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Guangzhou

The Capital Of Guangdong

This has been a great weekend! Clem and I went to Foshan (our neighbor city) to visit some of the other interns. Really good to see them again! I slept at Astrid's (from Sweden). On Friday night we went out in a really local area (people were staring as hell) to drink some beer and eat street food. I could never imagine that I'm seeking for street food, but I actually am. I love street food! Especially the pancake(-ish) they're making a lot of places.

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BBQ street food!

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Good to see Crazy Victor again!

On Saturday we went to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong. Anna planned the whole day. (Thank you Anna, for an amazing day!) We used the metro to get around the city, and we had three "destinations": Fangcun Tea Market, Yuexiu park and a cruise on Pearl River.

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The Tea Market was huge! We could go into every shop, and try as many tea flavors as we wanted. We tried a lot! Some better than other. Our absolute favorite was "the rose tea" (don't know the name), and we were happy to buy some. It smells and tastes amazing.

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Tea Party!

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Tea cake.

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"Milo and his bitches"

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Love it! Clem and Anna in the Yuexiu park.

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Emmanuelle and Astrid in the paddle boat.

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Playing around. Hehe.

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"The goat bums" (The Stuatue of Five Goats).

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Favorite couple.

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Gorgeous city!

Here are some pictures from the amazing boat trip:
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Skrevet av ingmid 19:18 Kommentarer (0)

Hairdresser

On Wednesday I went to the a hairdresser. For not being able to communicate at all (or I pointed at some words in my mandarin phrasebook), it was quite scary. It turned out to be a good experience. I got my hair washed, head massage, neck massage, back massage, arm massage, they cleaned my ears (?), they cut my hair (just a tiny little bit as I wanted) AND they styled it (I got very nice curls which were as good as new the day after). ALL THIS (took me about two hours), costed me .....*drumming*.... 27 NOK! That's crazy. I'm going back every week!

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I also found out the meaning of the rotating cylinders outside every hairdresser salon:

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Black and white: Just haircut.

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Black, white and red: Haircut and massage.

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White, red and blue: Haircut and massage (with "happy ending" for men in the evening). Haha! Or, it's not really funny.

Clem and I bought some exercise mats at Walmart and we're doing strength training every second day (weekends off). Here we're doing lazy-stretching after a good 90 minute session.
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BTW, here are some pictures form the center of our area, Nancheng:

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Skrevet av ingmid 22:41 Kommentarer (5)

The Great Firewall Of China

Trying to use the Internet in China is a daily headache. A lot of pages are blocked to protect the society. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, nrk.no, Amnesty International USA, etc, etc..

You do not get the full internet. In almost every page you enter, there's something missing. For example a picture that doesn't show. Another thing is if you type in something "inappropriate" on Google (e.g The Great Firewall of China), your Google-search gets temporarily blocked for an uncertain amount of time. Chinese people are smart! Even if you do not search for something "inappropriate", you just search up a lot of things in a short time (like when I have to find pictures for my PowerPoint presentations), your Google-search gets blocked. Then you move on to another web search engine, like Yahoo, and the exact same thing happens there. It drives me crazy! And it's not really cool if you have 10 minutes left before class starts.

You can get a VPN (virtual private network) to enter all the blocked sites. With a VPN you're going "around" the Great firewall of China, and you're connected to another network. You can not be traced, because you get another IP address. To get a good VPN, you have to pay quite a lot of money.

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My blog may be blocked by posting this entry, but lets not hope so.

Skrevet av ingmid 17:17 Kommentarer (0)

School Motto

"Behavior is the root of habit. Habits develop character. Character decides fate."

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Skrevet av ingmid 23:05 Kommentarer (2)

Turtle Helena

Lauren is an animal lover. She has a lot of pets at home in Australia, and she really wanted a pet here as well. She went out to buy a turtle (about 20 NOK), and its name is Helena. SO CUTE!

Unfortunately Lauren went home to Australia today. Her best friend has been in a serious accident, and she wants to be there for her. By going home she's breaking the contract and is not able to come back to finish her internship. It's really sad, and I'm going to miss her. She will probably come back to China in a few weeks to travel, but she will not get her job and apartment back.
Clem and I will take care of Helena, so we have a pet now!

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<3

Skrevet av ingmid 17:02 Kommentarer (0)

More from the school

Chinese teachers are in general very strict. When a Chinese teacher comes into a classroom, they all sit up straight and pay attention. That's how it works here. A totally different discipline than the lazy Norwegian/Western students have! And when I say "Class begins", they all stand up and say "Good morning/afternoon teacher". Then I say "Sit down please" and they all say "Thank you teacher" and sit down. Hehe. The students usually bow and say "Hello teacher" if you meet them in the hallway as well.

Before the last lesson of the day, the kids do "eye exercise". This is to get better concentration and better sight. The instructions are given on speakers all over the school (in Chinese ofc). The first time I saw it, I was so confused. Haha. But now I've actually started to join. It's quite relaxing.
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To teach kindergarten is a pain in the ass sometimes. Even dough it's just 30 minutes in the morning. Hehe. They're just out of diapers. But they're really cute though. (And they don't know how to be devil kids yet, so they're lovely that way). Normally we have two assistants in the lessons, and they speak good English. They could have done the teaching job perfectly without us. The reason why we're there is the idea and the concept of "having foreign teachers". That looks good to the parents and to others that may be interested in sending their kids to this school. This week they are going to learn "table, chair, window, piano and door". CAN'T WAIT!! We're supposed to work there until the 20th of September. (Mark SUPPOSED, which probably means that we have to teach the whole semester).

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Kindy! Today they came one by one up to me to tell me their names. Some of them ran towards me, and got really close to my face and just stared at me, for a long time. HAHAHAHA!! We also sang a song, which was quite funny to watch too.

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This was my contribution to the Chinese character competition among the teachers at school. For being the first time of writing characters, I think I did quite well. One of the calligraphy teachers is sure to win though. The note says: My name is yi wei de (my Chinese name). I am 19 years old. I am from Norway. I am an English teacher.
I also got a nice little drawing from one of my lovely students, Coco. "This is you", she said.

Skrevet av ingmid 18:40 Kommentarer (0)

Teachers' day

The 10th of September is Teachers' Day in China. This is a celebration to show the appreciation of teachers. All the teachers at school went out for lunch on Saturday to celebrate. We ate good food, drank rice wine and all the different offices at school had their own performances. Including the "Foreign Teachers Office". Hehe. One thing that Chinese people really can is drinking rice wine. On Teachers' Day, the students also give small gifts to their teachers.

Pictures form Saturday's celebration:

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Our Cha Cha Slide.

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Sweet Julie (one of my contact persons).

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Colleagues ready to perform.

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Co-workers. Haha!

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Rice wine. Best drink ever!!

Saturday evening we went out in Dongcheng (the real center of Dongguan). To check out the bar street we seriously went to EVERY bar/club in the street (it's not too long). We tried to take a shot in every bar, but didn't really complete that totally, haha. We found our favorite places and noticed that the main difference between the Chinese bars and the Western bars is that the Chinese bars have a lot more tables, and don't really have dance floors. They played Western club music everywhere and some places were really expensive.

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Emma and Lauren from Australia.

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O NOOOO!

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Good night at Vita bar!

Skrevet av ingmid 03:56 Kommentarer (0)

Dongguan Villas Royal Foreign Language School

I got one 1st grade class and four 2nd grade classes. They are so small!! OMG, they’re just out of kindergarten, and their English level is very low. My first lesson was a little bit too difficult for them. Even dough I talked with a VERY restricted language, they didn’t really understand me. Most of them could manage “My name is___, I’m ___ years old, good afternoon and hello teacher” and some words like fish, red, blue, mountain etc. I think my lessons are going to have a lot of flashcards, music and cartoon movies from now. The 2nd grade students actually understood quite a lot more. I also have an assistant (Chinese teacher or Chinese English teacher) in the classes, since they’re so young. Our job as foreign teachers is to provide speaking practice. The Chinese teachers take care of the grammar, reading and writing. I wish I could teach older students, but mine are very cute and I think it’s going to be fun. My English is also better than the other English teachers' here, so I understand why we “foreign teachers” are in such demand.

When Clem and I met one of the other English teachers at the school, she was like “Aaah, right, I heard that the foreign teachers are very beautiful this year”, haha. That’s funny. We have to be in school from 08.30-05.30, Monday-Friday. Lunch is at 12-14.40, so we can go home and rest, and it's just a 5 minutes walk home. We teach 15 face to face-lessons every week, and we have to hand in PowerPoint presentations and lesson plans in an own folder in the computer system. The kids have morning exercise every day. They're marching, running etc. It looks more like a military camp.

Here are some pictures of the school etc:

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Our office.

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Teachers' canteen.

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Sweet Lauren, ready for class!

The opening ceremony of this semester:
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One of my classes. Class 3, 2nd grade. Sweetest ever and very engaged.

We just found out that we have to teach kindergarten tomorrow morning. What?? They are babies. Our trainers in Beijing taught us that the number one tips in China is "expect the unexpected". That's really true. Messages are usually given on such short notice.

Skrevet av ingmid 05:24 Kommentarer (0)

New Beginning

After a 22-hour train ride, we finally got to our placement. The train ride was quite quick actually, and I slept quite good.

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We got really small rooms with 6 beds (two bunk beds of 3 beds each). Haha!

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Sweet Emmanuelle in the train hallway.

I'm placed in Nancheng (a district in the city Dongguan in the Guangdong province). I will say that I live in some kind of a closed residence for rich people. It's an area with a private school, huge villas, nice apartments and sports centers etc. It's about a 20 minutes drive to the center of Nancheng. We (Clemence, Lauren (from Australia), Jay (from Scottland) and me) are very lucky about the apartments and the school. I've talked to some of the others with really crappy apartments. We have no internet in the apartments yet, but hopefully we'll get it soon.

Here are some photos of me and Clemence's apartment and the area around:

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Living room

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Bathroom 1. (Standing toilet)

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Bathroom 2. (Western toilet)

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My bed!

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My room

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My closet

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Clemence's room.

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Kitchen (even though we get three meals every day).

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Pool just outside our accommodation. Quite expensive to access.

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Tennis courts

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Neighborhood

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This is a secure place (for you mom). You have to go through several gates (with 24/7 security guards) to enter the apartment. At gate number 4, you have to type in a code, and then say your room number in Chinese. I came home from the center pretty late yesterday, and of course I forgot how to say "507" in Chinese. It became such a mess with me trying to explain, and another guard got called, and they kept talking Chinese to me. Hehe. I really have to learn some basics, so I can communicate a littlebit.

I start working on monday. Exiting! I have already had a little look on the textbooks. They look promising. Tomorrow we're going to stand at the school gate to say hello to the students and their parents, hehe. A Chinese thing. It's going to be some views on my blond hair, I assume.

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Jay, me and Lauren at Starbucks to get internet.

It's so freaking hot here. And humid! It's crazy. You sweat everywhere you go. We're also going into the warmest month of the year; September. The apartment was quite dirty when we got it, so Clemence and I bought a lot of washing equipment, and started to wash the whole apartment in our underwear (because of the heat). Haha! Good girls!

Skrevet av ingmid 04:40 Kommentarer (3)

Graduation and goodbye

Wednesday night was our graduation. It was a formal and nice ceremony. We all got our diplomas (TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificates), some nice speeches were held, live music and good food.

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On stage with some from my class.

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My main teacher, Scott.

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An entertaining speech given by Preben, George, Amber and Jonna.

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Niles (TTC coordinator) and Miguel.

This month in Beijing has been fantastic! I’ve experienced so much and I’ve learned a lot. Hard work, tour days, party nights, ups and downs, Chinese culture, Chinese people, bargaining etc.. We've all become one big family now, and it’s sad to leave a lot of nice people. I’m going to miss you!!

Congratulations everybody and good luck at your placements!
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Marc <3

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Especially, I'm gonna miss my sweet girl!

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and this dumplings just around the corner from the hotel.. They are SO good!!

Now a new chapter begins, and I’m more on my own. I think coming to a smaller city (only 8.2 million people) is going to be good. Less pollution is a great bonus! Maybe I can feel completely healthy for once.

Skrevet av ingmid 22:28 Kommentarer (0)

Mandarin

We've had some mandarin lessons during the course here in Beijing, and I'm going to get two mandarin lessons every week at the placement as well. Mandarin is so hard! Mandarin is a tonal language which means that it has four different tones, and each tone has a different meaning. We have mostly learned Pīnyīn, which is the official system of writing Chinese with the Latin alphabet. Chinese characters is used to write Chinese, and there are tens of thousands of them.

Ni hao ma? (How are you doing today?)

Wo jiao Ingvild. (My name is Ingvild)

Wo jin nian shi jiu. (I'm nineteen years old)

Wo de sheng ri shi wu yue er shi san hao. (My birthday is the 23rd of May)

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My Chinese name (in Pīnyīn and Chinese characters)

Here are a little video clip from one of the Mandarin lessons:

We also had a calligraphy lesson:

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The grip.

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Sweet Anna.

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My art!

Skrevet av ingmid 20:59 Kommentarer (1)

I'm going to Dongguan!

Oh my god! We've all got our placements now. The mood was so tense, and this is so exciting. I'm going to the south!! Dongguan in the Guangdong district. I'm going to teach primary school (7-12 years old) at Dongguan Villas Royal Foreign Language School. I've been placed with Clèmence from France. I don't really know her, but she seems really sweet. We are 7 participants in the same city, and 23 participants in the same district. In addition, there are some people from another organisation (native-speakers) who also have been placed in Dongguan.
So, this is my destiny the next five months! And I'm so glad!

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Contract signing! Shit!
We're leaving Beijing on Wednesday. So sad!

Two days ago some of us went to The Temple Of Heaven:

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Poor Miguel who got placed in Inner Mongolia.

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That feeling when you haven't felt grass in a long time!

Skrevet av ingmid 06:41 Kommentarer (0)

Teaching Practice

The last five days, we've had teaching practice. I (and four others) got a class in middle school (15-16 years old), and we taught for a period of 30 minutes each, every day. It was a good experience and they were all so sweet. If we asked a student something, he/she immediately stood up beside the desk to tell us the answer. The English level was quite low though.

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Teacher Ingvild. Haha.

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The whole class. Miss them already! (Just after five days)


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We had two surveillance cameras in every classroom. It not so fun having cameras pointing at you the whole time, but this is China. One of my trainers, Jerry, once had eight cameras pointing at him during some lessons. There have been installed millions of surveillance cameras throughout China. They can identify and track individuals EVERYWHERE they go, to any time. It's crazy. I'm not going to comment this further of obvious reasons. And I'm not going to express any personal views (according the system here in China) on this blog, either.

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Sweety girl and me some days ago.

Skrevet av ingmid 04:51 Kommentarer (3)

The Lama Temple

After a short school day, we got the afternoon off. Some of us went to the Lama Temple, which was quite cool. The first thing that met us was a strong smell of incense and lots of people praying. The Lama Temple has the worlds tallest Buddha statue, with the height of 26 meters. Haha! (No pictures allowed)

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Incense all over the place.

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Blue sky in Beijing today! Good feeling.

I finally got to see the insect that make such noise here 24/7. The Cricket! (A really big grasshopper (kind of)). They are crazy.
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Skrevet av ingmid 01:39 Kommentarer (1)

I love China!

Beijing is awesome! I really love this city (except the pollution, which has really reached a new level today). I have learned so much, and I experience a lot of new things every single day!

The last couple of days I have done so much. A lot of school, tour day, crazy nights out etc.

Here are some photos..

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Norina and me went to a massage place, which turned out to be a funny little trip. Just to mention something, we came intro a place we thought was a spa center, but when we looked closer at the photos, we were actually in a plastic surgery place, just randomly placed in the streets of Beijing. (Welcome to China) We ordered back massage, but we also got stomach massage which tickled so much, before they started pressing with their whole body weight. Our muscles were sour for several days. And we also go tea about three times.

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Amber, Anthony and Anna.

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We went to Skybar the same night, where we enjoyed the view of Beijing by night.
Amber, Michael and Hanna.

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The great wall of China!! We went to the Juyoungguan section. Amazing!

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The China pose!

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The Olympic stadium - The bird nest!
George, Norina and Miguel.

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Tourist on tour day.

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We also went through a Hutong area (the old city) called Shichahai in rickshaws. That was SO much fun! 35 rickshaws in a row.

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Hilarious!

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Ready for Sanlitun, which is an area filled with some of Beijings biggest nightclubs and bar streets. As a blonde western girl, you get treated like a VIP. The nights out were CRAZY!

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George and me at an Indian restaurant. FANTASTIC food.

Between all this fun, we have, as mentioned, a lot of schoolwork too. I'm working on the fourth assignment now (hand-in tomorrow morning).
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Skrevet av ingmid 04:04 Kommentarer (0)

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