21 December 2005

Riding that wave...

"Just ride the wave Jesus has blessed you with right now, DONT BE AFRAID to stand up on your board and surf....you might fall (but the water will break your fall) or you'll just ride that wave all the way to shore." --a quite wise analogy from my good friend Rachel...

So on my walk in the first deep snowfall here in Ukraine this was my discover:

There are two ways to walk here in Ukraine. You can rush over the thick layer of ice and risk a broken tail bone or waddle like a penguin and feel your toes gradually freeze. Today I chose the later, and made it home just in time for my toes to defrost.

On my left, this morning, was a young man who decided it was better to release the contents of his stuffy nose on the ground rather then in a hankerchief that would be put in his pocket. I burst into a fit of laughter as Zoya tried to hush me, "Melanie! What is so funny!? He just spread his germs and infections on the ground!" But I couldn't contain my outburst of amusement.

Then, on ahead, we trudged through the icy streets of Donestk, Ukraine and looked ahead as all that was in clear view was mounds of hard white ice/snows. Some big and some small white mini-mountains. How to walk through this? I looked down at my two heavy parcels in both hands and laughed out loud--it was like climbing Mount Everest sometimes--that difficult (although I never have climbed Mount Everest) But the laughter run clear throughout our journey as sometimes I felt like we were heading towards the Mines of Moria in hope of an easier route. (and sometimes that easier route was a crowded trolley bus.)

The sidewalks had long disapeared admist the ice and snow yet somehow Zoya and I discovered a place to walk. The slushy water looked rich enough to drink (or not) and the impatient cars that zipped by knew little caution. I tried to warn the two busy teenagers who rushed past with a broken Russian "Быт осторожна!" but they ignored me completely...not my fault!

"I was hoping the train was my big number...I don't know what it is to get me over, I don't know what it is to get me over....but you gotta be there."

18 December 2005

Everything Is Illuminated

So I sit, in a internet club with Japanese students in the backround rambling to someone over messenger. The old gentlemen next to me and I just exchanged smirking glances and directed our eyeballs back to the computer screen in front of us. I look outside and snow is falling gracefully. This morning I kept praying as I starred out the window, "Please, Jesus, just a little bit of snow...please! Christmas is in one week! Please!" and sure enough, that is our faithful Jesus...sending His faithfulness in everything big and small. So, right now, I see the little and I reckon that calls for trust that His faithfulness leaks into the big things as well.

I strolled the streets heading towards the internet, Christmas melodies playing gently in my ear and I had just a chance to laugh. To laugh about all the craziness that is going on and all the stuff that could go on for the rest of my life and just thankful that I can hope...and that hoping is okay. Though...Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

So, while I was here, my parents saw "Everything is Illuminated." Now, if you haven't seen it, please, please, please SEE IT! Not only does it have our talented and attractive actor Elijah Wood, but also it takes place in Ukraine! It's a for real movie and I walk the streets here and wonder if these people realize that their country is being seen in theaters all over America?? It sure isn't playing here...although The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe comes out Dec. 27...but haven't seen any pictures for the other...so, anyway, Everything is Illuminated, see it and tell me what you think (of course not what happens) and know that he goes through Odessa and other parts (Odessa is where Andrey and Irina live!) I dunno, maybe its just me, but...ya know.

A quote comes to mind and I will end it with this...

"Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."

11 December 2005

"Table two, your order is ready."

This one goes out to the dancer in each one of us.

Or, a random shuffle on the iPod...in return for the blessing of Kate's post :)

1.) When You Hold Me-For All the Drifters ...a song of my brother's old band, that Jaci Valesquez took and re-did...she actually did a really good job.

2.)One Boy- Bye Bye Birdie Soundtrack...I remember the first time I watched this movie with Andrea and...I forget who else.

3.)Rainbow Connection--Willie Nelson...Oh this song rings soft and melodic for the soul. So simple yet so deep. Wouldn't it be cool if Willie Nelson was your uncle?

4.)Don't Pass Me By--The Beatles White Album...haha. I LOVE this song. It's one I remember dancing around to in England...it sways so perfectly. If I remember correctly I listened to it a lot in the month of January after being in Kansas for a month :)

5.)The Might of Rome--Gladiator soundtrack...oh this movie is good. I saw it on tv a few weeks ago...of course dubbed over in Russian, but I sat on a stool close to the TV and listened for the english.

6.) Help!--The Beatles...a song that Rachel played in the car last Christmas. We were driving to the airport and she blasted it, Teri and Mindy in the back and me in the front seat, (of course :) The words are priceless.

7.) Carrying the Banner--Newsies...what else to say? I spent half of my life singing this song...

8.)In Christ Alone--Capernwray Version.

9.)Landed--Ben Folds Songs for Silverman...I kind of sort of wish I could have written this song, haha. It's just so good.

10.)Deeper--Delirious? ...one of my all time favourite Delirious songs.

11.)Castle On A Cloud..Les Miserables...wow, this just gets more and more random.

12.)I Know Who You Are--Ginny Owens...I heard this song for the first time in October and Jesus used it more then once to speak to me...to remind me and to bring me to reality.

13.)Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas--Judy Garland...Ooh, what a beautiful moment in the film and...I will miss me home for Christmas a wee bit.

14.)Kto Ani--Russian Praise Music...I thought one of the best ways to learn a language is to listen to music in that language, but I think maybe it's good to know how to pronounce the words before you sing them :)

15.)Thank You--Led Zeppelin...Oh, classic.

16.)The Truth--Gattaca soundtrack

17.)Main Title--Take Off--The Rocketeer Soundtrack...I think I took Kate's advice on this one and listened to it as I flew over the ocean towards Ukraine.

18.)Scammed by a Kindergartner--Home Alone Soundtrack...I know we all remember that part in the movie.

19.)Two Of Us--I Am Sam soundtrack...so, I cheated a little and skipped some others, but this one is just...it's just...ya know...from me to you, sealed and everything :)

So, since Kate only did 19 that's all I shall do as well :)

alwaysalwaysALWAYS be yourself.

05 December 2005

I Dig Music.

Something strange happened to me when I got to Ukraine. It's like music came alive to me again...yes of course, I greatly savored my moments of pure bliss singing at the top of my lungs on the highway, passing strangers and fellow drivers, but here it's a bit different. First of all, we live in apartment blocks and we always have to "consider our neighbors." and that's right, since I got here three months ago I haven't sung at the top of my lungs...except for those couple of times in the shower, but, a ya know. So, where do I fuel my need for musical escape?

It's in the little musical box I bought, by God's pure grace, a year ago. My iPod. I take it every day on the 1/2 hour bus drive into work, sometimes crammed between people (haha, and I mean crammed...sometimes in ways that I thought was only meant for a husband and a wife) sometimes sitting starring out the window, or sometimes just walking and trying to protect my ears from the bitter wind. But new music has touched me, as well as taught me how to break out into a move in my room late at night (listening with headphones, of course.) but one of my favourites...the one that the first time I heard it, I felt that it was from some movie I had never seen. Is it? Anyway, I mouthed it at the top of my lungs- Queen's "Somebody to Love." and than, more recently "Don't Stop Me Now." These songs are real classics. I didn't really know Queen but put them on my ipod more out of respect but as each song came on shuffle I couldn't change it. Especially, "Don't Stop Me Now." I felt that right there, sitting on that ancient tram, I just HAD to start dancing. I couldn't, of course, but I wanted to.

'Cause I'm having a good time...

Also, the new Coldplay cd, which my brother said was "so-so" but I really...really enjoy it. Each song is pleasant and smooth and full of talent.

I recall a moment in the not so distant past when someone stood on the top of a high hill and yelled, their arms spread out like a plane and shouted. "I dig music."

I couldn't agree more.

me-bon-who-lives-over-the-ocean inspired this post and late night walks just to listen to the music and think. klass.

27 November 2005

Time...on my mind...

Well, it's been a good long while since I've written anything in this. Maybe it's a good thing, or maybe not. But either way, I have been inspired somehow. I don't have a lot to say, haha...when do I not have something to say? No, but seriously. I saw one of the funniest things the other day. I saw a stranger walking next to me. (not that this is abnormal, but...) It was dark and the ground was covered in a thick layer of ice. We all looked like we were waddling penguins or something. Anyway. We were waddling down the darkened street and a kid passed me. Okay, he was maybe 18 or 19 years old and he had a little acne (something that Ukrainians often point out) and he had a little tire-like roll around his waist. He looked insecure and melancholy and I watched him cross the street in front of us. I watched him as we walked a few yards apart from each other the entire way home. He had a cigarette in his right hand. I waited to for him to take a puff, but nothing. It sat in his hand. Occasionally he brought it up to his lips, but only to exhale quickly and return his hand to his side. I laughed out loud. How hard and tiring it must be to fit into an image that one is told to be. But then again, isn't that what we all are doing? I was listening to a lecture this morning from a guy that taught at Capernwray. He was talking about the freedom we have in Christ and if we are so "free" in Christ, why do we continue sinning? And do we know that while we continue to sin we are are not as "free" as we might want the "freedom" to make us feel, but rather we are a slave again to sin? So, I kept thinking...how is it possible not to sin? Is it possible? I don't know. I think that it's normal, and I think that no matter how hard we try not to, we will. I am not saying that because that kid was smoking that means he was sinning. I don't even know the guy! But I do know what it feels like to follow something because I believe it will bring me happiness and to do something because I want to be "free" when in reality all I feel inside is like I am being chained down to a life that wears me out. So what's the answer? Where's the refuge? I think it's just resting in Him. Brennan Manning wrote once that all we have to do is rest in the lap of our Abba and listen to His heartbeat. To just trust Him.
I do wonder, however, how much money that kid wastes on a pack of cigarettes just to play a role that he is told he should play. Especially because he doesn't inhale but just lets it rest on his side...for decoration maybe. Only God knows.

08 September 2005

Oi, I am here.

My third day out of America.

My second day in the Ukraine.

My first day where I felt slightly normal waking up...a dream however, was quite startling and my sleep is unsteady and rare. But God is faithful, as always.

Yesterday we were driving home in a mini-bus and the driver asked why Zoya was speaking in english and she explained we were visitors from Australia and America and he began to ask so many questions about life at home and how different it was. He was so surprised to hear of visitors to the Ukraine. We spoke and joked like we were family and it was great. Only one other man was on the bus and so we talked of life (they asked about McDonalds and if we ate it a lot in America!) and if life in America was like the movies and all these things that most Ukrainians probably believe. It was incredible. He asked us to go for a beer, but we told him we don't drink (though almost every male does here) and that we would go for coffee or something. A few others entered the bus and the conversation subsided and it was done. It was a blessing.

Anyway, pictures coming soon.

26 August 2005

Oi! Dancin' Boy!

a piece of me heart

not a lot else to say. if you want my interpretation of the picture, just ask and I'll give it to ya!

24 August 2005


"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope." -Shawshank Redemption

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

22 August 2005


Originally uploaded by mellesmitty.

"Oh There You Are, Peter"

Oi! Me friend Kate came for a visit this last week. SHe was my room mate 2nd term at BIble school, we had a fantastic time!
My cousin Nina eating black berries a few days before Kate came.
The trip up to Sadona. Attemping to be cool. Didn't quite work.
This is where you would find us if you have come over late at night. Sitting around the piano singing.
Me Sadona
Sadona, Arizona
Me new coat
This is the new coat I bought for the Ukraine. Looks a little Penny Lane. I prayed that if Jesus wanted me to have it it would be there when we came back. Strangly enough, one day after we had found it all were gone but one. God is great.
Little cousin Marko.
Nina devouring berries.
Whereis Kate?
Where is Kate in this one?
Where are all the berries?
Where did the berries go?
Where are the snacks?
While we were at the store and right before this happened, I asked Kate "Where are the snacks in this place?" and all she did was point above her head. Genius.
My personal favourite. Such dramatic faces the both of us.
I think we was runnin' at this point.
Setting Out
Me and Kate
Kate and Josh
Kate with her "brother" Josh.
Finding Mam's Gift
Here I am searching for a gift for me mam.
At Ikea
Me, Kate, Daci and Nina at IKEA
Go Billy!
A new little joy in our life named Billy Elliot. Here is me and Kate doing our Billy pose.

15 August 2005

Crazy. Craaaazy.

Something crazy happened tonight.

A group of friends spent the evening watching Kung-Foo movies and afterwards my cousin Zander and I were hitting each other, seeing who could be quicker. I found a small dagger and as a joke I went over to hold it up to his throat. He grabbed my hand and twisted my arm completely until I heard my wrist crack in a way I have never heard it before. I told him to stop, I begged him to stop, but for some strange reason, I never let go of the knife. He thought I was joking, but afterwards my entire arm was tingling and aching. He told me I should have dropped the knife, I left, wondering....will I ever meet a guy who doesn't hurt me? Just a little bit of entertainment. And a joke.

This is a picture of my dear friend Kate from Capernwray who is coming tonight on the Greyhound...just like in Simon and Garfunkel's song "America" anyway, she will spend the week here.

20 July 2005

holiday trip to warm beach

"You have so many amazing gifts and talents, how can you expect to lead an ordinary life?"
weird story...this lady stepped next to me and bumped me just as the picture was taken. after the picture was done i looked over and she was blind and probably deaf...it felt like a piece of Jesus in this picture, all smiles and everything. Okkkkay, kind of weird.
tarah's dad sonny sitting with a guy named mike. both of them quite the characters in two very different ways.
me and tarah had a fantastic time. she is such a great gift and such a blessing....we had so many good times this last week.
tarahjoshmelkatie three of the funniest people i have ever met. (l-r) tarah, josh and katie. in all honesty, i haven't laughed like that since capernwray or before and their personalities brought such a huge amount of joy into my life. i will never forget those few days at that camp and what a hilarious impact they had on my life. we laughed until we couldn't laugh anymore and it was such a joy.

19 July 2005

Tell Rolling Stone...

This is a little trip I like to call to Seattle. I miss these girls terribly (and Bonnie as well, who is not pictured) and I pray to see them all soon.
This is me, listening to Kristina....oh, no, wait, again, that's me talking and Kristina listening. My cup runneth over my dear friend.
me kristina sharelle 1 year later
One year since we had seen each other. Craaazy.
Telling Rolling Stone
Two guesses. "You can tell Rolling Stone...." and I hope you've seen Almost Famous. Awesome extra, Beautiful Seattle in the back round!
Eating out AND calling Bonnie! Two very awesome things.
If I may so, this is an awesome picture. I didn't take it, obviously, Kristina did. It was a fun time.
Two reasons for this picture: Either 1. Spiro stole my shoes. or 2. We were on a beach in shoes! or 3. It was just awesome.

Girls, if you read this, I miss you and I am praying for you.

Merry Christmas to all :)
Cheers, I am out and off to bed.
This is us walking towards the park. Beautiful.

15 June 2005

Another memorable picture:


Me and Hannatu.
The last time I saw her was one year ago.

My New Admiration: The Lion King on broadway. Laugh all you want, but this is the new thing I'd love to go and see.

"Endless Nights"
Where has the starlight gone?
Dark is the day
How can I find my way home?

Home is an empty dream
Lost to the night
Father, I feel so alone

You promised you'd be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You're not anywhere

I'm trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare

When will the dawning break
Oh endless night
Sleepless I dream of the day

When you were by my side
Guiding my path
Father, I can't find the way

I know that the night must end
And that the sun will rise
And that the sun will rise

I know that the clouds must clear
And that the sun will shine
And that the sun will shine

11 June 2005

Sometimes I might miss....

This is honestly mostly for the fun of it all. I only have pictures of Capernwray on my computer because those are really the only digital pictures that I own...most of my pictures are black and white or color and stashed in books all around my room. I used to love pictures, something about the way it could take you back to a certain place or time and sort of be transported into it...sort of like Flight of the Navigator, except he went into the future, didn't he? Either way, there's something neat about recalling a not so distant memory in the simplicity of a picture.
That's just a picture of a dear Brazilian friend named Daniel and I.
posers 2.21.04
This picture is called Posers 2.21.04.
You know what I seriously just realized? A year ago today...it was just Grace and I mel and grace, either singing or laughing
left at Capernwray. All the goodbyes had been said. It's exactly one year. That blows me right outa the water!

So I'm working a lot at the Jewish Camp...though most Jewish people claim it is not as "traditional Jewish" as they could get and that it is more fun and games. What are they talking about? We sing Hebrew songs, the kids wear Keepas and we eat Kosher food! Who's saying it's not Jewish enough?

I'm also preparing for the Ukraine...I'll put up a little map of where I will be. I'll be in the city of Dnipropetrovs'k. It will be only by God's Gracious hand that I will be able to get my visa, passport and ticket all together by Sep. 5. Craaaazzzy.

05 June 2005

a new little bit 'o somethin...

...here's a cool site that i found...

rachel, this one is mostly for you pal:
believing in nothing
check it out guys, its sort of a lot of awesome.

Goodbye backyard view for a year now. Goodbye apartment. Hello new life.

26 May 2005

"Change can be so constant, you don't even feel the difference until there is one."

"What you think you know has nothing to do with reality."

"The truth doesn't set us free, all it does is remind us that love isn't enough."

I do believe this is in California where he is jumping, not Washington, but close enough :)

For those of you that haven't seen it (Kristina, it reminded me a lot of your style) go and see Life as A House.

It's a much more decent Hayden Christensen movie then Star Wars. (No offense to any treckies.) :) Oh wait, that's Star Treck! Just kidding, really, I know what I'm talking about. I know my Star Wars and Star Treck (the a little less on the Star Treck)

Guys. Life is good. God's grace is new every morning and throughout these last few weeks it's leaked through an awful lot.

I have begun writing again! I know, for some it may seem silly or whatever, but to me, it's nearly an epiphany! (is that how to spell it?!) It's like this drape has been lifted and I can dream without drowning and I can think without getting indulged in it. It's incredible. I'm writing with my dear friend Marla, who I knew in high school, and she is teaching me so much. I am learning how to write what I know (something that, let's face it, I always had a hard time doing :) But really, it's been incredible.

Other side news, I am going to Washington for a week this summer. To get away from this WICKED heat (it was 103 today!) (that's Arizona.) someone said. Ha. So I will be going there and Lord willing getting a chance to spend a day or so with Spiro, Kristina, and whoever else wants to join.

Remember, life is good. And remember to chill out, and just take it easy.

16 May 2005

Homeward Bound

"Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me."

The summer has officially begun. (it was 101 F today!) And I welcome it gladly!
Here's a small taste into one day of summer...
Nina, Nina, Ballerina
Oh those cheeky faces, I have seen them before! (Nina and Daci)
Oh those girls, I will miss them.

never, ever, take it seriously

"I always tell the girls never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously then you never get hurt. If you never get hurt then you always have fun, and if you ever get lonely you can just go to the record store and visit your friends. " -Miss Penny Lane

...the other night I watched this with a friend of mine and she didn't get the buzz. the whatever. the feeling. it was sort of difficult to understand. anyway, if you haven't seen it....go and watch it, and meanwhile, enjoy these lyrics: if you get a free chance, check out the frou frou cd. its incredible.

"Maddening Shroud"

Sometimes I like to get away from this maddening shroud
Sometimes I love, you know, it's all insane
Maybe it's time for me to pack it in
Maybe it's time for me to track it in
Maybe it's time for me to throw...

Oh, I've got a good mind to throw it all away
Throw it all away
Throw it all away
After all, what is it worth?

Sometimes I like to get away from the saddening crowd
Sometimes I feel my life is all in vain
Maybe it's time for me to pack it in
Maybe it's time for me to track it in
Maybe it's time for me to throw...

Oh, I've got a good mind to throw it all away
Throw it all away
Throw it all away
After all, what is it worth?

Some days my strength walks out
Some days I can't go out
It is for real
We can walk about
We can work it over and over and over...

I've got a good mind to throw it all away...

Inspiration from Bonnie D. post

11 May 2005

"Oh I feel like dancin'!"


It's over! Done and DONE! School is finally over and this picture decribes what I would most like to do this evening. Instead, I will watch a movie that will pwobably change my life.
No, not Garden State.

"One day, you'll be cool."

Today I heard from the lady in England who works with the ministry that I will be going to in the Ukraine. The Lord is GOOD and merciful. Amen? Amen! He's paving the way.

Side note: This movie is incredible. Some like it. most don't, but my dear pals and I (Rachel, Soteria and Mindy) loved this movie. We saw it for the first time when Rachel was in New Zealand for six months and after seeing it the book was passed around and we even had our own little Ya-Ya-esque meeting. Someday Rach, SOMEDAY we WILL dance like this in our living room. I promise.

29 April 2005

Seamstress for the Band

Couple questions...

Very late last night I was watching Almost Famous (just my favourite parts, ie: the Tiny Dancer scene annnd pretty much the rest of the movie actually) Anyway, I have a question: When Penny Lane is leaving and she is getting on the plane, she hugs William and boards the plane and when she is sitting in the plane mimicking the flight attendant she suddenly gets a look of regret that covers her entire face. What was she thinking? What was this this crazy director trying to get across? Does she regret not staying with him? Obviously the poor kid is in love with her, but what is she thinking? I didn't get that. Also, at the very end, I loved the part where Anita comes home and the mom grabs her and tells her she forgives her and Anita replied "I didn't apologize." No joke, that happened to my mother and I the other day. ...and we just laughed like that too. I love it. Ok, what is your favourite part of this movie? Pick one, only one (and please don't everyone pick the Tiny Dancer part.) because its good, but there are better parts.

Another question, if the kid had found Penny in the one of the taxis what would he have said?
My favourite part?
Or something like that. Maybe even this:
Oye vey, I really gotta finish this homework.

Only Seven more school days! Hallelujah!

28 April 2005

Strings that tie to you...

Maybe some of you hoolagins wonder why I keep posting pictures and why I don't just "get over it already." Right, right, sit down and shut up. As John says: "Would those of you in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewlery." and just sit back while I take ya'll down a little tour of what I like to call, strings. They're attached to me, and they happen to be the only digital pictures I have on the computer (though I have a lot of them) so, here's a few more random ones.

This is Kristina. She was one of my very first friends, a dear, dear friend who I treasure greatly. She's one of the most talented people I know and listens...so well. I miss her. (Deep sigh of reflection) However, the sweatshirt she is wearing is one that was passed back and forth between us and it is my absolute favourite piece of clothing. My dream is to own one someday. Or maybe just that one. I miss it.
This is a picture of a memory I thought I would want to forget. The smallness of England, but looking at it warms my very heart strings.
This was my traveling team. and I miss them immensly. I haven't heard from Jordan (the guy to my left) since I got home and Susan I talked to a few weeks ago but we had an amazing, learning trip together and I wouldn't trade those ten days for anything in the world. This was our pre-trip picture when we were just in the pre-stages of planning (or lack there of.) i miss 'em.
This is Michael from Poland. He and I knew each other a little but a group of us were in the tower at school and I looked at the setting and he was telling me something about his life and I said "hold it, let's take a picture." and so we did, posed and all. Side note:please disregard my Jewish nose. Ha.
Oh my Sprio. I miss her. Yes, the background is real, yes the setting sun on our faces is real. Yes, it was incredible, but it was very windy that day. Spiro and Kristina had been taking all the school photographs for our yearbook and this was in the aftermath of it all. She makes my cup runneth over.
me and spi
This is Katha my dear, dear German friend. I don't talk to her real often either but she and I went through a whole lot. I watched her grow from a shy German who sat with her digital dictionary into an outgoing German/Americanized woman who said what she thought when she thought it and lived for the next moment and what it would bring. She was awesome.
Ok, there's my quick-trip down memory lane. Thanks for watching. And remember, "I got it, I got it. Last words: I dig music." (fat tubby guy claps unaprovingly)
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