What’s normal for you and me might not be normal for someone we know who lives abroad. Or their neighbor. One of the harsh truths of life is that reality isn’t always as objective as we might think it is.

In a viral thread, Redditors shared the best examples of what’s completely normal for people from their country and absolutely weird for foreigners. We’ve compiled some of the best answers that we hope will make you smile and laugh.

Scroll down and upvote your favorite things that are normal for some people, but are unusual for the rest of the world. If you enjoyed this list, why not share it with your friends? And be sure to let everyone know in the comments if you’ve got any of your own stories about what’s normal for your country, but that you realize to be strange when you go abroad.

#1

Going bankrupt from medical debt. (USA)

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Ceredwyn Ealanta
Community Member
8 months ago

We don't just find it weird, we find it sad and we're worried about if you're okay.

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#2

Everyone rags on the US for using imperial, but can we talk for a second about how weird we are here in the UK for using both inconsistently?

You buy a pint of milk or beer, but a litre of coke and 25ml of whiskey

People know how many miles to the gallon their cars get, but you buy fuel at pence per litre.

You watch the weather forecast and the temperature is in Celsius but the wind speed is in miles per hour

Most people can tell you their weight in kilograms, and their height in feet, and if they can't give you kilograms they can probably give you stone instead, which is even older than pounds, which nobody uses as a unit of measurement, probably because of the confusion between lbs and £...

It's a glorious mess.

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Nunya
Community Member
8 months ago

The US also uses Metric...and Imperial. Perhaps not that the extent described. But alcohol, soda, and other products are measured in liters, milliliters, etc. Milk, water, etc are in gallons, ounces, etc. medications are in milligrams but food is in ounces/pounds.

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#3

upset? have a cup of tea

happy? cup of tea

bored? cup of tea

literally any feeling? cup of tea

edit: yes, I’m from the UK, tea is our answer to all of life’s problems.

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Lucas
Community Member
8 months ago

Yep, tea. I'm in the UK. My sister got married and had an afternoon tea party. FFS. Celebrating with bloody tea.

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Reddit user Ojlol2’s thread on the ‘Ask Reddit’ subreddit got more than 63,000 upvotes in a day, as well as over 48,000 comments. Wow, now that’s a lot of people wanting to share their experience about how normality can differ from nation to nation.

From bizarre actions to eyebrow-raising phrases, there will always be things that seem out of place, as long as different countries, cultures, and ethnicities exist. And it’s a wonderful thing because a shift in your perspective can lead to more creativity and a more objective understanding of yourself.

#4

Unsuccessfully helping your dad look for one of his missing thongs and then watching him squeeze into one of your mum's so he can go out into the back yard and get the laundry. I'm told the rest of you (incorrectly) call them flip flops. (Australia)

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Lady Laura
Community Member
8 months ago

I was picturing the dad squeezing into tiny thong underwear. Quite the mental image!

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#5

Eating with our hands.

In 1969 (the same year the man landed on the moon), Miss Gloria Diaz coveted the Philippines' first Miss Universe Crown. During the preliminary Q&A, she was asked "Is it true that you Filipinos use your hand when you eat?" To which she replied "Why? Do you use your feet?" and went her way to winning the crown. (Phillipines)

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nanashi
Community Member
8 months ago

HAH I would definitely use that response in the future!

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#6

Tax not included in advertised price (USA)

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Foxxy
Community Member
8 months ago

I just find that weird.

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The United States of America is one of the most powerful countries on Planet Earth, but it doesn’t mean that everything its citizens do is the norm across the world. Some things are minor differences. While some take you aback, make you stop, and keep you awake at night thinking about the cosmos, Multiverse theory, and humankind as a whole.

#7

Bears on motorcycles driving on roads, drinking vodka and playing balalaikas.

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Hahaha! Gotcha. What I said was untrue. Russia doesn't have roads.

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Katchen
Community Member
8 months ago

Ha!

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#8

Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don't even have walls around the houses! (Brazil)

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Guido Pisano
Community Member
8 months ago

It is not so common but you can find also in italy

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#9

Having a reality tv star as president (USA)

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
8 months ago

Or an actor as president? Or a non-American actor as governor? Americans must think that people in the public eye are automatically qualified to run things...

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For example, one thing that is really odd is how Americans write today’s date by starting with the month, then writing down the day, and ending with the year. Most countries in the world start with the day or end with it. While we’re on the subject, how is it that the US still uses the Imperial System? It seems like the American War of Independence didn’t get rid of all of Britain’s influence over the colonies.

#10

In my high school (US) we had a group of australian students come to live a day in the life of an american high school. They all thought it was so bizarre and cult-ish that every morning we had to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag with our hands over our hearts. I couldn't agree more that it is, indeed, bizarre and cult-ish.

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Katchen
Community Member
8 months ago

Agreed. It’s creepy af.

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#11

Direct democracy in Switzerland. It often baffles me when I read what the government can pull off in other countries without ever involving the population. Like...yea, you get to elect representatives but it often seems to me that those people then elect someone who elects someone who elects someone...is it really still democracy if you're about five steps removed from the actual decisions? (Switzerland)

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
8 months ago

Yeah, I wish more countries had Direct Democracy

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#12

Men holding hands in public as a display of friendship is normal in Afghanistan but super weird in the west.

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European other
Community Member
8 months ago

And men who are friends do that in Tanzania

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Constantly tipping everyone, no matter how well they did their jobs, also causes a lot of people to shrug and give Americans peculiar looks. Japan’s a real wonderland in that regard: there’s almost no tipping.

#13

In my country you bike everywhere. Cars aren't used much. For longer distances you mostly use train and public transport. Also being 6 foot is normal (The Netherlands)

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Pamela24
Community Member
8 months ago

6 ft = 182 cm

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#14

I have two to share since I'm half and I get to see those every year. Dead. We celebrate dead and we have parades about dead. We laugh about dead. Dead is our friend. In Mexico we treat dead with love and fun.

Also in Japan we celebrate kanamara Matsuri. Wich is basically a parade about fertility with dicks everywhere. Small dicks. Giant dicks. Dicks as food.

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
8 months ago

This means during Kanamara Matsuri you can tell someone to go eat a dick without sounding suspicious.

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#15

Small talk in Poland actually is quite sincere. If someone asks you what's up, you tell them exactly that it's s**tty etc.

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
8 months ago

Yep. And it's not being negative. It's being *honest*.

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#16

Being left off of maps (New Zealand)

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
8 months ago

We are just toooo tiny...hehe

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#17

Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed (UK). Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the local looked horrified when i was out of my seat screaming “wheyyyyyy”

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Carrie de Luka
Community Member
8 months ago

Alongside the suggestion to 'sack the juggler'

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#18

Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows. (Norway)

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MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
8 months ago

Lithuanian there, was sleeping in balcony straight out of hospital (born at the end of November), this is also very common in Estonia

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#19

Being middle-class with a property having a 6' wall, electric fencing linked to an alarm, automated gate and garage doors (with security clamps over the gate motor to prevent theft of the motor), security gates over every door, burglar bars, and a house alarm system with infra-red sensors linked to armed response with a reaction time of under 3-4 minutes. (South Africa)

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Catherine Waite
Community Member
8 months ago

This was something I found very hard to adjust to when I moved to South Africa from the UK. I went from if you forget to close a window or lock a door odds were you would be fine. ~To nope nope nope, you do that and you're probably coming home to an empty house if lacking said security features.

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#20

We have no sun here. Around this time of year everyone start asking each other "You been taking vitamin D?". It doesn't matter if you're talking about feeling sad, dealing with the flu, or missing limbs... you been taking vitamin D bro? (Canada)

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Geoffrey Holland
Community Member
8 months ago

It depends on where you are in Canada obviously. We have plenty of sun here on the West coast.

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#21

To get money back when you bring empty plastic bottles to the supermarket. In Germany its called Pfand. Each bottles makes 25 cents.

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Katchen
Community Member
8 months ago

I wish we had that where I live. I remember buying soda “gegen Pfand” in Germany and turning the bottle back in.

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#22

On Valentine's day, men don't give any gifts. Only women give gifts, they only give it to men, it's always chocolate, and they get it for all the men in their lives, including coworkers. Then there is a day on the 14th of March where the men reciprocate. The gifts are only from men to women this time, and are chocolate or jewelry or nice clothes, and the amount spent is directly related to the amount of chocolate received. (Japan)

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Cat on a bike
Community Member
8 months ago

That is actually brilliant!

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#23

Eating most of the organs of an animal, I had some people look at me in disgust when I told them how tasty the brain and the heart of an animal are (Romania)

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Heins Zhammer
Community Member
8 months ago (edited)

that's the main problem with today's western culture-when thinking of a chicken you get chicken breast or a leg rather than a chicken medley. post-CCCP countries (romania, bulgaria, poland, lithuania, the whole eastern block and the balkans), much like still asian and african cultures, utilized not so long ago the whole animal and did not waste any parts, hence the brain (stir fried), gut soup, bone soup, blood sausage, lard with bread, cow tounges and many other delish dishes.

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#24

I think tips are a thing in other countries, but in America you have to tip almost everywhere you eat or you get hardly judged by everyone. And if the tip isn’t big enough, they judge you too. It’s so dumb.

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Wil Vanderheijden
Community Member
8 months ago

In civilised countries employees are paid a proper wage and their tips are an extra for them. Tips are considered a token of appreciation on how well the server did. Bad service means no or very small tip. In America servers rely on their tips to get a decent income.

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#25

People are always shocked at in my country: 1) our “public” restroom stalls are constructed in such a way that you can pretty much see what a person is doing in there thanks to a constant crack between the door and its frame... 2) I say “public” in quotes because most of our so-called public restrooms are in private businesses who don’t let our surprisingly very large number of homeless use and since there is no actual fully public restroom to use, said homeless often piss and sometimes even s**t in our streets. Oh- and we have a higher percentage of our population in jail than literally every single nation on earth. (USA)

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Wil Vanderheijden
Community Member
8 months ago

A lot of people refer to the US as "Backwardistan" or "Dumbfvckistan" since the tangerine toddler took office.

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#26

Strangers sitting totally naked skin to skin in a steamy room heated to +80 to +100C... and us having competitions on who can last the longest in there. (Finland)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
8 months ago

Some 50 years ago this was unthinkable in Austria but today it's common for strangers to sit naked in a sauna, except for the skin-to-skin part. Even the slightest touching is totally inappropriate.

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#27

In my friend's country, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it. I thought that was pretty weird. (Slovakia)

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Heins Zhammer
Community Member
8 months ago

same in poland still in rural parts of the country

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
8 months ago

I wasn't joking. My fam doesn't tolerate this, and if a girl breaks the stick, then that's all the boy deserves. And a sign he's poor marriage material if he'd do this at all. And, yes, my cousin has broken a stick on a boy's head when he wouldn't back off. We call it "self-defense" in ENglish...

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Pamela24
Community Member
8 months ago

We have that too in the Czech Republic (no surprise there) and in recent years, I'm starting to find it problematic. It's fine as long as it's symbolic and when the woman says she doesn't want to get whipped then everyone respects it but the truth is it's very often not the case. The men get drunk going from house to house and it can get pretty violent. And not many seem to understand how humiliating it is to get beat up (even lightly and as a "joke" and a "tradition") against your own will.

Anet Arteacher
Community Member
8 months ago

Well now perhaps you should carry a bigger stick. Don’t ever allow anyone to take advantage of you and that sounds particularly aggressive.

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elfin
Community Member
8 months ago

Perhaps instead of thanking them the girls should get some sticks of their own.

Iapetos
Community Member
8 months ago

Yeah, that sounds extremely weird.

chi-wei shen
Community Member
8 months ago

As soon as the girls beat back (not so gently) this tradition might stop.

Prestigous Cactus
Community Member
8 months ago

I suspect most traditions might stop if you injected violence yes.

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Hana Salajova
Community Member
8 months ago

Sovakia here. Yeah, unfortunately this is “tradition” in my country. I hated it since I can remember. I remember, i asked my BF of 4 years every single year to respect my wish and just forget this stupid thing. He found it weird, his family looked at me like I came from other planet, but said ok, you always have to be different. One year he said Nope, it’s a tradition, water makes you healthy and “beating” fertile (or other way around, I really don’ t know). I fought back and splashed some water on him When he didn’t expect it in front of his friend. He was laughing too hard and my BF could’t take the “shame” and broke up with me after 4 years!!! that instant. Otherwise our country is pretty normal, like we have complete infrastructure, mc donalds and stuff :D

Mer
Community Member
8 months ago

(Good for you!)

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Stephanie Peryton
Community Member
8 months ago

I'm so glad Im not one of those poor girls *shivers*

Analyn Lahr
Community Member
8 months ago

Why?

Master Markus
Community Member
8 months ago

That's really weird and sounds fucking awful.

Sylvie Lerbletier
Community Member
8 months ago

Sticks (pomlázka) for the boys, water for the girls in Czech Republic. This will never get less weird, when you're explaining it to.... well, pretty much anyone from abroad. :D

Blub Blub Blub
Community Member
8 months ago

Imagine someone coming up to you and covering you with water, then lightly tapping you with a stick, and saying "Thank you" afterward

Anet Arteacher
Community Member
8 months ago

Well that would get you arrested in the USA.

Andrea Elizabeth
Community Member
1 month ago

Buffalo, NY has this festival. It’s called Dyngus day.

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Tarryn Louise
Community Member
8 months ago

Wtf

Evil Little Thing
Community Member
8 months ago

But why though?

bee pot
Community Member
8 months ago

um what?

Juniper
Community Member
8 months ago

And you have to give them painted egg(now its mostly chocolate eggs) and pour shots. Everyone is usually wasted by the end of the day. And its actually a whip made out of willow rods, decorated with ribbons.

Eliška Komárková
Community Member
3 months ago

Also I consider being doused with cold water a bit worse. After all, Easter is in March or April and the temperatures aren't that high at this time of year, close to 0°C. The guys could catch pneumonia. I would say it would show the survival of the fittest quite adequately.

Eliška Komárková
Community Member
3 months ago

It's a long time tradition in the Czech Republic. In the past the house owner did this to all of his househould, farmworkers were also "whipped" and the farm animals as well. It was believed that the young willow branches give its freshness, strength and youth to the ones being "whipped". Nowadays, in the cities and towns only boys and men "whip" the females. In the country it isn't just little boys going around, but little girls also. The whipping is not supposed to hurt. It's supposed to be gentle, no marks should be left. In all the years I have lived through this tradition none of the whipping have ever hurt. It is just as**s that do it with force. The caroller is supposed to sing or tell a poem during the process. The children get boiled decorated eggs, gingerbread figures and chocolate. Grown ups tend to get a shot of some alcohol being it slivovice or vodka.

deborah atulomah
Community Member
8 months ago

More hpnoured in the breach than the observance, I hope?

Katerina Huskova
Community Member
8 months ago

Same in the Czech Republic. The most stupid tradition ever. Btw.the beating is never gently. Never

Mer
Community Member
8 months ago

I could way too easily see me grabbing the "stick" and breaking it over his head.

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Hańka
Community Member
8 months ago

...but Polish girls do not thank the boys, but also pour water on them ;)

Valerie Lessard
Community Member
8 months ago

an Easter tradition in many balkan countries

Maria Rohlen
Community Member
7 months ago

It is weird, especially since drinking and domestic violence is a common problem.

Barbara Baldwin
Community Member
8 months ago

In USA that's a daily thing

Marika Aeon
Community Member
8 months ago

in Czech republic we have this as well. The water part it's not so common these days :D

Richard Henderson
Community Member
8 months ago

And they thank them by giving them liquor.

Kiko~
Community Member
8 months ago

We still do it Hungary. Some people use parfume instead of water, but some doesn't...

Symtpom
Community Member
8 months ago

kinky

Michaela Chrástová
Community Member
8 months ago

In Czech too

Míša Vondrakova
Community Member
8 months ago

czech republic - it's still a huge tradition, the men are not always gentle but the water pouring is done by girls after noon. And we don't thank the men but we give them painted hard boiled eggs and usually a shot of some strong alcohol

TerrySane
Community Member
8 months ago

If you are a child there is a lot of chocolate in it, so it is something like halloween, we do not celebrate halloweeen much in Czech Republic.

Radek Suski
Community Member
8 months ago

I used to do this too

Hana Salajova
Community Member
8 months ago

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C
Community Member
8 months ago (edited)

Sounds really disgusting.

Timea Toth
Community Member
8 months ago (edited)

Hungarian's have this tradition on Easter Monday.. the tradition was bought by our grandparents here to Australia. Difference is the guys didn't beat us with sticks, only poured water on us while we were running around our yards screaming at the top of our lungs.. afterwards, we'd offer them a drink of alcohol. Fun times!

Louise Mrazkova
Community Member
8 months ago

In Czech republic its almost the same except that the boys don't pour water but the girls over the boys if a boy comes after 12h and the boys have to sing a song while they are beating the girls

Romina Burch
Community Member
8 months ago

In Switzerland it used to be tradition too a long time ago. It's a fertility ritual. The soil for the crops used to get whipped too.

David Kadlec
Community Member
8 months ago

Same in the Czech Republic. It's a pretty common thing here during Easter.

Miradona Balog
Community Member
8 months ago

Same in Romania

European other
Community Member
8 months ago

Hahaha nice tradition !

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#28

Queuing politely (UK)

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Si
Community Member
8 months ago

I don’t understand the mentality that it’s okay to push in front of somebody who’s already waiting.

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#29

Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious bastards (Australia)

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
8 months ago

I'm 30+ and I've never been swooped. In fact I used to take refuge from the school bullies underneath the magpie trees because the birds would swoop the bullies but not me.

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#30

Calling a Traffic Light a Robot (South Africa)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
8 months ago (edited)

...and a gas station a garage, and a pick-up truck a bakkie.

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