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Previous Entry moving stories Jun. 27th, 2009 @ 01:04 am Next Entry
Why I left Canberra
By Nemo. Age 34 and a bit.


I was born in Canberra. Grew up in the region. 33 years later, I was still there. I have a familiarity with the place. I love Canberra.

But my history there is not continuous. I have travelled, albeit briefly, but each time been reminded myself that I love it. That change brings out the best in me. And that for all the history I have in Canberra, it is not a static city either. Over the last few years some of my Canberra temples have fallen...

my tree - air temple. A place of solitude at my old university grounds. No longer there. At first I mourned it's loss to development, but maybe it came down in a storm? 2 years or so on, it’s still just a bare patch of ground.

the lake - water temple. Recently lakeside development has encroached, and what was once a quiet place by the water now has shopfronts looking over it’s shoulder.

firetwirling in civic - fire temple. After the devastating fires a few years ago, the last remnants of weekly fire meets faded, and despite some halfhearted attempts, has never returned. No core groups has reformed, and firebans in summer provide new deterrent to match the cold in winter.

I started considering it after Europe in 2008. Was it time to change city?

Social groups in Canberra can be limiting. And sometimes that is a good thing - the limited populations brings together groups who, in larger cities, would instead keep to their own clique. The Canberra goth scene is full of dance, life, and joy. The 80s goths, the emo teens, the raver crowd, the gender-experimentals... all mesh as one lovely group, and are welcoming to anyone who isn’t judgemental. You don’t need to be IN their exact crowd to be accepted as part of the larger alt community.

But for all that, there is only one such crowd (and that is but one example), and social inertia can be limiting. My own habits combined with existing assumptions from others about me - exert a powerful stabilising force that maintains a personal status quo. A status quo I was growing weary of. A status quo best broken by leaving. To find the new ‘now’ me. Moving to where I can find my own new voice free from external assumptions. Where external inertia can be set in motion anew, as it inevitably will. This is not the first such time for me.

I wanted to explore a more creative side to myself, in a larger creative community with more opportunity for ad hoc randomness, and opportunity to challenge myself.

I felt I was outgrowing Canberra basically.

So I started talking very quietly to a few friends about the idea shortly after returning from Europe holiday. Though I think even then I’d been thinking about it for a while...


Why I chose Brisbane
Also by Nemo. Still 34 and a bit.

So while I needed a change, I didn’t need to deny my past. I needed a balance of familiarity and freshness. I needed somewhere bigger, but somewhere I would find comfortable.

Overseas would not fit the goal. Sydney would not fit. That left Melbourne or Brisbane. Melbourne has the known art scene I was feeling inclined towards, but is also such a cliche for it. Melbourne had the range of weather I would likely prefer, but not the proportions - I love to swim - that was something I missed in Canberra and didn’t feel I would get in Melbourne, but would in Brisbane. I think it’s also true that I knew more people in Melbourne than in Brisbane, but the people I had long known in Brisbane I was closer to. And it had not escaped my attention either that I had recently made several close new friends in Canberra who were from Brisbane, or that on my previous couple of Brisbane visits I had met new people with whom I got along with well. Brisbane had the vibe and people I sought. At the end of the day, the major factor was people. They tipped the scales.

By mid December I’d made my decision.

Some people have said that when it comes to quitting job and relocating interstate, that to go from ‘yeah, thinking about it’ to ‘having done it’ within little more than 6 months is quite spontaneous. To them I say ‘bah, humbug’. This was quite a slow, measured, thought out and deliberate move to my mind. In late March (I think), I gave notice at work. By mid May I was here.

Is everything perfect? No, not at all - and I didn’t expect it to be. but alot of things have fallen into place well. I am forming new groups of close friends - both those I already knew here and those met since, as well as finding wider social groups... I have an awesome place to live - the Inside Out Zoo (being on the edge of a nature park) - which found me as much as I found it.

So was it the right thing to do? Most definitely.

I have no regrets at all.
Examine my head and find me basically...: thoughtfulthoughtful
Leave a comment
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From:vegetus
Date:June 26th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
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someone hit their saturn return late...
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From:earthnative
Date:June 27th, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
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sure it's not the triple jupiter return coming early? :P

or maybe just my 55th venus returns...

141st mercury?

of course, given my standard joke about my personality being evident from the situation of my birth, a late saturn makes sense... hehe :)
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 08:24 am (UTC)
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yes, i know.

I'm also amused by the big deal everyone seems to have about moving.
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From:zebrallama
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC)
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Wasn't it a big deal for you the first time? I've done it a million times now and it seems like nothing, but boy was I spaced out the first time.
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC)
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Wasn't a big deal for me and for several people I know. Never has been and I grew up in the same house for most of my childhood so wasn't used to change either. Ditto travelling. Most of my friends were scared/excited for me whilst I was "this is cool, but not a major deal". Apparently 19 year old women traveling to small tropical islands in the middle of nowhere is something to be marveled. I have seen people give up their careers, partners, lives etc because they couldn't cope with change and that is much, much more of a travisty in my view.
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From:zebrallama
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
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I agree about the last bit, and I can prove it! *moves to Wollongong for wife's job*
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC)
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Hehe, you are an awesome husband :) I've let a partner go because they couldn't handle change which was gutting as I thought he was life partner material but I couldn't bare to be stuck in a rut int he future because they couldn't handle new situations, I also had a relationship influenced negatively because their ex and a few select friends couldn't handle change either. So yeah I wouldn't hate it if my friends weren't supportive of my right to change and grow. Ditto, even though I miss alot of people who have moved away from me I still support them because they are wonderful and I want them to experience new situations and have much joy in their life, even if I'm not around.

And imagine if we didn't like change. It means we wouldn't be road tripping :D (yes I'll email about dates)
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From:zebrallama
Date:June 29th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
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Sorry to hear about the break-up. What a bummer.
From:miss_terri_girl
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
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I identify so much with a lot of what you've said. You probably know that because we've spoken about it in the past. For my part, I'm leaving because Canberra has no possibility for me, and the absence of possibility carries with it a sense of hopelessness that I can't bear. I like Canberra and don't rule out coming back, but the things that would keep me here can not, even in combination, outweigh the reasons that I have for leaving.

Change is big and scary, and I know people (especially my family) who question whether making such a big change is a good dcision right now. What they're misunderstanding is that things staying as they are is what will be the end of me. Leaving does not put me on a collision course with disaster. It puts me on the path towards the rest of my life. My life in Canberra is over, for now. I hope the people who are worried about my stability will eventually come to understand that.

/essay
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From:ladyfirebrand
Date:June 27th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
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Terri, Nemo told me(i hope that is ok) and I am happy that you are making a decision for your own peace of mind and moving forward, and true friends are always there (myself included:))

Nemo, Also i am happy you did this and it was the right thing..but i miss you:P But i am glad you are finding shiny happiness:)
From:miss_terri_girl
Date:June 27th, 2009 10:41 am (UTC)
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Once upon a time, Nemo called me and said, "Manda thinks you should know that she knows a thing she maybe should not know and also how she knows it." And I said, "The person who told her this thing is only saved by the fact that said person has managed to tell the only person I haven't told myself who I trust implicitly to know how to treat that information."

So, yes, it's totally okay that Nemo told you :)

And I know that I won't really be leaving anyone behind ... the fact that Nemo is, like, forever away and I can still have silly punning competitions with him is testament to that!

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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 08:25 am (UTC)
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Change is big and scary

If that's what you believe you'll never really appreciate life or the rainbow of experiences that it offers.
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From:subtle_eye
Date:June 27th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
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If you go through life being bitchy and bullying people to hide your insecurities you'll never really appreciate life or the rainbow of experiences that it offers either.

So what's the weather like up there on your soapbox anyway?
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From:colormonochrome
Date:June 27th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
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boo, you whore. ;)
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
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Oh bite me... and how is my comment bitching and bullying. Given the effort Terri and others made to destroy my relationship and friendship with Nem and others I think you're asking the wrong person that question.
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From:subtle_eye
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
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Care for some victim-sauce to go with that whine of yours?

Free tip: Just because you feel persecuted doesn't actually mean they're all out to get you.

Your behavior is loud, obnoxious, frequently abusive and in this case uncalled for. Given the past history
between you and Terri, it's hard to see your comment as anything other than harassment and snideness.

You may call your attitude toward life enthusiastic activism or relentless optimism or whatever you like.
Here, we call it rudeness and lack of manners. Go learn some.
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
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I don't think anyone is out to get me, perhaps you should maybe question why you were so aggressive in the first place.

You accused me of bullying when all I did was offer a different point of view (which wasn't aggressive). If you had actually asked for more information or even been polite in your comment I would have happily gotten into discussion with you as I have done below and above.

It was your comment that was full of accusations and was rude and aggressive - perhaps it is you who is paranoid? If you look back to your comments towards me they are alot more negative and aggressive than mine were to begin with.

And quite frankly if people are going to be rude and bad mannered towards me I'll do the same to them.
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
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The fact that you did not see your comment as rude and insensitive doesn't mean that it wasn't.
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From:subtle_eye
Date:June 27th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
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Given the effort Terri and others made to destroy my relationship and friendship with Nem and others
Given the way I watched alot of people turn on Nemo a few years ago
I don't think anyone is out to get me

One of these phrases is not like the others.

I accused you of bullying because there is no context of civility between you and Terri in which your comment can be considered. Ergo, it is an attempt to vilify, impugn and belittle. I was aggressive because that is how you stop a bully, they're so caught up in the bullshit inside their heads that they do not respond to logic.

And while we're talking about the voices inside your head, I never stated you were paranoid. That was arthwollipot. I know all us vile peoples out here persecuting you look and sound the same, but do try to keep up.
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
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Wow - paranoid much?
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
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Not particularly- you?
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
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Just very concerned that you are attributing motives that aren't there. You really think that Terri and others tried to "destroy" your relationship with Nemo? Seriously? Be honest with yourself - would Terri do anything that might hurt Nemo? Do you really think that's the kind of thing that she would do?

If you do, then I would suggest that you seriously do not know her. Not at all.

Your reactions here are indistinguishable from those from a desparately insecure person - one who believes that any contact someone has with an ex is a direct threat to your relationship with that person. Is this really a rational point of view?

Yours was not an offhand comment, and Terri (and others) clearly did not appreciate it. Are you honest enough to take responsibility for your fault and apologise?
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From:colormonochrome
Date:June 27th, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
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you missed the left turn on the way to the point, i think.

change being big and scary isn't always a bad thing. but anyone that thinks change is never big and scary clearly needs to leave their rose coloured glasses at home and stop being a metaphorical fashion victim.
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
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I've seen lots of people be too afraid of change and growth to the point that they have lost job options, friends etc and have ended up sitting in a rut that made them unhappy or worse tried to drag people that they called friends into a similar rut because the idea of being without them was too much change they couldn't handle.

When people see change as being scary that it stops them from living their life to the full or worse impacts negatively on the lives of others then that *is* a bad thing. I hope you can see where I'm coming from on this.
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC)
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And exactly where was it implied that anyone saw change as being so scary that it stopped them from living their life to the full, or that it impacted negatively on the lives of others?

I think you're reading into this a lot more than is actually there. And you're providing opinions that really do not actually relate to the situation.
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)
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The comments about family/friends wondering if making changes was appropriate for a start can increase the whole "change is a big negative" outlook. Also the wording "scary" is a negative, it could be worded in a positive way (eg exciting, a good challenge) if that's what is meant.

Given the way I watched alot of people turn on Nemo a few years ago when he was changing things in his life, I'll admit I do have a perception that alot of people here are against change. The OP also mentions things like status quo and social inertia which of course resist change.
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
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Did it ever occur to you that your perception might be wrong?
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From:vegetus
Date:June 27th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
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Did you read my first paragraph and my last sentence? I give reasons why I have no reason to think things have changed too much, at least in the context of the information presented to me in lj. I know from other conversations I've had with CBR based people (not just Nem) that some change has occurred and this is a Good Thing.
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
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Did it ever occur to you that your reasons may be faulty?
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From:colormonochrome
Date:June 27th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
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scary doesn't always mean bad. take skydiving for example, frakking scary for lots of people, yet they do it despite that because it's thrilling, and being fearful of it is the whole point.

i'm moving interstate very soon myself, and i do see it as scary, and that's one of the best bits. scary, exciting, fun, different, etc etc. all good things and reasons to move in my book.

i just think you took terri's comment way out of context because i don't think she was implying anything like what you've suggested. big + scary = not always bad.
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From:ladyfirebrand
Date:June 27th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
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Also, nemo is the only one who knows, but i have pretty much decided my time in canberra is just about up..i have some ideas and it won't be within this country. But i need to move forward and I don't think it is going to happen here.
From:miss_terri_girl
Date:June 27th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
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Yes, this.
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From:subtle_eye
Date:June 27th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
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Yeah, a lot of that resonates with my reasons for getting out of dodge.
Fifteen years was enough, they were fifteen really damn good years.
But where I am now is where I want my future to be.
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From:razorgirl_au
Date:June 27th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
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All of what you've written is exactly here I was when I first moved from Canberra. Then I came back.

I've just had two very long phone calls with people I'm close with about Canberra, work, uni, etc... End result is that I'm most likely leaving Canberra.

And then I find you post... I can't help but feel that it's very serendipitous.

I am glad that you're happy in Brisbane, and that you will never regret moving there. As much as I've spoken down about Brisbane, and for all her faults, I never *regretted* moving there.

xoxox

: )
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC)
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i say bah humbug! too. =) (though we chose melbourne, which is probably a good thing given i ain't a swimming fan ^-^)

good on you for having no regrets, it was a good choice. =)
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From:colormonochrome
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
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it would help to log in, i think. =)
- Liz
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From:zebrallama
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
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Me too! Me too! I'm leaving Canberra too! *jumps up and down*
From:miss_terri_girl
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
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You're planning to follow Badger to Melbourne so he can give more quantum physics lectures for you, amirite? :)
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From:zebrallama
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
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Are you Badger's human, who I thought was called Kerry? If so, silly me!

I'm moving to Wollongong. But I'll be visiting Canberra next year to give those lectures again. I wonder whether Badger would be willing to travel all the way from Melbourne. He was a *huge* hit this year.
From:miss_terri_girl
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:47 am (UTC)
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I am, in fact, Badger's human. I'm sure he can be lured to Wollongong with promises of peanut butter cookies...
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From:zebrallama
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
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Then hello! *changes address book* And good luck with the move.
From:miss_terri_girl
Date:June 27th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
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Good luck with your own! Mine is scheduled for September.

Oh, and Badger has a blog
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From:yasutani
Date:June 27th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)

Jihad?

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I never knew that Jihad starts with a single post to LJ. I always assumed it requires a fatwa...
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From:arthwollipot
Date:June 27th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Jihad?

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*sheepish*
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From:anak_laut
Date:June 29th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
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damn i missed all the fun
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