarily Asia and Europe. Most had previously lived abroad with the military, but a minority did not. Some of the minorities regrets;

Affordable living spaces abroad can be smaller...a lot of our furniture overwhelms their living spaces. Many had to dispose of their US furniture (mainly bedroom and living/family room furniture) and downsize. I did a lot of shipping of employees and then bringing them back at the contact end. Comparing their inventories for both moves, they disposed a lot of the items they brought over.

They shipped their cars which couldn't be adequately serviced where they transferred to. As an aside, we had a retired military family that transferred to a small village in Germany. They insisted they ship their Hummer2...lousy gas mileage and narrow streets? Really???

If anyone needs anymore insight, please feel free to PM me.





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Response to GP6971 (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 10:49 AM

13. Thanks. That's really funny about the Hummer.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 12:16 AM

8. When I was living in Italy, I brought back a tortilla press from the US only to find out

I couldn't buy masa harina for love or money in Italy at the time...

I've lived in three countries and done the coast-to-coast thing a few times. What REALLY matters to you NOW? (Read Marie Kondo... ) If you are crazy about reading, are you moving somewhere with a good library?... or ar you OK with Kindle?

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Response to fierywoman (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 10:57 AM

14. Thanks. Actually I have a vinyl collection I'm worried about. I like Kondo.

For some reason when I lived in France before, I could not find simple baking powder to make pancakes. I can see a supply of that going with me. The other thing I insist on bringing are my Christmas decorations. Just not the tree.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 01:08 PM

18. Do you follow David Lebovitz's blog? He'd know where to find

baking powder in France!

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Response to fierywoman (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 11, 2020, 02:22 AM

19. I have seen it from time to time.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 12:54 AM

9. I have not moved abroad, although this might be slightly helpful.

About 12 years ago I was relocating halfway across the country, after a divorce. The only pieces of furniture I moved were an antique rocking chair and a small wicker chest of drawers. I did move a lot of personal stuff, including books, my wedding china, and various pieces of memorabilia. I bought all of my furniture new in my new city. I figured it was cheaper than paying a moving country, plus the furniture I'd had simply wasn't worth moving. I guess the essential thing is that I was starting new.

Which would often be the case for people moving to another country. Were I to move abroad, I'd do a lot of research about buying stuff in the new place. But, depending on how far and exactly where I'd be relocating to, I'm sure that the cost of moving stuff would far exceed any intrinsic value, and probably a lot of sentimental value as well.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 10:59 AM

15. I moved across the country-and brought everything but the kitchen sink-dumb!!

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #15)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 01:01 PM

17. I'm sorry you did that.

We'd moved long distances several times during our marriage, and so I'd already dealt with the costs of moving. It helped that none of our furniture was in very good shape and so it made no sense to move any of it, other than the rocking chair and small wicker chest of drawers. And new furniture doesn't have to be all that expensive.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 09:14 AM

10. Leave almost everything behind and/ or sell it off.

If you have stuff you can't part with leave it with a friend/ family or put it in storage.
Travel light. Digital media (books, music), a decent laptop, basic clothing.
Get anything you need as you need it when you get there.
Ditched nearly everything when moving to Japan. Was glad I did. Enjoyed and benefited from the immersion while setting up my new digs. Once settled if there is something you find you really miss or can't do without have it sent or buy an equivalent.
Enjoy your experience!

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Response to masmdu (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 9, 2020, 11:00 AM

16. Thanks, waiting might be an option.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2020, 11:03 AM

20. We started moving to France in 2017 and were done a year later.

Things we wished we had taken -
Books (especially cookbooks and art books)
Music CD's - and yes, they are still a thing here.
More of our DVD's - we have a Sony player that runs on 12 volts that we brought with us.
Photographs and some other memories.
Some art.
My Le Creuset pots and my mother's cast iron frying pan.

Things we are glad we left behind:
Any appliances
Stereo equipment - if mine had been dual voltage I would have found a way.
Furniture - though I do miss the dining room table, even though it wouldn't have fit in our present flat.

Things not to bring:
Beds and mattresses because you will not find linen to fit. You will pay a lot for mattresses in France (can't speak for the rest of Europe), and be aware that the beds are smaller. It is possible to get larger ones, but rooms are smaller, so be aware of that.
Kitchen appliances - despite what people say about getting converters, it's just not worth it.
Hair dryers, curling irons, and any other electrical devices unless they are marked to run 110-240V 50-60Hz - if they are you only have to get plug adapters.
Lamps (unless you want to get them rewired).
Furniture - mostly you'll find what you need.

We've known some people to bring cars over, but that's a whole different thing. Probably helps if you've got lots of money. Be aware that the market for used cars is large and generally not what you would expect in the US. People generally take better care of their vehicles and so the resale value stays high. There is also a tendency to hold onto vehicles longer here. We paid just over 6000 for a 2009 Renault Modus with 137,500kms on it.

We didn't ship stuff over. We brought over multiple suitcases on multiple trips. A container might have been cheaper, but that's hindsight. We even brought over my vintage Martin guitar as hold baggage. Bought a hard case from Gator Cases and the guitar arrived without a scratch. And that was with two luggage transfers - Philadelphia to Boston, Boston to Lisbon, Lisbon to Marseille.

We put some stuff in storage, and then a year later had a friend go and clear it, sort it, and send a suitcase over with the selection. Unless you're intending to go back, storage is just another expense that you'll regret.

When we actually decided to make the full jump, we had 45 days to clear out our 3 story 2000sq ft house with basement. Some stuff we moved too quickly with and hence there were some regrets. And you'll find that you unpack something and look at and go 'What were we thinking?' and laugh.

Just saw your thing about baking powder - here in France it's levure chemique in the pink packet with the Alsace lady on the outside.
Hope this helps.

Oh yes - because I cook, I brought all my knives apart from a bread knife or two. And I've still bought more here.

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 11:09 AM

21. Thanks. I do intend to ship a small container.

The bed linens will basically fit since I have a queen and bed linens are expensive. I will bring my cast iron and cooking pots. I will have decide about my china and dishes. Are Christmas decorations expensive? I have to justify bringing my collection. I just won't bring lights unless I can make them work.

45 days to clear out your house! We are trying to start that now.I will probably bring my art books. The record collection is still up in the air. I am planning on bringing some art-some of it french!

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 04:10 PM

22. Here's a thing - today we helped friends who have just moved to France with their unpacking

They bought a house just north of Aix.

They have lived all over the world and because he's French and she's English (though they have US citizenship and their kids are here) decided to move back.

We helped unpack their container today, along with the moving guys.

Some things we learned. Document, photograph, document, photograph, document, photograph! Get a professional moving company to do the packing. And get recommendations. Of the boxes we opened today, the broken items were: 4 plates, 1 wine glass(out of 8), an ornament previously broken, a mug, a frying pan, and a small hole in an oil painting(easily repairable). Not bad for a half container.
Look out when packing, because you might just put in a box of toothpicks or something equally weird.

Don't bring the Xmas lights - they are incredibly cheap here in France. Bring the decorations, but triage and keep the ones that you really love and have meaning to you. You'll know as you sort through them.
China and dishes - bring the ones that have special memories connected to them.

You've got a small container? Definitely bring the books('Books do furnish a room' - Anthony Powell) and records - vinyl is big here. And do bring your art pieces. You'll regret leaving them.


Where are you moving to in France?

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 23, 2021, 04:56 PM

25. Excellent. So helpful

I hadn't thought about smaller rooms for smaller beds! lol. And i've been wondering about appliances... Thanks.

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Response to Houdinime (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 23, 2021, 05:48 PM

27. If you have other questions, feel free to PM me.

And if you're moving to France, be aware that only a couple of states have reciprocal agreements for exchanging driving licences. Otherwise after a year, you'll have to take driving lessons, and do the theory and practical tests.

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #27)

Mon Feb 28, 2022, 10:48 PM

35. I thought it was any state. From the US Embassy-

Persons with valid driver's licenses, issued prior to their first entry into France as a resident, from
the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Hampshire, Kansas, Michigan, South Carolina
and Kentucky may directly 'exchange' their state driver's licenses for French permits. This is
because Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Kentucky offer a
reciprocal privilege of exchange for persons holding French permits.
-If you have a driver's license from one of these 13 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida,
Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Hampshire, Michigan, Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky,
Delaware, Ohio and Virginia, apply for the French driver's license (permis de conduire) in your
city of residence at least three months before the expiration of the one-year recognition period, to
allow sufficient time for the required formalities (Beyond this time, the exchange will not be
possible). Go to the Prefecture de Police.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #35)

Tue Mar 1, 2022, 03:22 AM

38. It's all on line now through ANTS - Agence nationale des titres scuriss

https://permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr/demarches-en-ligne/echanger-un-permis-etranger

Best to apply within three months of arrival, so you won't be worried about the one year time limit.

You'll also have to get certified and translated copies of your driving license and driving record from your state. Very important to get something that has the original date when your license was issued. Translations will be needed to be done here in France.

Oh, and baking powder - Alsa Brand in the little pink packets in the baking aisle. Individual envelopes so it doesn't go stale.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)


Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Fri Mar 6, 2020, 08:00 PM

24. Most of my guitars, my rock collection, and the clothes in my suitcase

When my mom died, I also brought over one of my favorite paintings of all time. It was once shown at a gallery in New York, and thought it was clearly marked "not for sale," literally dozens of people wanted desperately to buy it.

My maternal grandfather, a poor guy trying to make a few dimes a day during the depression to feed his family, had an incredible wit. Somebody recognized it, and eventually got him a job with an advertising agency on Madison Avenue. He never looked back. Thirty years later, he was an executive there, and of course saw all the BS that went on in the boardroom.

He retired and took up painting at age 80. His wit continued to guide him, and his first effort, which I said I would NEVER let go as long as I lived, was his impression of a boardroom meeting. It was called "The Blockheads:"

[URL=.html][IMG][/IMG][/URL]

This is from the same guy who once spontaneously warned against the Copulation Explosion. I have that painting on my wall at the house in Germany. As long as I'm there, it stays.

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Response to DFW (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 23, 2021, 05:33 PM

26. I've BEEN in that meeting!

We produced a perfect camel. (the goal, of course, was a horse)

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Response to Houdinime (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 23, 2021, 08:32 PM

28. That was the one!

They entered the camel in the Kentucky Derby because none of the board wanted to admit that an error had been made.

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Response to DFW (Reply #24)

Sun Feb 20, 2022, 06:26 PM

30. I see cheeseheads. Or blocks of some yellow cheese. Since most meetings are full of thick people...

...whose heads are full of cheese not brains. I do not men people from Wisconsin.

When I say meetings I mean a conference table and suits. And I'm a suit...

All that said I like it! What does Copulation Explosion look like????

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Response to JanMichael (Reply #30)

Sun Feb 20, 2022, 09:05 PM

31. No idea

In the sixties, Washington started the War on Puberty to prevent it from happening.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Sat Jan 1, 2022, 04:59 AM

29. Feb of 2020

What a horrid time to move to a new country! I moved overseas in July of 2019 and was only starting to find my way around when it all locked down. We bought a house and moved during the alpha spike and had to cope with movers, contractors and repair people.

I'd never lived in Europe and had little time to go through everything so I made a lot of mistakes. One serendipitous mistake was the movers tossed in my plastic ice cube trays. I got here three months before my container arrived and spent a really hot summer with ridiculous tiny ice cubes that melted as soon as I poured a drink, so I was thrilled when I unpacked my big fat American ice cube trays.

We brought our new Toyota Prius. It was less than a year old and we couldn't have gotten much back if we'd sold it, and buying a car in Europe was expensive. What was a really small car in Texas is a tank here. We lost the radio and maps functions but we knew that in advance, had to make a few changes to make it street legal here (like fog lights). It's currently having a bizarre issue that is apparently unique to US Toyotas so the mechanic spent a long time on the phone getting instructions on how to fix it. Hopefully it will work out OK but I'm still glad we brought it. I wouldn't ship a car if it wasn't that new, though; it just wouldn't be worth it.

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Response to Laurelin (Reply #29)

Mon Feb 28, 2022, 10:37 PM

33. Well I am thinking about shipping my car that has 69k miles.

It's a Dodge Caravan.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #33)

Tue Mar 1, 2022, 03:06 AM

36. Just so you know

My Toyota Prius Prime is enormous, in the Netherlands. It makes for difficult parking and residential roads are tight. Also gas here is really pricey. That doesn't bother me much because I've only filled up three times, but I don't know if your caravan is a hybrid or runs or electric or just gas.

We also had to do some modifications to make it street legal, and the radio and maps don't work in Europe.

Good luck with all your decisions!

(Edit: I see I'm being repetitive. Not awake yet. )

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #33)

Tue Mar 1, 2022, 03:15 AM

37. Will it be worth the seven or eight thousand dollars it's going to cost?

There have been discussions on various Facebook groups about bringing cars to Europe. The consensus is that the expense is just not worth it. You will have to bring the vehicle up to European emission standards, probably change the headlamps, seatbelts, etc. Plus you need to consider the availability of spares. There are 10 Dodge dealers in France.
In addition, know that you're going to be paying around 1.75/liter for fuel(slightly less for diesel).
Will you need a vehicle that large that will be a nightmare to park(spaces are much smaller here and larger cars get door dings and lose mirrors a lot)?
There is also the paperwork and customs duties.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Mon Feb 28, 2022, 02:27 PM

32. So, was your move successful?

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #32)

Mon Feb 28, 2022, 10:38 PM

34. With Covid, it got sidelined.End of August I fly over to buy.

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Response to 58Sunliner (Reply #34)

Tue Mar 1, 2022, 03:28 AM

39. Which part of France are you looking at?

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Response to 58Sunliner (Original post)

Fri May 27, 2022, 02:43 PM

40. We moved in 2015 to Munich

Brought over clothes and or bikes. My kitchen knives and some kitchen tools.
Electronics that could work with 50 Hz and 240. The rest not worth it. Transformers are heavy, take up space and draw juice unless they are unplugged.
We bought all our furniture from Ikea. Plus the kitchen we had installed. bought stainless pots and pans at Ikea they are good.
If you are willing to shop around you can get used for less.
We dropped about $6,000 for most of it including install of the kitchen. I assembled the Ikea furniture.

Had we known we would have taken some amount of cash out of my IRA for extra expenses, possibly a down payment on property. You will be taxed in both countries. Europe first then the US if you don't hit the US tax rate. We would have taken the tax bite from the US but now we have to take the European tax bite for IRA withdrawals. So we won't have a lump of cash until we can unload our property in CA.

Research the shipping costs. I was just back there and a half pallet to Munich was ridiculous. And you might get hit with duties unless you file proper paperwork before you ship.

Glad we jumped though.


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