Weeklyish Challengey Thingie: Look Like a Lady

October 14, 2012

Hey, remember my old bloggy series, Weeklyish Challengey Thingie, where I would get off my couch each week(ish) and do something kind of challenging like go to the dentist or trick a boy into dating me?

And then I’d write about it on my blog? 

Well, I’m back at it.

Dear boys of Buffalo, consider yourself warned. (This warning also applies to dentists. And really everyone.)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may think you already know everything there is to know about me.

Including lots of stuff you probably wish you didn’t know about me. Like, the fact that I have massive man-calves with no visible ankles. Or the fact that I was once in a secret club named after cats.

Because, apparently, I’m not one of those people who was born with any kind of shame. Or, as you already know, ankles.

But there is one thing that you may be surprised to find out about me.

Especially if you’ve met me in person in the past year or two.

The thing is…

Well, I don’t know how to say this exactly.


I’m a girly girl.

You see, as much as I gab on and on about pants, in my heart of hearts, I’m a sucker for a cute skirt or dress.

I love me some sparkle and have been known to carry emergency earrings. You know, just in case.

I always feel a little bit better if I’m wearing some eyeliner and eye shadow. Although lipstick kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. And I can’t, for the life of me, apply mascara without having it clump up around my eyes all Tammy-Faye-Bakker-style.

And, well, I’ve always had something of a shoe obsession. Even if my impossible man-feet make it hard for me to find a pair that fits.

Plus, I’ve never quite figured out how to walk in high heels without falling over. Probably because I have enough trouble walking in any kind of shoe without falling over. But that doesn’t really stop me from buying high heels. And occasionally pulling them out of my closet when I’m drunk or suffering from self-delusion. Usually a little bit of both.

As much as I love swirly dresses and sparkly things and shoes I’ll never wear unless my dinner consisted of margaritas, I haven’t indulged my girly girl tendencies much over the past few years that I’ve been volunteering and working in Asia.

After all, swirly dresses aren’t exactly practical when you’re weeding rice paddies.

Yeah, not the best place to rock a dress.

Or painting sailboats.

Okay, so I’m not actually painting a boat here. But I am painting something boat-ish.

Or teaching in an unheated classroom in the middle of a frigid Chinese winter.

Just as freezing as it looks.

Plus, even when I wanted to get my girly girl on, I had trouble finding girly stuff in my size in Asia.

Heck, I could barely find manly stuff in my size.

In China, it took me three weeks of trying on men’s boots to find a pair that would fit around my massive ankle-less man-calves. And I’m still pretty sure those boots were designed for ogres.

Ogre boots. Warm. But not pretty. Perfect for ogres. Not so perfect for ladies.

And, well, I’m kind of lazy.

So I’m not just going to get all dolled up for no reason. I mean, there has to be some good reason for a girl like me to get up off her couch and root through her closet to find something that doesn’t resemble sweatpants.

Like, hot guys.

Or, umm, more hot guys.

And, let’s just say, I didn’t have many opportunities to meet hot guys in China. Not because there aren’t plenty of hot guys in China. But because there weren’t a whole lot of hot guys hanging out on my couch. As crazy as that may sound.

My couch in China. Not quite the man-magnet you’d expect it to be.

Now I’m back in the States.

Where I very rarely have to wade through any rice paddies. Or paint boats. And my classroom comes equipped with fancy stuff like heat.

I can actually buy clothes and shoes here that were designed for lady people. And not for ogre people.

Plus, there is always the chance I might run into hot guys here. You know, once I get off my couch.

My new couch in America. Also, not a man-magnet. But, then again, it’s mauve.

This month I’ve been invited to a handful of  social events, including two weddings, so I thought it might be a good time to start looking like a lady again.

Even if I haven’t quite got the hang of acting like one.

Umm, yeah. I’m working on it.

The first wedding I was invited to attend was last Sunday, so I headed to the mall on Saturday to buy a dress. Instead I ended up with two dresses. And, umm, two skirts. And it’s possible I bought a sequined sweater. Because, seriously, you guys, SEQUINS.

I even bought a pair of high heels. Well, technically, the heels are not really all that high. In fact, I’m pretty sure Lady Gaga would consider them sneakers.

Yeah, so not exactly stilts.

But, hey, they’re prettier than ogre boots. And I can wear them without falling down. Much.

On Sunday, it was time for my big lady-makeover.

I piled on the glittery eye makeup.

I shimmied into my new dress.

I even put on nylons. Because, you know, nothing makes you feel more like a lady than wearing an item of clothing that boasts a “panty compression scale” on the packaging.

Then I shoved my camera, my phone, my wallet and some backup eyeliner into a teeny, tiny girl-purse the size of a panini sandwich.Which was almost as challenging as shoving myself into my new panty compression nylons.

And I set off for the wedding in the hopes that I wouldn’t fall over. Or burst open due to too much panty compression.

And, let me tell you, I was pretty glad I’d made the effort because the whole event turned out to be quite classy.

The wedding was in a beautiful historic cathedral in downtown Buffalo.

And the reception was in this super fancy, schmancy ballroom complete with sparkly chandeliers and a photo booth in the corner.

There were waiters walking around with trays of hors d’oeuvres I couldn’t recognize or pronounce. There were more forks on my table than I knew what to do with. There were a number of hot guys. And, of course, there were all kinds of pretty ladies there, including my friend and her beautiful new bride.

The two beautiful brides.

So I’d like to think I fit right in.

Even if photographic evidence suggests otherwise.

Umm, yeah, still working on it.

Do you dress differently while traveling or living overseas than you do at home? 

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On October 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) said:

    I definitely enjoy skirts and dresses so the first month of backpacking was ROUGH. I was so depressed by my ONE skirt and five tops… so little variety! But largely the style of the things I’m wearing is similar to what I’d wear back home, just little more functional and sporty and a whole lot more monotonous…
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Geisha Gazing in Gion

    • On October 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm Sally said:

      I know. The lack of variety killed me when I was traveling. I would sometimes let myself buy something new, but I’d have to get rid of something old so it could all fit into my bag. So even though I’d just bought a cute new top… I’d still only have like 5 tops.

  2. On October 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm Lauren said:

    I am currently wearing cotton capri pants that I bought in Cambodia for $2, topped by my in-desperate-need-for-a-wash “love cats” t-shirt, which boasts two cartoonish cats cuddling. I wore this in public all evening in Argentina, totally without shame.
    Definitely dress more…shall we say…casual when I’m on the road, but always harbor girly-girl tendencies. You are not alone!
    Lauren recently posted..On Travel and Spontaneity

  3. On October 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm Penguinlady said:

    Ooh, I think some of my friends got married in that cathedral, too! Of course, theirs was a Halloween wedding, with a costume reception, so girly-girlness was not required. One of the most fun weddings I’ve been to.

    I pretty much travel in comfortable clothes, and since I’m a mum now, that’s what I live in. Only exception is Islamic countries, where I try to be as conservative and respectful as possible. Otherwise, it’s t shirts and yoga pants every day!!!

  4. On October 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm Priya said:

    Yay for bringing back the Weeklyish Challengey Thingie! Yay!

    Perhaps China brought out the man in you. But Buffalo is being out the lady in you. Yay for girly-girls! Even though most of the time I don’t wear makeup because I find that I don’t actually know how to wear makeup and the times that I do put it on… it usually takes like 5 minutes and I may or may not remove it before sleeping.

    From the picture, the boots look like they are made for girls… but I could be wrong. Maybe I need a lesson on how to look like a lady.
    Your new couch in America is not as attractive as your former couch in China. I can see why there are no hot guys hanging out on your couch.

    Glad you had fun at the wedding:)
    Priya recently posted..The Rejection Therapy Made Me Call A Random Guy. Like, On The Phone.

  5. On October 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm Eileen黃愛玲 said:

    I have to admit, though, wearing dresses/shirt is convenient when you’re using the squating toilets. All you have to do is lift up your skirt/dress. xD You put on a dress and you’re done. With pants and shirts, you have to think which goes with what…and what shoes to wear it with. I’d like to think I am a girly girl but I am just plain ol lazy. Oops, I admit my secret. 😀 I live in a city so I can dress like that, so I take advantage of it. Shoes, i have no problem with, though. I am a size 6. Although, dresses…my chest it a tad bigger than the average…yeah. Go figure. =/

    I fumble even on flats. I gave up on heels long time ago. Wear cute flats…why not?

    I hope you’re settling well being back in the states. The wedding looks like a lot of fun. 🙂 Gotta love nylons. xD
    Eileen黃愛玲 recently posted..Hakka Yimin Festival.

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm Sally said:

      Oh, I’m definitely usually a flats-wearing girl. But some dresses & skirts just don’t look quite right with flats (especially considering my, err, lack of ankles).

      • On October 16, 2012 at 2:18 am Eileen黃愛玲 said:

        Really? I feel like flats are wonderful with summer dresses. You get cute red flats – they go with all kinds of dresses. I understand the ankle thing. I swear, I have no neck. I like to wear pretty scarves due to it. “You can’t see my no neck, I feel girly.” haha. xD
        Eileen黃愛玲 recently posted..Hakka Yimin Festival.

  6. On October 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm cosmoHallitan said:

    Since I moved to China and started blogging, I leave my apartment a lot less than I did in the States when I had to go to work every morning. Thus I’m wearing a lot of my souvenir tees and yoga pants. (Imagine my surprise/horror a few weeks back when I tried to put on jeans for the first time in months and they didn’t fit.) But that doesn’t stop me from having loads of dresses made at the fabric market! I love seeing them hang in my closet. And when an occasion comes up to wear something pretty, I’m ready!
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..HCMC’s Ben Thanh Market

    • On October 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm Gigi said:

      That’s so interesting! I find the opposite when I travel. At home, I work from home and rarely leave my house. I wear through pajama pants like nobody’s business. But when I’m traveling or living overseas for a bit, I feel more compelled to go for walks and put on something other than my yoga pants. 🙂
      Gigi recently posted..Colorado. California. And Pinched Feet.

      • On October 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm Sally said:

        For me, it depends on where I live. When I lived in Japan, I never would have left the house in yoga pants even if I had to just go down to the shop on the corner. People just don’t do that there. Whereas, in China there was a very “anything goes” attitude towards fashion, which meant my yoga pants got quite a workout… and not a yoga workout!

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm Sally said:

      I never did have stuff made up at the fabric market. I had a lot of friends who did. And I always meant to. I guess I’ll just need to go back to China sometime!

  7. On October 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm Darcey said:

    I definitely dress differently… I live in India right now (I’m an American expat) and my wardrobe choices are markedly different. I’m not sure if I count as localized, but last night I did laundry – 3 pairs of jeans… and around 18 salwar suits… and my saree collection is into the double digits. I don’t wear t-shirts except at home, and skirts are almost just.right.out. (even the long ones); still, salwar suits are amazingly comfortable for long train or plane rides, can be amazingly classy (and on occasion, covered in rhinestones and mirrors and shiny embroidery), and 60% of the Indian women I know wear them with sneakers. The other 40% wear them year-round with flipflops (including with flesh-coloured socks in the winter).

    Today’s attire is a dark yellow (almost mustardish) and black salwar suit; the top has a sort of flower-ish print, and the bottom is abstract designs, and it will be black sneakers and a black fleece so I have pockets.
    Darcey recently posted..Wildlife of India

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm Sally said:

      Oooo, rhinestones and mirrors and shiny embroidery? I think I need to go to India and stock up on salwar suits!

      • On October 16, 2012 at 12:39 am Darcey said:

        Come. We have sparkly things. 😉

        I do see people buy lengths of material for suits, and even full sarees, to turn into skirts/pants/jackets/tops with tailors for Western wear. There are a few DIY-type projects I’m eyeballing to put together, and depending on where you shop (Chowk in Lucknow, Karol Bagh in Delhi, some of the other markets like Lajpath Nagar and INA) you can even buy the embroidery, mirrors, threads, etc. separately to do your own stitching with.
        Darcey recently posted..Wildlife of India

  8. On October 15, 2012 at 1:25 am Kate said:

    living in southern india my day-to-day wear is what my night-wear was in barcelona: harem pants and a baggy t-shirt.
    there’s not really a culture of cute dresses here, excepting the sari which i haven’t attempted yet.
    my winning look back home was leggings and a baggy top/dress and flat boots. here i’ve done away with footwear altogether and form-revealing leggings are the sign of slapper.
    so harem all the way! (and you cannot beat them on comfort).
    Kate recently posted..fitness and health on the go.

    • On October 15, 2012 at 8:15 am Darcey said:

      Sarees are fun! Cotton ones can make you look like you’ve put in several kilos, but once you learn to carry yourself in one (and not take giant steps), I find them inordinately comfortable, and also just amazing as pieces of art!

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm Sally said:

      Harem pants do sound comfy. I haven’t attempted to pull them off in years… not since they were called “MC Hammer pants” back when I was in junior high school!

  9. On October 15, 2012 at 1:28 am Charlie said:

    For my last holidays (walking in stages from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the UK) I opted for costumes. One year I wore a ball gown (of sorts, more like something you would see on So You Think you can Dance but matched with shorts instead of sexy dancing undies), one year I was a beatnik and this year Bohemian. It still was always only two outfits but it did make them feel a bit special! I buy all my shoes from a store and online store called Irregular Choice. They are so unique and make shoes up to quite large sizes. Although I do wonder if the larger sizes are designed more for drag queens than ladies with large feet!!
    Charlie recently posted..Quick Feather and Fan Afghan: March 5th to 6th.

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm Sally said:

      You walked in a ball gown? Wow. That’s taking girly girl to a whole new level! Good for you! And thanks for the suggestion on the website. I’ll have to check them out. And I really don’t care if I’m wearing drag queen shoes as long as they fit my man-calves!

  10. On October 15, 2012 at 3:41 am Marta said:

    I’m so glad that Priya harassed you enough to make you come back to Weeklyish Challengey Thingie! I love pretty dresses. I actually love them even more than skirts because I don’t need to think about a suitable top. I even took one to Thailand. And then surprisingly it turned out that I’m going to Mexico and I’m gonna meet my boyfriend’s family and friends and attend fancy parties and my backpack was full of backpacking clothes. I managed to buy a dress and a pair of stilettos, and force my mom to send me a decent dress from Poland, but still, it felt terrible when all other girls had different dresses for each occasion and I could choose between umm… TWO.

  11. On October 15, 2012 at 4:36 am Aggy said:

    LOL! I think we are alike. Never seem to be able to apply mascara without smearing it everywhere, and I ALWAYS fall down even with the slightest high heels on my shoes.

    I tend to dress much much more casually when I travel, esp. in hot countries. But I do love travelling in the autumn/winter it’s so much easier to look more girly girl with the scarf and cute boots and everything.

    Love you post as always!
    Aggy recently posted..I’m Just…Culturally Confused

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm Sally said:

      Oh, yes, autumn is my favorite season for clothes! It’s so much easier to look cute in the cooler weather than it is when you’re sweating everywhere.

  12. On October 15, 2012 at 7:57 am Sid said:

    “Because, you know, nothing makes you feel more like a lady than wearing an item of clothing that boasts a “panty compression scale” on the packaging.” And just like that I realised what I was doing wrong with my life. I don’t wear any panty compression clothing =(
    Sid recently posted..Beautiful day, Namibia, possibilities

  13. On October 15, 2012 at 8:35 am Stephanie - The Travel Chica said:

    Pulling my box of shoes out of storage was one of the biggest thrills coming home…. I mean after seeing my familiy and friends of course.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Portland is Brewvana

  14. On October 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm Gigi said:

    Hilarious as always!

    This was actually perfectly timed for me, as I’ve been contemplating travel and fashion lately a lot. I’m actually back in the states for a short time after traveling for four months and I’m undertaking a huge re-packing project with the stated goal of being stylish on the road. I think I just might be able to pull it off. Because I too am a girly girl. So much.
    Gigi recently posted..Colorado. California. And Pinched Feet.

  15. On October 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm Don said:

    I think a fashion photo shoot is in order. Let’s not forget you did have a career as a model in Japan.

    • On October 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm Sally said:

      It’s been a while since my Japanese brochure modeling days. I think I’m a bit rusty. I need to work on smiling with my eyes. Or just smiling. I’ve been grimacing a lot in my photos. I don’t think Tyra would approve.

  16. On October 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm Ceri said:

    Beautiful, daring. 😀 … Good for you because I hate weddings. 😛 Haha.

    Up until recently I’d been dressing pretty ‘neutral’ in Mexico. That means having my hair all one ‘normal’ colour, wearing conservative style clothes, calming down a bit with the heavy black eyeliner. I didn’t really want to draw attention to myself by dressing in my own style which might be a little different from people here. But, I’ve recently realised that I live in a very large city where everyone dresses pretty crazy and unique so, to hell with it – my style is back! 😛
    Ceri recently posted..Relationships

  17. On October 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm Victoria | Bridges and Balloons said:

    Steve often looks at me when we’re travelling and says things like “Imagine if Lou (a particularly stylish friend) could see you now”. My style while travelling often resembles ‘bag lady’ or that scene from Friends where Joey puts on every item of clothing that he owns. It’s a shock to the system whenever I get to a city that demands some sort of style!

    • On October 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm Sally said:

      I guess there’s one advantage of traveling alone: there’s no one around to make comments on my wardrobe of choice. Or to remind me that I’m wearing the same pants I wore yesterday… and the day before that… and the day before that! 🙂

  18. On October 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm Laura said:

    You clean up real purdy, btw. (lol)

    I live in the US and have clothes I only wear when I travel because by the time I get home, I’m so sick of them I want to burn them. But instead I launder them and put them back in the suitcase. I wear skirts and dresses (with tights if it’s cold) whether I’m traveling or not. I wear jeans at home and rarely take them on trips (too heavy). I’m approaching elderly and NO ONE needs to see me in shorts unless they are over a bathing suit on the beach.

    I’m in India next week and the first place I’m going after checking into my hotel and downing a pot of tea are the shops for Kurdas and Salwar suits.

    So happy you’re still blogging even though you aren’t traveling.

    • On October 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm Sally said:

      Aww, thanks, Laura. It’s nice to get all spiffed up once in a while.

      And I hear you on wanting to burn everything you own after traveling. I was SO EXCITED to throw out my work shoes when I left China. I had only 2 pairs (one for summer & one for winter) and those things were a total mess when I left. In fact, the soles of the one pair fell off on one of my last weeks of work.

  19. On October 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm Isabelle said:

    When I lived in Japan, I couldn’t find any clothes that fit me except the occasional camisole… I was stuck with the same ugly office clothes for 6 months and it was hell! I got two sweaters once, the kind grand-mothers wear, same thing with a coat, the grand-mother style! I looked ridiculous, not at all age appropriate. Forget about pants, my big north-american behind would not fit into anything. And my shoe size was one notch over their biggest size… I felt like a giant and it wasn’t good for my ego!

    • On October 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm Sally said:

      I hear you, sister. I lived in Japan for three years and had an even harder time finding clothes there than I did in China. But it did give me an excuse to regularly jet out of the country to replenish my wardrobe. Which is probably why I didn’t save much money while I was there… but, oh well, I had plenty of sparkly shoes!

  20. On October 16, 2012 at 7:34 am Selly said:

    Pants! I’m still struggling to find pants in Ireland, it’s almost ridiculous. Seven years over here and I’m buying my pants whenever I fly back to Germany. Maybe my requirements are just too strict but I’ve really mostly given up on finding lovely pants in Ireland. On the bright side, whenever I do actually make the effort to find some it turns into a real work out which is a plus since I don’t have to pay for the gym…

    • On October 24, 2012 at 7:51 am Sally said:

      Yeah, I’m pretty particular about my pants, too. I have found one brand that I really like — so I’ve bought 6 of the same pants but just in different colors.

  21. On October 16, 2012 at 9:26 am Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    I always dress girlie girl no matter where I am. My tops all have embroidery or rhinestones on them, my shorts are linen. I have lovely flat strap sandals with crystals or embroidery on them that go from day to night in a flash. I have hiked in dresses. The sportiest shoe you will see my in are a pair of summer pumas. I don’t see why you have to wear outdoor gear to go anywhere. I am a “practical” girly girl. At home the main difference is selection and … my 4″ Prada! 🙂

    I have GOT to look into salwar suits!
    Montecristo Travels (Sonja) recently posted..How a Dog goes through Airport Security Screening

  22. On October 17, 2012 at 9:58 am Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    I dress the same, because I always wear dresses. I might go without makeup when traveling if I have to wake up super early or I’m doing something adventurous though.

  23. On October 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm Matt said:

    Wow. Amazing post. Dentite (my kind) refrence and panty compression scale. What more could you want. i actually enjoy the freedom to break out of my normal wardrobe when traveling. It does suck that when you are in Asia and try to buy a souvenir t-shirt, it doesn’t come close to being true to size…
    Matt recently posted..Get More Color In Your Photos This Fall

  24. On October 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm Katie said:

    It seems we have a lot in common: I am also a lazy sparkle-lover. Living in Taiwan was the best for sparkles — the night markets there are FULL of glitter and sequins and everything shiny. I think I was a magpie in a previous life.

    As for the mascara, the trick is to wipe the wand on tissue when it comes out of the tube, and then apply multiple thin layers 🙂
    Katie recently posted..Estonian is Awesome!

  25. On October 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm Ayngelina said:

    You completed cheated, I want to see a photo of you in the dress!
    Ayngelina recently posted..The scariest but most beautiful thing I have ever done

  26. On October 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm Mara said:

    Emergency earrings – never thought of that. Kudos!

  27. On October 21, 2012 at 12:42 am choi kum fook said:

    So far, most of the comments are written by female!Why? May be this post was very interesting to female because of the ATTIRE?! As a man, I am not so particular concerned in attire, even in traveling aboard.Anyhow, it should be clean and tidy.Miss Sally, as from my view, you looked more girlie than most of female because you made up and dressed with all the female cosmetic decoration.Very nice looking and why worry!?

  28. On October 22, 2012 at 10:36 am FreedomJackson said:

    Men are relentlessly attracted to everything about women.

    I may never understand why girls don’t understand this.

    There isn’t a lot a women has to do to get the attention of a man. Just remember what you are and WHO you are.

  29. On October 25, 2012 at 5:01 am Amy said:

    When I left to travel, I planned on wearing the (ugly) zip-off trousers and light hiking gear…. well, after a few months I realised I did not look nice in pictures and I decided to go for the nice (yet still practical for travelling) clothes. I shopped along the way and after a year or two, I got a decent wardrobe in my backpack. I always had problems finding nice, comfortable but cute shoes. The best I could find was Converse. Not nice, but they don’t stick out as much as hiking shoes. 😛 Tough to look like a lady on a long trip. I still need practice.
    Amy recently posted..Unique Architecture of Romania

    • On October 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm Sally said:

      Shoes were definitely hard for me. I found some cute, sporty Mary Janes that I wore on my last trip. Those worked really well. And I just got a pair of Tieks, which are super cute & fold up so they’re really good for traveling. Now all I need to do is plan a trip to test them out!

  30. On October 25, 2012 at 11:10 am Ava Apollo said:

    This: “But that doesn’t really stop me from buying high heels. And occasionally pulling them out of my closet when I’m drunk or suffering from self-delusion.”

    Same here. I’m not sure where I ever thought I’d wear 4-inch heels. Those things require the kind of practice I’m just not willing to put in!

    Also, I don’t think you’re ever going to get over that couch. You REALLY loved that thing, it would appear.
    Ava Apollo recently posted..SCUBA Diving in the Jade-Green Waters of Cambodia


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