Twelve flights in 13 weeks sounds like a completely reasonable amount of trips to many of our most frequent-flying Customers and Crew, but as a first-time expecting mom I found myself losing the internal willpower battle to make it through my packed few weeks on the move—all while fighting the symptoms that often come with the first signs of pregnancy. [Insert green, nausea face emoji!]
Naturally, I turned to Google for all the tips and tricks, and was honestly shocked at how little information was out there. All I could really find was "stay hydrated" and "stretch your legs," all fine and dandy but I needed something more! The tough part was that being in the first trimester, I didn’t have many people to turn to as it was still early in my pregnancy and we were being cautious about sharing until the twelve-week mark. Fortunately, I have a great network of Coworkers at Southwest that happen to also be moms, so I began reaching out to them in confidence begging for them to bestow their wisdom on me. Here’s what I learned. (Generic disclaimer: This is simply what worked for me and was approved by my doctor. Always consult with your doctor!)
Eat early and eat often: This was my personal mantra during the often dreaded first trimester. Even though I didn’t always have an appetite, I noticed that eating five to six small meals and constantly having something to munch on significantly helped keep nausea at bay. Carbs are your best friend, and I found that a breakfast sandwich or bagel seemed to always agree with my tummy no matter what time of day. My doctor also suggested taking the vitamin B6 (again, always check with your doctor), and whether it truly helped or was more of a placebo, I'll never know.
Fly when you feel good: Sounds obvious right? Well, as the weeks went on I quickly realized my “morning sickness” was more of an afternoon sickness, so I tried to avoid flying during that timeframe—I changed a few of my tickets to more agreeable times. Something our Customers state over and over again that they love about Southwest is our flexibility (aka no change fees), and I now completely get it! Do yourself a favor and fly when you feel good, if possible.
Relax: Honestly, I think a lot of the time I was working myself up over the fear of not feeling well in-flight, when in all actuality, I usually felt just fine. The few times I did get a bit queasy were during takeoff and landing (again, probably all mental), but I tried to establish a little routine with some “comfort items” to put my mind at ease. Every time I flew, I made sure to bring a comfy neck pillow (this is the one I swear by) to take a nap (because who are we kidding, you have NO energy) and wore comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. During taking off and landing, I’d suck on a Preggie Pop Drop, and I’d always make sure to have either a podcast pre-downloaded or I’d watch HGTV (hello, nesting!) on Southwest’s free Inflight Entertainment Portal (info on how to access in Southwest: The Magazine onboard).
Pro tip: the Portal works gate-to-gate so you can even watch while taxing to the gate, and if you paid for a movie it can be continued on a connecting flight!
Have a little bubbly: I wish I was talking about champagne, but this piece of advice is preggo-friendly. Take advantage of Southwest’s free beverage offerings. A number of friends told me a regular Coca-Cola was the key to a successful flight for them, but there are some great options full of bubbles to help keep your tummy happy along the way—my favorites include the good-ole Ginger Ale, 7UP, and surprisingly refreshing, the Lemon Lime Sparking Water when I wanted something to spice up my water intake (gotta stay hydrated, right?).
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the journey! Southwest’s purpose is to connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, and I can’t help but be grateful for the freedom to fly even with the less than fun first trimester symptoms. While it was easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, I’m looking forward to telling our baby girl about the adventures Mom took her on, including visiting Yosemite for the first time to see her Uncle and Aunt get married, going to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and getting to attend her Mom’s best friend’s baby shower in California.
Best of luck to my flying mamas out there, and feel free to comment what works for you below!
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Check out these spooky homes and attractions located throughout the Southwest System … if you dare! Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL)—Haunted house expert Steve Kopelman picked Terror Behind the Walls Haunted House at Eastern State Penitentiary as one the Best Haunted Houses in America. Built as a haunted house inside an actual state prison, this lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers stands behind the Eastern State Penitentiary’s massive 30-foot walls. Many people believe that Eastern State Penitentiary is haunted because, as early as the 1940s, officers and inmates had reported mysterious visions and eerie experiences in the ancient prison.
Prison cell in Eastern State Penitentiary, also known as ESP, is a former American prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY)—This one applies since, technically, a cemetery is a home to the dead! In its rich history, New Orleans has been home to plague victims, civil war soldiers, and many other victims of catastrophes, resulting in the need for a large amount of burial space. Since New Orleans is mostly below sea level, the need for burying bodies above ground became clear. Lafayette Cemetery, officially established in 1833, has been said to be haunted, and people state they have seen ghosts roaming about the tombs. Some of the more distinctive monuments in the cemetery include those of the Brunies family, of jazz fame, and the “Secret Garden,” a square of four tombs built by friends who wished to be buried together. New Orleans Lafayette Cemetery
Stranahan House of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL)—Built in 1901, the Stranahan House is the oldest standing building in Fort Lauderdale. Built by Frank Stranahan, who was Fort Lauderdale’s first postmaster, the home has long been known for its creepy, haunted vibe. It’s now run as a museum. Reports of Frank’s ghost haunting the home surfaced after his death. One report says a clock that had not worked began ticking and chiming on its own a week after his death. It is in a beautiful part of town—visit if you dare! Stranahan House, the oldest building in Fort Lauderdale, originally built as a trading post
Thrillvania of Terrell, Texas (DAL)—Located just 20 minutes from Southwest’s home base of Love Field is Thrillvania, one of the most decorated haunted attractions in the world. Spread out over 50 acres featuring eight attractions, Thrillvania frightens more than 20,000 visitors a year. The cornerstone of this fear farm is Verdun Manor, a two-story haunted house originally designed by Disney Imagineers and said to boast more props per square foot than any other haunted house in the country.
Thrillvania Haunted House Park.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky (SDF)—Waverly Hills Sanatorium is said to be one of the most haunted places on earth. Waverly Hills began as a small tuberculosis hospital in the early 1900s. In 1926, a larger hospital was built to accommodate all of the affected. It’s rumored that over 63,000 patients died there, many as result of experimental procedures and mistreatment. Waverly Hills has been featured on shows like Most Haunted, Ghost Adventures, and Ghost Hunters. There are vast amounts of reported apparitions, shadows, random voices, and sudden cold spots. Public tours are offered on the weekends.
Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago, Illinois (MDW)—As one of the largest hotels in the Windy City, the Congress Plaza Hotel has always been sure to have a few stories to tell. The hotel was constructed in 1893 for the World’s Fair held in Chicago that year. The grandeur of the building has lured all kinds of characters to the its lobby and rooms, including Dr. H. H. Holmes—reportedly, America’s first serial killer—and Al Capone. Some say that room 441 is the most haunted room in the building, and there are no restrictions on spending the night, if you like. But, according to legend, there’s an even more haunted room on the twelfth floor that is so frightening that its door has been permanently sealed behind wall paper. If you’re looking for a creepy night in a grand but ghoulish hotel, Congress Plaza is sure to have you terrified!
Chicago - September 6, 2015: The Congress Plaza Hotel, located on South Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park in Chicago at 520 South Michigan Avenue.
Share your favorite haunted hangouts in the comments. And remember to have a safe and fun Halloween! Employee Contributors:
Sydney Leonard, Editorial Communication Specialist, Communication & Outreach Kiely Donovan, Team Leader, Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards
Ally Harrington, CSA Supervisor, Ground Ops
Tiffanie Abbott, Editorial Intern, Communication & Outreach
Copyright: legacy1995 / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: cpaulfell / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: anankkml / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: demerzel21 / 123RF Stock Photo
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Just in time for April Fools’ Day, it’s an exciting announcement from Southwest Airlines! From the People who brought you the television shows Airline and On the Fly, Southwest is proud to introduce Cash Lav, a thrilling inflight game show that is sure to get Customers and Employees on the edge of their seats, competing for cold hard cash.
Here’s how it flows: when the lavatory door is switched to “Occupied”—at random—the party lights come on and it’s time for one lucky contestant to get down to business. Our inflight host then reads each contestant as many trivia questions as possible while the seatbelt sign is turned off. Each question is worth $50. Get a question incorrect, and the contestant’s chances are flushed down the toilet (figuratively, of course), and the contestant’s gotta go.
Again, Happy April Fools’ Day and thanks for playing along!
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From Boston to Boise, you’ll be green with envy if you miss out on these ultimate St. Paddy’s Day celebrations held in various Southwest cities. Share your plans in the comments—and be safe out there.
Boston (BOS) – Boston reigns supreme as the country's most Irish-American city, with the highest percentage of people of Irish descent, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau. Roughly one million people, yes you read the correctly, flock to Beantown to take part in the annual parade. The city truly goes all out with an Irish film festival and a six-day concert series in addition to the parade fun.
Chicago (MDW) – The Windy City's annual dyeing of the Chicago River has become one of the world's most recognized St. Patrick's Day traditions. The annual ritual dates back to 1961 when Stephen Bailey, the manager of Chicago's local plumbers union, saw a plumber's white overalls stained the perfect shade of green while pouring dye into the river to detect sanitation leaks. After making this discovery, Bailey suggested using the dye for future St. Paddy's Day celebrations. Childhood friend and former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley agreed, sparking an annual tradition that continues to this day. In fact, this practice is so celebrated that the city's river dye formula is a closely guarded secret. This year, the river was dyed on March 12, but you may see remnants of fluorescent green for days to come.
Kansas City (MCI) – Though North Kansas City's annual celebration goes by the name of Snake Saturday (in honor of an Irish legend about St. Patrick driving pagans, or snakes, out of Ireland), no snakes are involved. Instead, revelers participate in a variety of St. Patrick's Day activities, including a charity cook-off, a lad and lassie contest for kids, and a two-day carnival.
Shamrock, Texas (AMA) – A little over an hour from Amarillo, Shamrock plays host to the Official St. Patrick’s Celebration for Texas. Shamrock’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was the idea of Glenn Truax, a Shamrock bandmaster. He envisioned the town of Shamrock capitalizing on its Irish name and producing an annual one-day celebration to draw thousands of visitors to the Irish City. With the help of the Shamrock Boosters Club, the first St. Patrick’s Day Festival was reeled off in successful fashion in 1938. Don’t miss this town’s Big Dance, Motorcycle Rally & Poker Run, Parade, Miss Irish Rose Pageant, and more!
Boise (BOI) – Ranked number 21 on WalletHub’s list of Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations, Boise is not one to be overlooked. For those on a health kick, there’s Idaho’s Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Run/Walk, the Shamrock Shuffle. After the race, participants join the after-party to celebrate in style with a complimentary Sockeye green beer in a custom Shamrock Shuffle glass until the awards ceremony where you might find you’ve won an age group award ribbon to take home to show off!
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The following is a guest post from Customer Brian Davis, a mentor in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, who recently received an opportunity to give his “Little Brother” Ladarius the birthday surprise of a lifetime.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing a surprise birthday experience a bright young mind will never forget. I have been a mentor to Ladarius J. via Big Brothers/Big Sisters for over seven years, and have watched him blossom into a loving, caring, kind, and curious young man. As the only child of a single mother with limited means, I try hard to introduce him to the world around himself, and you have really helped me take that to the next level.
After a reveal of the surprise for his 14th birthday yesterday morning, we headed to Love Field where he was shown the ticketing counter and the arrivals and departures screen. He caught on quickly, and we breezed through security and on to Gate 6. He was surprised at how much the concourse area resembles a modern mall, and loved having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, where he had his first cappuccino. I was shocked that he asked what one was, and that he pronounced it perfectly. We boarded the plane, and I was able to slip the friendly flight attendant a note explaining our trip. Ladarius was a little nervous about the sounds and the shakes of our takeoff, but was soon smiling as I pointed out Parkland Hospital (where we had visited his grandmother), the Hilton Anatole (where I take him swimming every summer), and the bridges that cross the Trinity River. He loved his bird’s-eye view!
The plane leveled out and the Captain came on the PA system to thank our veterans for their service to our country. He then announced that it was Ladarius’s first flight, and his 14th birthday, which drew applause from our fellow passengers. After landing in Austin, the Captain guided us into the cockpit, and allowed Ladarius to take his seat as he explained the compass settings and the steps required to program the plane for the next segment to Boston. He was fantastic, and got Ladarius to tell him that he plans to be a marine biologist when he grows up.
We departed the airport in his first Uber, and he loved the idea of hopping in a car and going anywhere without paying. I quickly fixed that perception, showed him the App, and explained the online payment process. We arrived at Whole Foods headquarters for lunch with a friend, where we dined on his favorite cuisine: sushi. After a quick birthday cake bite and a root beer, we were ascending the grounds of the State Capitol for a special private tour of the House and Senate chambers, the rotunda, and a congressional office.
After that, we walked up to the campus of The University of Texas, past the huge fountain and the tower, and were lead on a VIP tour of the College of Natural Sciences. They took us into the basement to see the creepy jars of dissected creatures, then over to the turtle pond where students were as relaxed as the turtles. We saw large and small lecture halls, the new computer science center, a student food court, and the amazing gymnasium with a rock climbing wall and resort-style pools. Our guide explained the Marine Science program in Port Aransas, and provided us with great information to consider for high school.
Our next stop was for a bite to eat at my favorite Austin restaurant, Elizabeth Street Cafe. Ladarius wanted another Ginger Ale, after enjoying it as his in-flight beverage. We each ordered the kaffir lime fried chicken banh mi, and as usual, he impressed me with his appreciation for exotic cuisine. He practically licked the plate clean. We grabbed desert pastries for the road, and quickly headed to the Congress Avenue Bridge to try to catch a glimpse of the bats as they emerged from under the bridge at dusk. We never did see the bats, but the sunset over the city was a truly magical ending to a perfect birthday celebration.
Thank you for helping me to teach Ladarius about the joys of traveling, a little state history, planting the seed for a college education, and that his future is as limitless as the sky.
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As a former brewmaster, Peter Hoey spent nearly 12 years learning to decipher which ingredients yield the right amount of froth. He honed his skills at Sacramento Brewing, as well as the iconic Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (which is credited as one of the leaders of the craft beer revolution).
Whether he’s sourcing ingredients for his full-time gig at Brewers Supply Group or guest teaching “brewing science” at a local university, beer is infused throughout Peter’s life. Keeping up in the booming business of brewing isn’t easy, but Peter is thankful he can count on Southwest Airlines to get him everywhere he needs to be in order to succeed.
“The No. 1 reason I fly Southwest is the People,” he says. “Being in a social industry, I can tell immediately whether someone likes their job—Southwest Employees love what they do!”
Peter travels weekly from his home base of Sacramento, where he’s become good friends with some of the Crew Members on his regular routes—not uncommon for members of the Rapid Rewards frequent flier program. In addition to great Customer Service, the ability to easily redeem points and the flexibility to change his plans really comes in handy as he covers territory from Seattle to Santa Fe.
Peter finds many ways to redeem his points, both for business and pleasure. He recently treated his 7-year-old daughter to a trip to San Diego. “She wanted to go on an airplane like I do,” he says.
Peter, we appreciate the love you’ve shown us. We’re happy to help you keep the “crafty” beverages on tap!
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From Seattle to Salem, Southwest Employees shared their favorite spooky destinations to visit on All Hallows’ Eve.
Underground Streets of Seattle (SEA)—The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 burned the city to the ground. The townspeople rebuilt the streets one story higher than the old, making hidden hallow tunnels and passageways that played host to a red light district of mischief. A portion of the underground city had been restored for you to tour.
–Jennifer Lemón, Customer Service Specialist, Customer Support & Services
Alcatraz on San Francisco Bay (SFO, OAK, SJC, SMF)—Alcatraz, on San Francisco Bay, offers night tours for visitors looking to make an evening of stepping back in history. Experience the place that some of America’s most notorious criminals once called home and keep an eye out for the occasional reported ghost sightings. Alcatraz Cruises call it “An inescapable experience,” so enter at your own risk! –Hollye Gaman, Specialist, Culture & Communications
Superstition Mountains of Phoenix (PHX)—Whether it’s the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine or the perilous cliff faces, there’s a rich history behind the beautiful Superstition Mountains in the East Valley of the Phoenix Metro area. A short 30-mile drive from the airport will get you not only some gorgeous scenery but a sight that might send shivers down your spine. The Red Cliffs of Sedona may get a lot of the mystical credit in Arizona, but it’s the Superstition Mountains that have always caught my eye as far as that feeling that you may not be alone. The Mountains have had numerous reports of missing people, plane crashes, and even mysterious lights that keep people coming back for more. Largely unexplored and very dangerous, they are draped in an eerie energy that keeps me in awe of the majesty of this landmark.
–David Weck, Center Operations Associate, Customer Support & Services
The Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City (OKC)—The Skirvin Hotel is a beautiful hotel located in downtown Oklahoma City. It is located in Bricktown, close to restaurants, shopping, and the Chesapeake Center, where the Oklahoma City Thunder play. It was built in 1910, closed in 1988, and after renovation was reopened in 2007. The legend is that the ghost of Effie, Mr. Skirvin's mistress, haunts the 10th floor. It has been reported as haunted by four NBA teams, and most recently, an ESPN commentator. The teams reported trouble sleeping because of slamming doors, moving objects, and a baby crying. Maybe the ghosts are just Thunder fans!
–Krista Crow, Customer Representative, Customer Support & Services
Spirits of Charleston (CHS)—Considered America's Holy City, Charleston, SC, boasts a spectacularly spooky, storied past. This SWA destination is home to the spirits of America's first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher; Revolutionary- and Civil War-era soldiers; notorious "Gentleman Pirate, Stede Bonnet, who was brought to justice on Charleston's White Point; and even the pup, Poogan, is said to brush against the legs of guests enjoying dinner in his former home, Poogan’s Porch.
–Virginia Anne Ivey, Project Manager, Marketing Sales & Distribution
Caddo Lake (DAL)—Two and a half hours east of Dallas Love Field lies the beautiful town of Jefferson, which is next to the headwaters of Caddo Lake (the only natural lake in Texas)—and it’s haunted. Many spirits wander through the in-town hotels and the bed-and-breakfasts (I’ve heard them!), including the ghost of “Diamond Bessie,” who was a 1870s flamboyant lady of ill repute who was murdered. Ghost walk tours are offered, but a sunrise walk through the East Texas mist to see Diamond Bessie’s grave marker in the main cemetery is certain to make your hair stand on end.
–Bill Owen, Senior Business Consultant, Network Planning
Stranahan House of Fort Lauderdale (FLL)—Built in 1901, the Stranahan House is the oldest standing building in Fort Lauderdale. Built by Frank Stranahan, who was Fort Lauderdale’s first postmaster, the home has long been known for its creepy, haunted vibe. It’s now run as a museum. Reports of Frank’s ghost haunting the home surfaced after his death. One report says a clock that had not worked began ticking and chiming on its own a week after his death. It is in a beautiful part of town—visit if you dare!
–Ally Harrington, CSA Supervisor, Ground Ops
Salem (BOS)—Roughly 40 minutes outside of Boston is the home of the Salem witch trials: the hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts in 1692. The trials resulted in the executions of 20 people, most of them women. Visitors to the Salem Witch Trial Museum experience the drama of that dark time though 13 life-size stage sets, figures, lighting, and a stirring narration as they are witness to the web of lies and intrigue of the Salem Witch Hunt. You can even see if you’re a descendant of one of the accused—I found out I was related to John Proctor, a farmer and tavern keeper who was hanged for witchcraft.
–Sydney Leonard, Editorial Communication Specialist, Culture & Communications
Share your favorite haunted hangouts in the comments. And remember to have a safe and fun Halloween weekend!
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You could watch your hometown’s fireworks this Fourth of July... or you could take advantage of the incredible fanfare at one of these Independence Day celebrations.
Lights on the Lake
Touted as the biggest fireworks display in Southern California. Watch the show from Big Bear Lake’s public parks or from a boat! Make sure to bring a blanket—it can get chilly! Fly into: LAX, OAK, SMF.
Philadelphia proudly presents America's largest free outdoor concert in celebration of Independence Day. On your way to the show, check out the six-story tall rubber duck at The Delaware River Waterfront… because it will quack you up! Fly into: PHL.
A Night in NOLA
This free event features two barges launching dueling fireworks on the Mississippi River—the best display in New Orleans. Of course, the show is choreographed to stirring patriotic classics such as “Proud to be an American!” Fly into: MSY.
Freedom Over Texas
Houston hosts the country's largest land-based fireworks show. This event is truly “Texas-sized,” boasting well-known musical acts and lots of family fun. Fly into: HOU.
Share your favorite places to watch fireworks in the comments. And remember to have a safe and fun Independence Day weekend!
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Michael Neel had two dream jobs growing up—to be a centerfielder for the New York Yankees or to work for Southwest Airlines.
While the Yankees didn’t really work out, he never lost sight of his dream to work for Southwest and his passion for the Company continued through high school. “My L.L. Bean backpack had the initials SWA, my senior quote was ‘Fly Southwest Airlines,’ and I even wrote Herb Kelleher a letter asking the Company to hire me when I became old enough!” said Michael.
Well, all that dedication to the LUV airline throughout the years paid off. Last month, Michael Neel was hired as a CSA Supervisor in Louisville. He credits a dear friend and SWA veteran, CSA Supervisor Julie Adams, with helping him get his foot in the door. Regardless of how he got here, or how long it took, its been a long time coming for Michael and we’re thrilled to have him onboard. Michael, welcome to the Southwest Family!
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“You should work for an airline!” That’s what Diane Fajardo’s mother always told her. But it didn’t become a possibility until 2007, when Diane received an invitation to interview with Southwest Airlines. The only problem? Diane hadn’t applied for a job at Southwest.
It turns out Diane’s sister had submitted an application on her behalf without her knowledge. “I think she just saw my heart and knew the position would be the perfect fit for me,” Diane says. “I immediately quit my job as an accountant and never looked back.”
Diane has jumped at every opportunity given to her at Southwest, including moving to Atlanta for two months to serve as a Class Coordinator at the Company’s newest Customer Support and Services Center. Her LUV of Southwest and her peers was plain to see, which is why she was nominated to be Our Star.
Even in her spare time, Diane enjoys the company of her Coworkers, often playing tour guide to those who invite her along on their vacations. “I love traveling,” she says. “Los Angeles and New York City are my favorites.” Diane is a pro at the planning and strategy needed to travel standby successfully. (Southwest Employees can fly for free on any flight if there is a seat available.)
But she doesn’t just use her flight benefits for fun: She’s also used them to help the person who first supported her career choice. A few years ago, Diane’s mother, Della, began experiencing neurological difficulties. “We tried every specialist in Albuquerque. No one could help her,” Diane says. The family finally turned to Phoenix’s Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, where Della was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Diane’s flight privileges let her and Della travel to and from the clinic whenever they needed.
After finding out she would be featured in this month’s issue, Diane’s only request was for a few extra copies for her mom to take to friends at Bible study. We’re more than happy to oblige and help celebrate you, Diane!
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