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Blog postings by Claire - '09

Hometown: Columbus, WI
Major: French, International Studies
Activities: Honors Program, College Democrats, Campus Government, Campus Ambassador
Future Plans: Law School


February 17, 2009

Stress exists in college? What? No!

Wow. I'm almost done. I can almost taste graduation in the air. In three short months I will be a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota Morris. The only thing that stands in my way are two senior seminars, club responsibilities, work, doing my taxes, figuring out FAFSA for grad school, wedding plans, day-to-day work, and planning the rest of my life. Easy enough, yes?

It always amazes me as a college student just how easy people think we have it. We can sleep in until all hours of the day, go to class in ratty sweatshirts and sweatpants, live off of pizza and pop (without gaining weight, of course), and we have all that free time to just hang out. When friends, family, complete strangers tell me this, I just want to ask them, "Really? Is that what you think college is?" And for some people it is. But for me, if you are not challenged in college than what's the point? Why spend all this money and not learn something? Sure there are nights where you have to stay up until 2, 4, 6 am working on a paper or studying for a test. There will be times you'll consider if you really need to eat fruits and vegetables (they're actually kind of expensive!), and there will be times that you question if it's even worth spending all this time, energy and money for all the stress that comes with it, and my answer is yes!

I'm so glad I'm nearly done with my undergraduate work, but I am really going to miss Morris. The challenge I have had here both in classes and out of class has been worth every minute. I feel as though I have truly grown as a person, for the better. So just remember, whether you are in high school, or college, the stress that comes with this education IS worth it. You WILL be a better person because of it, even if it doesn't seem so at the time. So, should you ever get asked why college is so rough, proudly respond, "Well, I go to Morris, where professors constantly challenge their students and real knowledge is discovered. And that takes a lot more work and time than the version of college portrayed in today's media." Plus, then you'll sound super smart.

Now you're mine,
My happiness still makes me cry.
And in time you'll understand the reasons why
If I cry it's not because I'm sad
But you're the only love that I've ever had.

I can't believe it's happened to me.
I can't conceive of any more misery.
Ask me why
I'll say I love you and I'm always thinking of you.
~Ask me Why

December 11, 2008

I leave in 5 days?!?!

Hey all!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written, and I apologize. The past few weeks have been kind of busy around here. I leave on Tuesday (the 16th) and have my last final (yay!) tomorrow morning. It’s really weird to think I’ll be leaving Belgium already. In many ways it seems as though I have just arrived.

This morning I received some WONDERFUL news. I have been accepted into St. Thomas School of Law. It was my first choice of law school, and although I’ll think it over a bit first, I believe that’s where I will be attending. I really wanted to stay in Minnesota, and St. Thomas is the ONLY law school in the country that has internships for their students every year. As much as I learned on my internship in one semester, I can’t imagine how much I will learn in three, each being a year. It will give me a better idea as to what area of law I will want to pursue, and will also give me all the practical experience that you need, but don’t really receive in the classroom. I am very excited.

My overall experience studying abroad has been AMAZING. I have met amazing people (both European and American), made some great friends, learned more about myself and others, and truly grown as a person. In many ways I think this was important to leave the US for the semester, so I could really figure out who I am while not under the guise of people I know. In many ways it was like going off to college for the first time (again).

On the other hand, it has been very difficult. You can’t just call people up whenever you want (you must factor in international charges and the 7 hour difference), or see them, for that matter. Also, many of the friends I have made over here I may not see again, and will only be “facebook? friends. Those that live closer I may be able to see, but then what about after graduation? It’s kind of a curse to get to know people and then never see them again (or not with any regularity).

I also had a very interesting experience with my host family. In many ways it was more like a boarding house, ie I rented a room, and they cooked meals, but that was it. It was also interesting to live with a fiery Spanish woman and her quieter, Belgian husband. Belgian people in general were interesting to meet. There were more cultural difference than I expected between the US and a western-European country, but that was fine. The biggest was probably that Belgians expect perfect manners, but are also brutally blunt. It’s nothing to tell a person they’re fat, or that shirt doesn’t look good one them, so long as you say hello and goodbye, and ask about each other’s health. Very curious.

All in all, they study abroad time for me has been worth every penny (and it has been pretty costly). If someone would have told me when I first got on that plane back in August how I would feel right now, tonight, I probably wold have laughed them off as a crazy. But it's true. Studying abroad really changes a person, all in different ways, and probably not all for the best, but for me this has been an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I'm so glad I didn't pass up because I was afraid of missing people back home too much. Thank you to everyone who pushed me to do this!

It's been a long long long time,
How could I ever have lost you,
When I loved you.
It took a long long long time,
Now I'm so happy I found you,
How I love you.
So many tears I was searching,
So many tears I was wasting,
Oh Oh now I can see you, be you,
How can I ever misplace you.
How I want you,
Oh I love you,
You know that I need you,
Ooh I love you.
~ Long, Long, Long

October 14, 2008

Gall-dang-it, it's October already!

It’s been quite the party over there. A party of studying that is. Last week was midterms, and a long with that I was writing a 12 page paper for my history class. The paper is not actually due for 3 more weeks, but it happens to be conveniently due the Monday after fall break, and as I will be traveling during that time, I need to get it done early. All the more so because I have another 12 page paper due the week after fall break as well, which I am currently working on.

I’ve officially been in Brussels for two months now (half my time here) and it really seems hard to believe. It feels like I’m just beginning to really “get? the city and all of it’s quirks. I think the next 2 months will go a lot faster than the first two. Because, after all, I’ll be quite busy traveling for the next 3 weeks, or so, and then all of a sudden I only have just over a month left! (A week of which will be finals, so that won’t count at all.)

Today I applied to my first choice of law schools--and it was terrifying. I had to eat some chocolate first to get my nerves down so I could fill in the application and such. Fortunately for me, the cost of applying was only $12—just the cost for the Law School Database to send off my information. Why is this you may ask? Because I have an application fee waiver—possibly the best thing ever. Before I leave here (Brussels) I hope to have applied to the majority of law schools, so I can focus on other things next semester (like graduating and finding out where I get in).

I’m very grateful to have the experience to study abroad, but things can be difficult at the same time. I really miss not being able just to pick up the phone and call whomever, whenever, because we’re all (roughly) in the same time zone. I miss being able to drive places, rather than walk everywhere or being squished in the metro or tram.

I hope my ramblings are not too boring!

Hold your head up you silly girl look what you've done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl.

Take a good look around you
Take a good look you're bound to see
That you and me were meant to be for each other
Silly girl.
~Martha My Dear

September 17, 2008

How time flies!

So guess what? I've been in Brussels for almost 5 weeks now! Time is just flying by! In two weeks we'll have our mid-terms, and a week later fall break! I am really enjoying my stay here. Any second thoughts I may (or may not) have felt at the beginning have long since disappeared. This is my second study abroad trip (the first was July in Paris) and that may be part of the reason it has been a relatively stress-free experience.

There have definite differences between my experience here and my experience in Morris. I think a list is the best way to describe it.
1. There is MUCH less class time here. Classes are only 2-3 hours per week. There is also much less work, really only one or two tests. Maybe a paper as well.
2. Time is different over here. Not anywhere near to the extent of Southern Europe, but if you need something quick, it's probably not going to happen.
3. Hot showers do NOT exist here. Luke warm? Consider yourself lucky.
4. There is more of a fatalistic approach over here. How things happen is how they will happen--you're not so much in command of your own destiny.
5. Bureaucracy is king here. Something one person can do, 6 people are assigned to it in 4 different departments.
6. Nothing is open on Sundays. And I mean nothing. No chain stores, few restaurants.
7. Belgian beer and chocolate are the pride of a nation. Both are rather tasty as well. (Umm, don't worry because I'm 21?)
8. The lunch breaks are fabulous. Think you're lucky if you get a 30 minute break? Try 2 hours!
9. Politics over here are CRAZY. Think the US election is nuts? Try not having a government (we've been without for 2 months).
10. Language is more important than any American can understand. To speak French to someone from Flanders, or Dutch to someone in Wallonia, is quite possibly the biggest insult you could do; and being in Brussels, a bilingual city, it can be a tight line to walk.

I'm sure my list will only increase as the semester progresses, but I look forward to the challenges and adventures to come!

Tell them I remember you

I remember too a distant bell
And stars that dwell
Like the rain out of the blue

When my life is through
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of it all
Then I will tell them
I remember you
~I Remember You

August 25, 2008

Brussels!

Hello to all!

This semester I am studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium. I am going through an exchange program, CIEE. Today was the first day of classes. I only have one class on Mondays, so it wasn't too bad at all. The classes here (I am studying at Vesalius College) are either twice a week (Mon/Wed or Tues/Thur) for an hour and a half, or once a week for 3 hours. It makes for less class time than at Morris, and each of the classes are 3 credits instead of 4.

The one class I had today, Modern European History, 1648-1848 (real modern, right?) doesn't seem to be too bad of a class. Really we only have 2 tests and a research paper, so all in all, pretty low-key. Tuesday and Wednesday will be my intense days, with two classes!

I am doing a homestay while I am here, and have been enjoying it for the most part. Of course, you're living in someone's home, so you must follow their rules, but really I lucked out as my host parents really don't have any rules, except be quite if you come in late. That, and don't lose your key.

I think I will enjoy having gone through CIEE, because we go on so many excursions with the group, and get to see quite a bit of the country and surrounding area. Of course, it's hard to be away from everyone I know and love. I would be lying if I said anything different, but this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the world, meet new people, and learn about different cultures (as different as Europeans get...).

I'm sure I'll have some interesting stories as the semester progresses, and of course you all will be in the know!

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me.
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns,
And calls me on and on across the universe

Jai Guru De Va Om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world.
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world.
~Across the Universe

July 13, 2008

A summer job: knowing you'll never have to do this again

The great thing about summer jobs is being able to "job shop" different professions. Although most of them only last a few months, it gives you the enough experience to decide whether or not this is something you would want to do for the rest of your life (or a good 40 years of your life). If it's an internship, or a job in a field that you may want to go into upon graduation, the summer is the perfect opportunity to decide what you like and what you really don't like.

If you're majoring in business, and you get a job as an office assistant, you really get the feeling of what it would be like to work in that field--or that it is time to change your major. Of course each field is broad enough that one experience can't fully show the entire field, but it does give you a pretty good idea as to whether or not you want to go into it. For myself, working in a customer service job makes me realize that I really want to help people as much as possible, because it's a great feeling to make somebody's day, but it also makes me realize that in customer service, people treat you like dirt. If you can't give them everything they want, they often make you feel like a small, horrible person. Thanks to my summer job, I have been able to narrow my search of what I want to do upon graduation: be able to help, but also have enough clout to not be yelled at if the business I work for doesn't have an amenity the person wants.

So, to sum up my ramblings here, summer jobs are a great opportunity to discover what you like--and what you don't--and shouldn't be taken too seriously, because, after all, they are for only the summer.

Well, how come you say you will when you won't?
Say you do, baby when you don't
Let me know, honey, how you fell
Tell the truth now, is love real?
so, aw, aw
Well, honey don't
Well, honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
~Honey Don't

May 31, 2008

Summer!

So it's summer and it's wonderful.

I don't know how many of you will be reading this during the summer, but who knows, maybe I have a following? Eh, eh? Well, to anyone out there the interesting life of summer as a college student: desperately trying to find a job. Lucky for me, I just found one, and that was a huge relief. It's not quite full time, but it's close enough to work for the summer, and who knows, maybe this lets me have some fun time too?

I am getting ready for my trip to Brussels, which may turn out to be a part time job in it of itself. God know applying for it was. I'm kinda nervous about applying for the visa, mostly because it's possibly the most complicated thing ever (that and I have an extensive criminal background I'm hoping they don't find...j/k...)

Pretty much I like the time off from the grind of school, but it's weird at the same time. The first few days after finals, it's like 'finally! some time to sleep!' but then you start getting the shakes because you are no longer studying for 26 hours out of the day, and you feel wrong. dirty. bad. It takes like a week to get back into the normal world. But then it's nice to sleep in, read for fun, watch bad TV, all the things you wanted to do all semester but didn't have time to do. It's real nice.

I'll leave you all with this thought:
Let me take you down,
'Cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see.
It's getting hard to be someone.
But it all works out,
It doesn't matter much to me.
Let me take you down,
'Cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
~Strawberry Fields Forever

May 16, 2008

The end...or the beginning?

Well, here we are. At another end to another year. I realized a couple of days ago that I only have one more semester here at Morris. That was kind of a shock to me. If I had put two and two together last semester (studying abroad fall 2008 = last fall semester in Morris fall 2007), I probably would have cherished things a little bit more.

Tomorrow is graduation. So many people I know are graduating this year: good friends, great friends, boyfriends. A few professors I know are going on sabbatical next year, so this was my last year with them. I never thought that the end of my junior year would hold so many lasts for me, and yet, at the same time so many new beginnings. I took the LSAT this year for law school, and started looking at some law schools. I became a blogger. I worked on some great campaigns. I began to think seriously about my future, not only what that holds for myself, but also for other people as well.

I'm looking forward to the summer, where all I have to do is go to a job, and earn money, yet at the same time, I am beginning to feel senior nostalgia. I think the most important thing to take from my ramblings is this: your 3, 4, 5 or even 6 years here will go by faster than you can ever imagine. There will be times that it is great, and there will be times it won't be so great, but the important thing is you take all that you can out of your time here. I know I am already regretting not getting involved in things sooner.

Well, to leave you all on a happy note...(by the way, have you discovered who my favorite band is?)

What can I do, what can I be?
When I'm with you I want to stay there.
If I'm true I'll never leave,
And if I do I know the way there.
Ooh then I suddenly see you,
Ooh did I tell you I need you
Ev'ry single day of my life?
Got to get you into my life.
~Got to Get You Into My Life

May 4, 2008

15 Applications

So.

The end of the year is near. We have one week of class left, and then the week of finals, and it's harder than ever to attempt to study when the weather is so nice. With the end of the year always comes the question, "So, what are you doing this summer?" And my answer is always: "Working, somewhere..."

This summer, much more so than summers' previous, has been very hard to find a job. Any job. I had sent out 6 applications to various places before, and this weekend I sent out another 9 making it a grad total of 15. Now if only someplace will call me back with an offer, or at least an interview.

I think the most frustrating thing in the process is not knowing. Companies never call you to tell you you didn't get the job, only when you did, so you always have all these loose strings out there floating into the abyss. Of the thirty restaurants/coffee shops/bars/stores I went to this weekend, 15 said not hiring this summer, or try back in a few weeks, 7 said they WERE hiring, and 8 said they probably weren't but here's an application anyway. Talk about a tough market.

It's funny, because you know according to our fearless leader, we're not in a recession, and yet jobs are really hard to come by, even for my friend the nursing student. I know right, nursing people are supposed to get any job they want, because we have such a shortage of them, and yet, no dice.

Well, hopefully I'll find a job yet, and if not, if you know of something open...just let me know...

This happened once before,
When I came to your door, no reply.
They said it wasn't you,
But I saw you peep through your window,
I saw the light, I saw the light,
I know that you saw me,
'Cos I looked up to see your face.
I tried to telephone,
They said that you were not home, that's a lie,
'Cos I know where you've been,
I saw you walk in your door
~No Reply

April 20, 2008

Thank God for Morris.

Wow.

So since I've been accepted to my study abroad program, I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. All the paper work to fill out, the doctor visits to assure Belgium that I have no horrible diseases, the visa application nightmare. I'm just thankful that I only took 14 credits this semester and have time for another class (ie getting ready to leave in 4 months). With all the paperwork that needs to be filled out, I have had more than one question on how, exactly, one answers these asinine questions. This is where I'm glad I can go up to anyone who works here, at Morris, and ask, and they'll not only answer it, but not make me feel like an idiot when they do. I'm really glad that I go the Morris campus where people know you and very helpful. This extends to the community as well.

So, last Thursday my van (that's right I drive a van, not a car) decided to not start...in Willies parking lot (one of the grocery stores in town). Well, of course it so happened that I had to leave on Friday morning and wouldn't be back to deal with it until Saturday. I told the manager/owner at Willies and they were completely cool with it. They said to leave it there for as long as I need, and not to worry. Needless to say I was relieved. I don't think even my hometown grocery store would be okay with that (I'm from a town roughly the size of Morris).

At the end of the day I'm glad to call Morris my home. I feel welcome and safe here. People take care of each other around here, and that sure is a comfort when you are far from home. I'm glad I chose Morris as a school, not only for it's great professors, but also for the community.

A friend says that a love
is never true.
And you know that this
don't apply to you.
A touch can mean so much
when it's all you've got.
When she says she loves you
that means a lot.
~That means a lot

April 4, 2008

Jazz Fest 2008!!!

Holy crap.

Jazz Fest was amazing last night. I don't know if any of you guys have ever gone to Morris' Jazz Fest, but I think it's something everybody should do sometime in their lives. The event is AMAZING!

It's held every year at the end of March/early April on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Every year guest artists are brought in to do clinics with the high schools who come (oh yeah, this is all about the high school student), and then perform every night with the Jazz 1 Jazz band at Morris.

This year the artists are:Eric Marienthal, alto sax and Byron Stripling, trumpet. These guys are awesome! Not only do you get an evening of great music, but you get entertained too! (It's like taking Environmental Geology with Cotter.) They make jokes, sing, play music...it's pretty much the coolest thing ever.

I don't think I can do justice to what the atmosphere feels like at the Jazz Fests, mostly because it changes every night, depending on who is in the audience and how they interact with the guest artists. Long story short, if you ever can come to a Fest, then do it!

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine,
Good day sunshine.
I need to laugh, and when the sun is out,
I've got something I can laugh about.
I feel good in a special way,
I'm in love, and it's sunny day.
Good day sunshine, good day sunshine,
Good day sunshine.
~Good Day Sunshine

March 31, 2008

Belgium!!

So last week I heard that I was accepted to a study abroad program in Brussels, Belgium! I'm super excited, but now that I have the list of things to do and their due dates, I'm becoming a little nervous. The cost also caught me off guard a little bit. I know the euro is stronger than the dollar, and it would make sense that a trip to Europe would cost more, I just didn't put two and two together.

I'm really glad that I'll have this opportunity to study abroad next fall, but it's also a little hard. It will be my senior year and I'll miss somethings, like voting in my first presidential election (I know I can vote absentee, but that isn't the same!), missing homecoming my senior year, and mostly just missing those last few times of hanging out with friends. I don't really know what's to come, but world, here I come!

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe.
Pools of sorrow waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind,
Possessing and caressing me.
~Across the Universe

March 25, 2008

weird life moments.

Wow.

These last few weeks have been CRAZY! With midterms, then spring break, there has been little time just to breath, and sit down!

During my spring break I stayed in Morris for part of it and gave tours to some prospective students. Giving the tours was a definate deja-vu moment for me. My first tour of Morris was on a crappy spring day when I was a junior, and Morris students were on their spring break. No body was on campus. The campus was wet, gray, and ucky. This is EXACTLY what the campus looked like as I was giving tours last week. It was kind of weird to have a moment like that a "circular" moment if you will. While this was interesting, I think a more interesting moment happened later in the week.

The second half of the week I toured law schools in the Twin Cities. As a tour guide, and someone who works in admissions, I kind of know the questions to ask, what to know, how to best form an impression of a school. But it was weird to think of how just earlier that week I had been giving to high school juniors looking at schools the first time, and now here I was in their role, as a junior just looking at schools for the first time, again.

I wish spring break would have been longer, but it's great to be back, and I am sooo ready for spring to be here!
Yeah for weird life moments!

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
oh, yesterday came suddenly
~Yesterday

February 29, 2008

The true meaning of spring break...

Spring break: a wonderful time in every college student's life. The half-way point between the spring semester. The time to relax, vacation, sleep in, go some place warm. But what about the time before that? There is one word for that: MIDTERMS.

No college student likes them. But every semester they happen, just like a nasty cold, they take over two weeks of your life you could spend doing just about anything else. Midterms aren't worse this year than any other year, but they seem ill-placed. Usually with midterms comes the hope of spring, of warm weather, of the nearing of summer. This winter it has been colder, and with the snow we got yesterday, wetter and whiter. Perhaps it's also because this semester has been going by faster than normal, and it doesn't seem like it's already almost half over. Perhaps it's just because I don't want to take the tests and write the papers...whatever the case may be, I'm not ready for them to happen.

It's not that I'm overly worried about my grades, or to actually study for the test, or write those papers, but the feeling of things being almost over. I think this year more than the previous two years, I'm realizing that my college time is more than half over, and that I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the crazy study sessions at 3 am, learning new things and expanding my ideas about the world, the endless hours spent studying in the library, going to concerts and plays my friends are in, eating at TMC, the parties, and of couse spending time with my friends.

I know that I'll continue some of my friendships, but I also realize that some will fade away in the coming years, and that makes me want to cherish every moment possible, now, when I have the chance. Of course, that means midterms too, but you know what? That's okay. I'm ready (or nearly ready) to continue on in college, in friendships gained and lost, in life, and in love.

I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me,
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
~Let it Be

February 20, 2008

Hi, I'm Claire!

Hey guys

I am one of the new bloggers here. I think it's best to first tell ya'll a little bit about myself before anything else.
I'm a junior here at UMM and double majoring in French and International Studies, and doing the honors program. I really like the French program at UMM because of the faculty. There are three French professors here, and they are ALL great! (One of the French profs actually blogs too--Sarah Buchanan.) I wasn't sure about what to major in when I came to Morris and actually ended up becoming a French major because I only had to take one class a semester to get it, but I've really enjoyed it. Last summer I participated in the July in Paris program through UMM, and that was really great. (A LOT more work than I thought it would be, but definitely worth it.)

I'm also majoring in International Studies, which is actually a create-your-own major. At first I thought that it would be a lot of extra work, but it was just a form to fill out and have approved, it really wasn't bad. I like this major because you get to pick what classes you want from different disciplines (French, history, art history, economics, ect...) and they count towards your major! I think it's a really great way to double major and still graduate in 4 years! ;)
The honors program here has been great. I really like that the classes are interesting, and interdisciplinary (you'll have 2 profs from different programs). The classes are usually pretty challenging too, which can be frustrating from time to time, but in the end a good thing.

I guess the reason I chose UMM was because of it's buildings. I know, I know, why would someone chose a school based on that? Well, I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in, so I didn't really look for specific programs, so one of the most important things for me was what the campus looked like. The first time I toured UMM it was a sleety spring day, and NO students were on campus because it was their spring break, but it was still a really nice campus. I toured again the next fall, and that really helped to seal the deal for me. The brick buildings covered in Ivy; the HUGE green mall in the center of campus; the smiling students--I really liked the school. Of course, I didn't decided until about a week before I had to, but I'm really glad I came here.

There are always about a zillion things to do around Morris, and this weekend is no exception. Friday night I think I'll go to a movie. The Morris Movie Theater is getting some new, great movies in it, and with tickets only $3.50 each (student reduced prices) it's really affordable. Saturday night I'm going to the Jazz concert. If you happen to be in Morris some weekend and there is a Jazz concert, I highly recommend it. They're really really good and it's always cool to see your friends in it. With tickets only $1, it brings my grad total for weekend spending to $4.50 (or $9 if I want to be nice and pay for my boyfriend too...).

"Well, I'll bet you I'm gonna be a big star
Might win an Oscar you can never tell
The movies gonna make me a big star
'Cause I can play the part so well"
~Act Naturally




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