I Can’t Tell You His Name

In my mind, it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen.

I can’t tell you his name, or if this is something he does regularly, but it topped off perhaps one of the most perfect days in my life.

Having a birthday on New Years Eve is a bit of a gift. Everyone’s ready to party, and there’s usually a day off to recover the next day (discount this notion if you have children under the age of six). My day had begun with breakfast in bed and a beautiful card from G and the children, they announced with big smiles that they’d scheduled a massage at the eco village just down the road. I hadn’t had a massage in years, the birthday could have ended there and I would have been ecstatic. We went to the beach, swam, I had my massage, and then we headed out to a grown up lunch.

Our table was outside, looking down the cliff face and over the beach. I was surrounded by good mates and family, and although we’d been to the restaurant many times before, we all gasped when we got outside. It was spectacular. Umbrellas were adjusted for sunshine, the children were happy and safe at home, and then the waitress let me know a friend had rang and organized a bottle of wine. The day really couldn’t have got much better.

As we nibbled on our starters, we all picked out activities that were happening on the beach below us. Two children had semi buried an exercise ball and were now using it as a trampoline. A group of boys were playing a game of beach cricket, while families wandered between the shallow water and their tents.

It was my girlfriend Cath who first noticed him. He began to draw in the sand. Initially we weren’t sure what it was, but it became obvious that it was a big project. Some-one suggested it looked like a map of Australia.  He was to far away for us to ask questions, so we asked ourselves. We provided our own narration on the points and gulfs as he created them. Jokes were made about Tasmania, but he didn’t forget, it arrived at the end, a full stop. He stood back to admire his work, wrote three words in the middle of the map, and then disappeared.

“What does it say?”

None of us could make it out from a distance.

We watched people approach. One by one as they wandered by, they’d stop, smile, and begin to write. Some-one chose the top left corner, others went to the right. My girlfriend Cath couldn’t contain herself any longer.

“That’s it. I have to go down and see what it says” and like the true journalist that she is, she went off to gather the facts.

We giggled as we watched her run across the beach, she looked up towards us and gave us the thumbs up and immediately began to write. She moved to six different spots, before she made her way back to us.

“Well, what did it say?” we asked in unison.


And in that moment we all grinned and looked back towards the map, the grin that comes with the warmth of the smallest display of humanity. Every singular activity happening on the beach became one giant map of togetherness. Who are you? Where are you from? Come sign the book and find out about everyone else.

I fully intend to steal the idea. I will be creating beach guest books wherever I can this year, but in the meantime I wondered if you’d indulge me for a moment. I know so many of you prefer to lurk, you tap in here and tap out, and I completely understand why it’s easier not to comment. I’ll fess up, I do it myself elsewhere. But today, if you have a minute, can you sign my guestbook?

Who are you? Where are you from?


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  1. I love the beach guest book, and congrats on a wonderful birthday. I am a girl from the American South, loving my life in Sydney, as long as it lasts!

  2. Hi,
    I’m guilty of reading your blogs and disappearing…I discovered you through a mutual friend and have loved reading your blogs. I have never lived the ex-pat life with kids but have many friends who have, or still are, and really enjoy your perspective.
    Signing your visitors book from Arrowtown, New Zealand…

  3. I love your blog. I’m Adriana and I live in the Netherlands as an Expat from America. I too write a blog about our experiences living abroad and try to find all that is good, even when it’s challenging. If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s called HereIAm… http://www.adrianahartley.com
    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m inspired by your journey.

  4. Love this story! I’m from Perth WA. I live near Sorrento beach (north of the river)so think I will go down and do this on the weekend!

  5. I’ve been reading your blog ever since we found out we were moving to Doha about a year and a half ago. Ever time I see a new blog entry in my Reader I get excited to read it.
    American living Doha

  6. oh what a beautiful idea!! 🙂 I should try that here! lol!

    I’m from Dublin, Ireland, living in Libya with my Libyan husband and kids.

  7. That is a brilliant idea, something special bringing the people on the beach together.

    My name is Francesca & I’m from NSW. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but having never lived overseas, I love reading all about your different experiences 🙂

  8. I have been reading your blog since I am under job offer for the GCC region, it gives me a glimpse of the opportunities and day to day life for my kids. I have lived in Egypt before, but you can not compare it at all.
    Although i am not a sah mom, it helps me to make the choices to be made. Currently i live in Amsterdam, Holland. Good luck, and thank you for your blog
    Inez, Amsterdam

  9. This is a fantastic idea !~!

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area (california::usa) less than a mile from the Bay. I see the Golden Gate Bridge every day.

  10. How impressive that he could draw the map so well, mine would just be a blob!
    I’m in the middle of England, no similarities to your way of life, just enjoy your writing.

  11. I’m in Adelaide, SA, dreaming about travels far and wide but mainly occupied with 2 little people. Can’t recall where I first came across your blog but I love your sense of humor and hearing about the adventures one can
    have with multiple kids in the big wide world.

  12. That would have been so much fun! Think you’re an awesome writer btw 🙂 Leanne, from NZ now living in sunny Queensland 🙂

  13. I don’t have a blog but love reading yours. I am an expat and live in Italy. I would like to congratulate you on your writing and hope that you keep up the blog. All the very best, Rosemarie

  14. Ah, we live in Rockdale, Sydney, about 5 minutes drive from our Bay! I love the idea of a beach guest book, and I’m happy to be signing yours again. I love your blog, even though I never felt like a real ex-pat teaching in rural coastal China. We do a far bit of travel with our kids as my sweet husband is English and all of his family still live in the UK – so some of your tales ring true for us. I love reading about your family – and I’m glad you had a wonderful birthday!

  15. What a lovely idea, I am one of those lurkers, I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and always look forward to a new post. I am a fellow Aussie, currently living in China.

  16. Hi, My name is Sharon and I’m from Tel Aviv, Israel. I’m an “ex-expat”- part of my family still lives in Hong Kong, but I returned home… love your guest-book idea!

  17. I am from the lovely Mediterranean island of Cyprus! Married a Brit, moved to England, then Scotland…from there we found ourselves in Kuala Lumpur. Our next home was to be Doha, which is when I came across your blog whilst researching Doha…Expat life being what it is, circumstances changed and I am now signing in from Dubai! Love reading your blog, it always resonates with me…Would have enjoyed catching up in person over coffee in Doha…but hey…if you find yourself in Dubai let us know…melina TK x

  18. What a lovely idea this is.

    I am a Canadian expat, married to an Aussie and currently we are living in Bucharest, Romania. Your blog has been the focal point of many discussions in our house and on more than one occasion, has brought me to tears or laughter (often both). It was also a much loved blog by some of the expat community in Moscow (our last posting). Thank you for what you do. You have a true gift.


  19. Always read your blog, found you via an article on mamamia! Love your sense of humour and writing “style” 🙂 Thank you for sharing your life with us!

    Guest book idea is amazing, i’m from Adelaide, South Australia. Haven’t travelled further than Victoria (boring) so love reading about your adventures.

    Glad you enjoyed your birthday x

  20. Reading from Melbourne.
    What a lovely idea. Last week we stopped at a blueberry farm that was really in the middle of nowhere, a dirt track, no through road with an honesty system for picking the fruit and leaving payment. I couldn’t resist and ended up leaving a note from us in the money tin too – do they ever wonder who it is that stops there??

  21. What a truly fabulous ‘old school’ idea. I’ll be borrowing this too, I think it’s a wonderful & warm gesture, bringing us back to what it’s all about. Hi, I’m Amy and I live on the Gold Coast. I’ve just discovered you via Bianca’s Bigwords. Love your blog, signing up via email right now.

  22. I have tried to write comments so many times as you have made me laugh (and cry) so many many times. I either get shy or the comment gets lost or it for some reason won’t let me correct spelling errors. Proud Adelaide girl (Grange), that same silly age. Probably use to bump into you at the Havelock hotel in the 90’s too. We live in Bahrain, but before her lived in Calgary, Edmonton, Brisbane……… I think your special spot by the beach in Adelaide is one of my favourite places in the world. When I tell my husband about a funny post you have written, I refer to you as a friend……strange, no? Tamara

  23. I’m in Brisbane… for now… Hoping our own adventures as an expat family will begin soon !! Eeeeeek !! I stumbled across your blog while looking for where to begin & well, never looked any further… except for the Facebook page, of course… 🙂

    Erina… xx

  24. Love this idea! Reading from NE Victoria – the high country – with the temp just above 30degrees at 8.45pm with another 40 coming tomorrow.

  25. I am a mum of 2, living in Sydney-previously UK and South Africa. A friend passed on something of your from SMH. Been addicted since. I love your style of writing. Honest,intelligent and refreshing.

  26. I am also guilty of being a lurker 🙂 I love reading your blog. I am an Aussie expat living in South Holland, near The Hague. I could start a snow version of that guest book here in the park today! Although all the dogs would likely mess it up…

  27. I’m an Aussie, living in Canberra, but was an expat living in the UK and the US, so your tales of having children far from home ring very true to me. I always read your stories and smile, thanks for sharing them with us!

  28. I love this story and what a wonderful birthday. I lurk a bit but love what you write and how you write it. Given we live less than 2 blocks from the beach here in Adelaide I may just have to steal the idea. X

  29. I’m another lurker – I have been reading your blog for a while now and it is a favorite – makes me laugh, cry, smile, think, and love my life. The guest book is a brilliant idea.

    Originally from America (Chicago), married to another American. While pregnant (with our first), his company asked us to come to Paris. My dad emigrated from the UK in his 20s and I never thought I would follow in his ex-pat footsteps, but here we are!

    Just turned 40 on January 2, and ready for what’s ahead. Our little girl is 5 1/2 and only knows life as a Parisienne. We will be moving to the US this Spring and it is hitting us pretty hard – the leaving. We love our life here and are trying hard to find positive things to look forward to, but leaving the only home she has ever known has the sentimental mommy side of me in a real state. We have managed to frame it as a positive adventure, but I admire how you have handled things with your little travelers. So we have been honest (with her and ourselves) that YES it will be hard and YES we will be sad and miss our friends BUT it will be wonderful too. How lucky we are to be able to live this life. IT is HARD (there’s no other word for it, really) but we plan to continue; once back in the US we will fill in the dossier to come back here, or the UK, or who knows? I have heard it said that after 5 years as an ex-pat, you’ll always be one, you’ll never “settle down”. Don’t know if it’s true, but I can see this becoming our “new normal”. Knowing there are SO MANY of us in the world, it’s amazing; the world is getting smaller all the time.

    I adore your blog and recommend it all the time. I feel like I know you, sort of, which is odd. 🙂

  30. I am really lucky to know you as a friend and look forward to all your blogs – they have made me laugh, smile, cry and often wonder about things that may have otherwise passed me by. Thank you!
    I love the idea of the beach guest book, we love the beach, we miss the beach. Like the idea of a snow guest book too 🙂 I am a third culture kid – with nowhere but where we just happen to be to call home. Signing your book from Belgium xxx Heike

  31. Signing in… I’m Elja, fellow blogger & expat, mom of 3 little boys. I’m from the Netherlands originally, lived in Hungary and the US. Currently in Istanbul, Turkey. Love your blog, not so frequent a visitor as some, but like them, thoroughly enjoy reading about your thoughts and adventures and daily goings-on. Thank you!!
    PS Message for Adriana: heading over to your blog! 🙂

  32. Hi,

    I do not remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but I fell in love with it. I now follow you on twitter and look out for new posts 🙂 I love hearing stories of your kids wondering whether I’ll ever be able to experience the highs and lows of parenting like you have. However, baby number 1 is on it’s way so hopefully I’ll love and enjoy motherhood as much as you do! Now a little about me. My name’s Sana and I am originally from Karachi, Pakistan now living in Dubai with my husband. My twitter handle is @PervezSana 🙂

  33. I think we’ll have to create a lurkers are us group. Fairly new to your blog but love reading your stories. I’m Hilary, I live in Melbourne. I love, love, love the beach guest book. People are amazing sometimes.

  34. SERBIA 🙂 you are (all) welcome

  35. Another lurker from Hobart, Tasmania. Love sharing in your family’s adventures; both the expat adventures & the everyday life. Jo 🙂

  36. Hi, I am Fokkelien. I am Dutch, living in Bangalore, India, with my husband and 3 sons. I am an expat wife (of the non typical type I hope) and have lived in Australia, Nigeria and Libya before moving here.
    I read your blog every day and love it!

  37. Hi Melissah here.Aussie but living in Singapore,via Sydney France,North America and Melbourne. Love your blog sooooooo much. Xxxx

  38. I do comment sometimes from lovely Lagos Nigeria. A fellow Aussie, being dragged from pillar to post just managing to get settled in one place then suddenly being whisked away to some other insane part of the globe although we seem to be stuck in this one 🙁 You always manage to hit the nail on the head with exactly how it is with expat life and I look forward to every post! S x

  39. Hi – I’m Claire from Ontario Canada. Love your blog and being able to see differnet parts of the workd through it x

  40. I’m from the Netherlands, living in Dubai with my South African husband. Our own first little traveller in on her way (due at the end of May). So once she is born each of us will have been born on a different continent. We both really enjoy living in the UAE and look forward to wherever the future will take us.

    Am tempted to set up a ‘desert guestbook’ next time I take the dog out for a run!


  41. What a great story! I have to admit whenever I have stayed in a place that has a guest book, it is one of my guilty pleasures to read the prior entries. Kind of like people-watching at an airport but with more personal information and less speculation.

    I’m Stacy and I was an expat child for a number of years. Now I am about to turn 50 this month and I have been expat adult for almost 26 years. So I guess I’ve been an expat more than i have lived in my home country. I am from the southern United States and, right now, I live in Dubai.

  42. I’m Samone. I love lurking on your blogs. You’re a beautiful writer. I live in Manly NSW

  43. Hi! I’m Ruth. An English girl from Manchester, living in Michigan USA with my hubby and 2 kids. This is the first blog post of yours that I have read 🙂 I only happened upon you a few days ago but I look forward to reading your blog in the future. P.S. when we arrived here we broughtb12 suitcases, 4 pieces of hand luggage and were known in the hotel as “the people with all of the luggage”!

  44. Kate McDonald says

    First time signing in for me…..I always intended to comment on my favourite stories but someone in my house is always hungry or can’t find their Spiderman costume and I get sidetracked! I love your blog and can relate to so many things as I’m also an Adelaide girl living in Jakarta. My husband and I arrived two and a half years ago with our 9 month old son and a few suitcases. We have added to our little family and now have two boys and no idea where we will head after this adventures ends! Thank you for your stories x

  45. Hello Kristy Rice
    A big thanks for all the lovely parenting lessons i have learnt from your blog.
    You provide the simplest and cutest tips that i take to raise my 15 month baby.Thank you so much.
    Please convey your kids that they have the sweetest momma on this earth
    Loads of love and regards
    Lopa from India but currently living in Dubai with my family

  46. LOVE this idea & love your writing as always K xxx
    K (Aussie living in Jakarta via Netherlands, UK, Hungary & Qatar 🙂

  47. Hi, I’m a British expat living in Houston, I think we left Doha at about the same time you arrived there. I’ve two children, one born here, one in Diha. I love reading your posts the Doha ones really take me back 🙂

  48. Been lurking for a year or so. Creepy, no? lol
    I’m originally from the SF Bay area of California in the US. For now I live in NE England with my Scottish husband. We met when we worked together in Houston, then moved to Brazil after he got transferred. Moved back to the UK to spend time with his family for a while and are about to move back to a new location (for us) in Brazil.
    Love your blog and your writing. Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us!

  49. Reading you from Port Macquarie in New South Wales. Love your stories.

  50. Hi, I’m Gina and I have lurked on your blog many times (guilty!). I am a new expat from Canada who recently moved to the UK. I have found expat blogs to be incredibly helpful in my transition and I am grateful for all the great stories and insight that they have provided. Thanks so much for sharing!

  51. Guilty.

    Love reading your perspective – you have such a wonderful way of putting into words what I felt and do feel about that expat life. We lived 8 years in northern Europe, had one traveller there and one in the US, where we are from. When things get bad for anyone, their first response is “I just want to go back to Europe” – where, apparently, utopia lives. I appreciate and can relate to your experiences both with and without kids..thanks for your perspective…it is just one of many things that makes me want to “do it all again”. THANKS!

  52. I don’t actually remember how I found your blog, but one day I did just randomly come across it. I’m Virginia, I live in Brisbane but I’m from New Zealand.
    I love your blog because of the way you tell stories about the countries you’ve lived in and it reminds me a lot of the memories I have from moving place to place (countries or cities) but also the stories my parents tell from before I was born. Reading your blog just reminds me that there is so much more out there in the world and that everyone needs to experience it.

  53. I’m Angie and I’m from Hampshire in England.
    I’m a new reader to your blog but love it! I like nothing better than being allowed a little peek into a few minutes of someone else’s day.
    I write about our family life (which is far less interesting than yours) at http://www.confessionsofaquirkysomething.blogspot.co.uk

  54. Jen, living in Dubai but from New South Wales.
    I love this idea! Random acts always bring the happy.

  55. Oh what fun. I can imagine your smile and curiosity as all us lurkers come forward. I’m Bron from Central West NSW Australia. It’s very nice to make your virtual aquaintance. I live on 35 acres of aussie bush along with hubby, my two girls and a growing poplace of animals – the natives and domestic alike.

  56. Trish Mills says

    That’s one of those marvelous things in life like kaleidescopes, rainbows and snow globes. Trish from Sydney but now from Doha – home. Watch out for my guestbook next time you visit the Inland Sea Kirsty xx

  57. Fab idea! I love the creative and interesting things people come up with that are so simple, yet can make such a difference in someone’s day! Thanks for sharing it with us.
    I don’t always get to it, but check in on your blog with some regularity. Love your sense of humor and the slice of a reality check you bring to family life! I’m a Canadian living in Qatar almost 14 years now and am about to become an ’empty nester’ later this year.

  58. Have commented a couple of times, but mostly just love lurking. Look forward to reading your blog, every day. It signals the start of my ‘morning time’, while L has her morning sleep. I feel almost human during these moments. I identify with so much, being an Adelaidean living in Brussels, via Dubai, Jakarta, NY, Afghanistan, Albania, Palestine, and a few others…and in snowy -6, wondering when I’m ever going to see the sun again! Loved the comment above re the snow guest book. Might give that a whirl this afternoon…now to look up the French and Flemish equivalents! Sxx

  59. This put a smile on my face. Aussie living in Hong Kong with my husband and two gorgeous daughters.

  60. Like that idea – Hannah, from the UK and probably a bit of a lurker despite being one of those blogger types

  61. Another lurker. living in Wisconsin now but from Ohio(USA), married to a Syrian, and in deep discussions with hubby about where we will be heading. Could be UAE or Doha sometime within the next year. Our plans keep getting bumped around because of my trying to finish school. We are debating the best location for us until Syria becomes somewhat stable again and we can finally head home.

  62. Long time lurker, first time commenter. I am from Sydney, living in Jakarta. I really enjoy reading your blog! Xx Clare

  63. You’re bringing out all the lurkers with this post! I’m another – just passed our one year anniversary of moving from Sydney to Amsterdam. Looking ut my window now, I’m thinking I might go up to the park and create a “Snow Visitors Book”. Hmm, then again, it’s not quite the same is it?

  64. Great idea – born in Africa, lived in London and have been happily settled in California. Love reading your blog, I check it out everyday.

  65. I’m currently at our lake house in Colorado, but I just spent the last two weeks with my parents in Texas. Sadly, my dad is gravely ill, and when I said ‘good-bye’ to him, I didn’t know if it would be my last time :-(. I decided to spend my birthday with dad. Next week, I return ‘home’ to England to be with hubby and son, who have been stumbling along without me (they even ‘blew up’ the oven while I was gone!). Thank you for bringing together this hodge podge of folks from every corner of the world. And keep sharing your fantastically woven stories. Kathy the teawife

  66. A story and request that’s hard to ignore 🙂
    I’m a Danish serial expat, on my third country this time around, and now with a little daughter in tow. While Sweden is neither very far or very different to Denmark, quite a few expat issues are the same as everywhere – and I love to recognise myself in and learn from your experiences!

  67. Hi, started reading your blog after a friend who had been living in Doha had posted you on her facebook. Your stories make me smile, thank you.
    Kristie from Farmington Hills, Michigan

  68. Waving at you from dreary, grim and rainy Atlanta – suffering from living in my first place with a ‘real’ kind of winter. Sydney, Hong Kong and Durban all much sunnier and warmer than here. You are of course my blog hero – I would go on and on about your amazingness but must run to school to take medication to child….

  69. I am from Antwerp, Belgium – currently living in Antwerp and re-adjusting after 12 years of expat live in Morocco, France, Romania, Moscow and Singapore! I love to read your posts, makes me smile and cry. XXX

  70. Wow – this is amazing, not just the post but all the awesome comments. What an amazing bunch of readers you have. I am proud to be one of them.

    I live in Sydney, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa and writing this comment from my holiday in Thailand. I love your blog – but I think you already know that xxxxxxx

  71. I am a 63 year old grandma of 5. I started reading your blog when my son and family moved to London for 18 months. I identified with the expat thing plus love your stories of children and husband. I am amazed at how a blog can connect people. And I hope you keep it going!

  72. This is Elisabeth, Dutch, living in the Netherlands, having spent 2 yrs as expat in Canada (but that’s over 4 yrs ago already), and who loves reading your posts!

  73. What a brilliant idea! Hope you’re having a lovely day.

    -ADoC, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

  74. I am an American living in Doha for the past 8.5 years. I think I found your blog through a mutual friend’s FB feed. I just can’t tell you enough how much I not only love your writing style (envious) but everything you feel, I am feeling too. Feeling homesick at times, worrying about my kids and their lack of a home base. Both myself (Caribbean) and my husband (Asia) grew up expats of American families. We both came back to the US for University and when both set of parents eventually repatriated, both moved to where they had no families of their own.

    I hope that if / when you repatriate, that you go back to FAMILY. This is what I regret my kids missing. Not any hometown to return to, but big family gatherings or at the very least Grandma to bake pies with. I hope you continue to write for a long while, and I hope you will consider taking some of your writings and putting them into a book form some day.

  75. I’m in Torontol, Ontario. We are off on a family vacation to Hawaii. I’ll try to put a guest book on the beach, there. What a terrific idea. Keep your wonderful stories coming,I do so enjoy them.

  76. Hmmm, I don’t envisage being able to copy the beach guest book any time soon, but maybe I could do one in the snow…

    Love your pearls of wisdom and nuggets of hilarity, thanks Kirsty 🙂 Love, Shari in Paris xx

  77. Hi Kirsty,
    Evelyn living just outside Brussels in Belgium. I’ve also lived in the US (twice), Hong Kong, Switzerland and China. Louise Wiles, Judy Rickatson and I run the Expat Partner Online Coffee and I’m a coach working with expat accompanying partners.
    Because of my work, I read lots and lots of expat blogs (and sometimes comment). Yours is one of my favorites and I look forward to reading it every day.
    Keep writing! Evelyn
    P.S. I also have an Aussie husband (from Melbourne)

  78. Hi,
    l discovered your blog thought a South African friend i met in Morocco and today living in Delhi..
    Already loving it !
    I totally relate to what you say about family and traveling, having 4 kids myself.
    I currently live in Montreal and I am French
    Have a great day.

  79. Hi. We are Australians living in Ghana,West Africa. I’ve been an expat before but now we have 3 children in tow, which just raises the stakes! Especially in a developing country outside the capital. Degree if difficulty quite high some days!! Your blog has been great for insights and perspectives and a well needed laugh some days. I loved reading through all the comments too. Some days the world is seems very small, in a good way. I’m a coastal girl and this is the first time I’ve lived inland, am desperately missing the beach and love the guest book idea. Keep up the blog, your writing is enjoyable and insightful. Thanks. Ps we blog at http://www.sixdegreesnorth.me

  80. Hi Kirsty,
    My name is Wendy and I am a SAHM to my 6 month old daughter. Love your blog and especially the recent addition of Super busy Mummy Blogger 🙂 Have never been an expat so live vicariously through your adventures. Have recommended your blog to some friends that have become expats recently 🙂
    Love your work

  81. Mary: currently of Turkey, but from a few other countries before that. Love the blog! xx

  82. And I live on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast in QLD 🙂

  83. Katherine: I am English and currently living on the Isle of Wight in the UK, but also spent a large part of my life living in the middle east. Love your blog it reminds me of ‘home’ especially on these cold winter days! x

  84. I’m Carolyn from Wellington, New Zealand. Love your blog!

  85. Hello Lovely
    Nicole here, currently in Boca Raton FL.
    Born in England raised in South Africa.
    Lived in Europe, and Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Oregon and now Florida.
    And I have to go and do this on the beach – but think my ‘guest book’ will end up full of New Yorkers 😉

  86. Hello! I’m Dianna & am an American from Virginia living in Cyprus now for the last 2 1/2 years. We’re heading back to the US this coming summer & I have thoroughly enjoyed the way you’ve put so many of my thoughts & feelings about this entire experience into words for me…I’m an engineer (i.e.: not a great writer). 🙂 I commented on yesterday’s blog Batter UP & cannot thank you enough for the crazy laughter you produced from my husband & myself. I could barely read it out loud to him for the tears.
    I love the idea of a beach guest book & will give it a try when it warms up here a bit & we get to visit their beautiful beaches the last few times. It will be fun to see whether the people here know what to do or are completely puzzled. Ha!
    Keep up the writing…your blog title reminds me of when we showed up in Cyprus with 3 kids & 10 suitcases & 5 carryons (I kid you not!). We were down 1 kid & a beagle (that we left at home with dear friends because he was 14 years old) from your family. Maybe it takes one beagle owner to another to just get each other?! Anyhow, I will continue to enjoy your stories long after our return to the US, I’m sure! Thank you!

  87. My name is Betsy and I am a lurker. Admitting it is half the battle, right? I’ve been lurking around here for over two years. I found your site when I was an expat in Paris and was so happy to find someone who could express what it’s like so much better than I could. We’ve since returned to the US (North Carolina) and are currently going through another transition as my husband has started a new job in Houston while the kids and I are still here waiting to join him – stupid new mortgage laws mean we have to wait a whole month. I love your blog! I especially love seeing all of the different flags roll through on the traffic log on the side of the page. That’s one of the things I miss most about being an expat – that feeling of community with people from all over the globe. Keep up the fantastic work! I’ll be here – lurking;)

  88. Hi! I’m Tamie from Sydney via London and currently living in Doha. We have some mutual friends, although I originally found your blog through Mama Mia. I love your writing!

  89. I’m Vanessa, from the UK, and currently living in Belgium having also done stints in Australia, Germany and South Africa. Love your blog, and love the idea of a beach guest book which I will also be taking with me to the beach in the summer – I wonder how many of your readers will bump into one another while signing their name on the beach?!

  90. The kids & bailey says

    I love this post & love reading your blog. From another lurker living life between Perthshire, Scotland & Doha! xx

  91. Hi Kirsty, I’m Katherine. My Mom is an American expat who landed (eventually) in Greece, so that’s where I grew up. But I left for college (and have now spent more than half my life in other places) so I’m pretty confused regarding where I’m from. While in North America, I used to say i was Greek ( since Greek used to be the language i was most comfortable with, and Greece was where most of my immediate family resided.) In Greece I say I am American (since, um, i dont quite belong, and the US is where i feel like I became the adult i am today.) But in other places – as here, in Doha – I simply answer “I don’t know” or “all over” when asked where I’m from. Love your blog and still hope I”ll run into you one day. Though that would presuppose, you know, me actually going places and doing things, which life with a baby and a preschooler doesn’t always allow!

  92. Recently discovered this blog and love it to bits. I’m signing in from Kisumu Kenya. I’m an American expat living and working here. Sounds like a you had a stellar birthday.

  93. Hello, I’m from Brisbane, but my little family is sort of British and we live in Doha. Expat child became an expat mum 🙂

  94. Hi Kirsty, I’m Helen from Melbourne and have been an avid reader of your posts for over 12 months now. Love your work and looking forward to that book of yours!

  95. Hello, my name is Michele. I live in Columbus, Ohio. I have never lived outside the US and only been to one place that I needed a passport for – Beijing China while my kids choir sang there. Hope to go to Riga, Latvia in summer 2014. Love your blog though cause it’s so real and truthful.

  96. hi!!!!!!!!
    So not a stalker!
    I love your blogs, and enjoy the cyber friendship we’re developing as a result.
    I’m originally from Sydney Australia; 2 years in Dublin, 3 years in Yokohama and just started our second year in Hampshire, UK – who knows how long we’re here for, or where to next but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?
    I noticed a few comments from people in Hampshire – please contact me so we can meet for a coffee.

    May I also plug my blog, ms-havachat.blogspot.co.uk, also about expat life – there’s so many around. Mine’s no where near as professional as yours, but i’m working on it.


  97. I’m Caz, from Suffolk, UK, and still living here, though lived for a couple of years in Crete years ago. I enjoy reading about your adventures.

  98. I’m Darlene and I AM CANADIAN!! Love being in your guest book my dear.

  99. I’m Vannesa from New Zealand. I absolutely love reading your blog – feel like a stalker at times – just waiting for the next instalment. 🙂 You have an amazing way with words and bring your stories/snippets to life so easily! Keep going and keep smiling. 🙂

  100. Hiya, Nicky from Tas living in Auckland NZ with kiwi hubby and kids 🙂

  101. Hi, I’m September. I’ve been reading (and loving!) your blog for a couple of years now. I’m a Canadian mum of 3 currently living in Perth. Previously lived in Karratha (North West WA) Costa Rica and Brazil. My husband (another Canadian) has also worked in Abu Dhabi, Russia and Nigeria. Always look forward to reading your new posts 🙂 Sometimes one will bring a tear, others will have me laughing out loud, but Always I feel privileged that you have shared your writing and your life.

  102. I’m Kelly, subscriber, based in the exciting metropolis that is London. Almost. I live in the dull suburban bit better known as Bromley and technically in Kent but I know you won’t mind. Terrible at commenting, though i read every post, but am much better at sharing posts that I like. Which is small consolation, I know.
    A belated happy birthday to you.

  103. That made me smile. I live next to a beach colder than yours in Seaham, England.

  104. Sometimes lurker, sometimes commenter from Melbourne. I’m so glad your friend found out what he was doing. Just wonderful x

  105. Wow, I officially feel boring reading all the expat comments! But I guess I’m an expat of a different kind – I was a born and bred Gold Coast girl until 15, when I moved to Melbourne with my family. Have now been here for almost 23 years and LOVE IT!! x

  106. Hi Kirsty, another lurker here from London. First came across your blog through a link on Doha Mums. We met once at a coffee morning at Darina’s house not too long before I came back to the UK. I think that you had a cast on your leg at the time.

    I love reading your blog. It reminds me of all of the things that I miss and don’t miss about Doha.

  107. What a top idea!


    Previously, in order of place going back in time

    … wow I could have filled it in HEAPS.

  108. Hi Kirsty, I’m Mel from Queensland. I stumbled upon your fantastic blog whilst looking into working in international schools and wanting to get a taste of what expat life is really like. Your writing is superb. I cannot remember how many times I have teared up, laughed out loud or walked away from my computer wanting a little more adventure in my life after reading your work. A huge thank you for sharing your talents and life with all of us.

  109. NZ to Perth says

    Haven’t commented for a while but an avid reader! Greetings from sunny Perth! We live in ellenbrook. What a great idea, the beach guest book. Perfect for Perth beaches!

  110. Hailey, from Sydney, via Northamptonshire England. Happy happy birthday for New Year’s Eve. The saddest part of your post for me was the realization that there’s no relaxation in store til my youngest turns 6…so that’ll be 6 years away then?! Glad you had a massage and a lovely lunch, and saw that lovely man and his beach guest book!

  111. Greetings from Toowoomba, Queensland!

  112. I am a total lurker!! I always mean to comment but never actually end up doing it. I am a Canadian and I’ve been living in Bermuda for the past 7 years with my husband. Love your blog, can totally relate, especially to the chicken shortages!!

  113. A Sydney-sider living for ten years in Oklahoma. We came with our 11 month old and 4 suitcases, just had our 4th child and can’t believe we have spent 10 years here. My heart is always pulled back home and one day we will return, but not just yet!

  114. Hello, I’m Kirsty from Newcastle Australia. I love reading your stories, you have the knack of making something compelling out of the everyday! I had friends who came back last year from a few years in Doha so reading your blog helps give me a glimpse into what their lives would have been as Aussie expats. Will try to de-lurk a little more often…

  115. another lurker. Left the UK in ’97. Six moves later we find ourselves in Tokyo with three children (13, 10 and 7)and one dog (5)- all born in different countries, and yes I am inluding the dog. I love your blog – I can relate; thank you!

  116. Hi, I’m Akvile, lithuanian living in Australia 🙂 Got 2 kids, another one due in 6 weeks. Love your blog!

  117. carohutchison says

    Hi I’m Caro from Melbourne. I came across your blog after reading articles on mamamia, and now check in with you most days. We’re considering a move to Boston this year for study and have loved reading what it’s like living away from home with a family.

  118. Hi Kirsty,

    reading every single post of your blog and always looking forward to it! I’m from Germany but currently living in Singapore with three kids almost same age as yours. Glad you recovered well after your operation. Take care. Tina

  119. Hi Kirsty,

    Happy (belated) new year!

    My name is Dayna. I grew up in Brisbane, but moved to Melbourne a few years ago to live with my partner whom I met while we were both holidaying in Tasmania.

    I found your blogs sometime last year when one was tweeted by Mammamia. I have tweeted you once or twice, but generally don’t comment because it’s a pain to do so on my phone, and for whatever reason my work pc doesn’t like Twitter much. But I do enjoy reading your thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to share them.

    : )

  120. I’m Kathy, from Ontario, Canada but currently living in Qatar with my husband and daughter, and any-day-now second daughter.

  121. That is way cool!

    Lisa, from the northern suburbs of Sydney.

  122. Love your blog and have been reading for a while now. I’m an American from Atlanta, Georgia, but spent the last two years as an ex-pat in Kuala Lumpur. We are currently at home again in the states, but can’t wait to go back out again and hope that we get the chance soon!

  123. Hi Kristy, I’m Ella, an Aussie living in Liverpool, UK with my wonderful scouser and perfect 4 month old baby girl. I’ve been reading for a while and always look forward to each new post. You write beautifully and I have lost count of the number of times I’ve thought to myself ‘yes! That is exactly how I feel! Someone DOES understand’ usually with tears brimming as I ache for my people and my home. I find a great deal of comfort in your blog, so my heartfelt thanks to you.

  124. What a great idea. I’m Jo, with a home in the UK, and wanderlust. 30 years in Child Protection, 4 (now adult) kids, 4 grandchildren, and widowhood – it was time to pack the rucksack and head off. I was away for 9 months that time; now I go for 4-5 weeks at a time. This is posted from a little cafe in Laos!

  125. I’m Janine. I’m an Australian living in Dubai so can relate to a lot of what you write about! For some reason the UAE blocks me posting under any URL (who would know why but you understand how it is!) So I have to post as anonymous! (Maybe you can get that function that some other pages have which means I can comment via facebook??) I have two girls aged 10 and 12 and I work in finance for a local company here. We’ve been away from Australia for almost 6 years but previously I have also lived in Europe for 3 years – so a bit of a traveller like yourself! I think your posts are lovely.

  126. I’m Linda and I’ve lived all my life in the USA. I live in an RV traveling around this big country so share some of that Where is Home? sensation. I enjoy reading your blog because you keep it real. Thanks for being you and for sharing yourself so willingly with all of us.

  127. Hi Kristy, I’m Tracey originally from the UK, but now living in beautiful Breda. I look for and love reading your blogs daily, but what I’m really hoping for is an announcement that your book has been published and ready to order from Amazon. Failing that, regular updates on how it is progressing and the challenges you face writing your first novel; a sister blog perhaps… xxx

  128. Michele here – from Sunshine Coast Qld Australia
    Love this Beach Guest Book

  129. I’m Kelly, living in Singapore but formerly of Melbourne, Australia.

    I found your blog via Mamamia and have asked you endless
    beginner Expat” questions via Twitter ever since and you’ve never lost once patience with me!

  130. Hi Kirsty, It’s Mel signing in from Tassie – love reading your Posts and relate to so many of them with my tribe of 5 🙂

  131. Suzie here from country NSW Australia. Not sure how I found out about this blog but love reading about you and your little travellers adventures!

  132. Sammi here in Cairns, originally from UK moved here 5 years ago – am an ex-military wife so have moved and followed hubby everywhere!!!! Love, love, love your blog reminds me of all our adventures!!!! 🙂

  133. I’m Eunike, born and grew up in Jakarta Indonesia before migrating to Perth. Now living in Japan with my Japanese American husband and our 9-month-old boy. I found out your blog after my regular reading on Japan Times led me to Surviving in Japan site, which then led me to Expatria Baby which finally got me to your blog. And from your blog, I found Mamamia which has since been added to my daily dosage of readings (my little oasis in the midst of taking care of an active baby). Love your light, funny and heart-warming posts. Thanks a lot!

  134. Yours is my absolute favourite blog. I stumbled across your article on The Expat wife (and it was love at first sight) when I started my first blog in Switzerland. You have made me cry and laugh sooo many times since. You have a wonderful gift of putting emotions into words and making people feeling them all over again.
    I am currently based in Paris (www.expatwithkidsinparis.blogspot.com) but have been travelling the world with my Italian hubby, Argentinean son and Swiss daughter.
    You are a writer’s inspiration. Happy belated Birthday and tell your daughter a little 9 year girl in Paris will be reading your post today. 😉

  135. I am ‘ just a kiwi living in the Gold Coast’ QLD Australia like so many others.Full time Mum of 2 & volunteer worker I love your perspective & wisdom. Theresa V

  136. I’m a 45 year old woman who lives in Lake Forest, IL. I first found your blog while I was living in Singapore. I have followed you ever since. I love your writing style, but mostly I love your honesty. You have made me laugh and cry and often caused me to contact someone as a result of reading your blog. THANK YOU!

  137. I am a 38 year old woman in Sacramento, California working at getting a job abroad, anywhere, doing anything. Love the stories, the laughs, the tears and life away from those you love and miss but with the ones you love.

  138. Aussie living in Canada for 20-something years. Miss it heaps! Love your blog.

  139. Hi, I’m Amber from the Hunter Valley in NSW. I’m not an expat but I’m also writing my first book and have taken much inspiration from your super busy life. Always look forward to hearing about your writing process and how life always seems to get in the way.

  140. I’m from Tasmania (glad we weren’t forgotten!), living in Japan (with two dogs but few suitcases).

  141. Love your blog & thanks for showing me some winter sunshine as I’m in snowy Oxford, England.

  142. I’m a quiet reader too. Love your blog and writing style- always left wishing I could be just as good!

    Caz from Central Coast Australia. Love the idea

  143. Happy birthday!

    I am signing your guest book: I am Elise from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

    I really enjoy reading your bog.


  144. My Name is LET, I am from the Philippines and I love reading your blogs 🙂

  145. I am pretty quiet, I am Alanah, living in Brisbane Australia, we recently moved back from a stint in Jakarta and South Africa before that.

  146. Liz (aka Libby) from Melbourne, living in Mildura & currently visiting Doha where I’ve had a great time & had morning tea with a lovely lady and my sister 😉 Thank you for making time to catch up with me while I’m here xx

  147. Hi I’m a lurker from Iowa, USA. Interesting blog.

  148. Hi, Kirsty – started reading your blog a couple of years ago and do really love it! Am an American living in Seoul, S. Korea.

  149. Hi Kirsty! Long time reader, but also long time lurker. I still giggle about your beagle on the table! I’m a mother of three in Canberra, Aus.

  150. Hi there, I am Lynn, a British Expat from Manchester who lived in the USA for almost 17 years but who now lives in Singapore (kind of). I have two grown kids who are in the USA (miss them a lot) and a Mum who lives in the UK so I hop here and there a lot! Love your blog and posts. 🙂

  151. Introduced to your blog by my family in Doha, signing your visitor book from sunny San Diego, California 🙂

  152. Signing in from Hobart, Tasmania.
    I am a regular reader of your blog, and I pass on snippets to my mother (88) and my daughters (in their 30s.)
    cheers and kisses, Marguerite
    PS I also write a blog,

  153. Just found your blog by happy accident via a trail of book bloggers. I’m writing from New York City (originally from Chicago) and hope one day to be an ex-pat at least for some part of my life!

  154. I don’t remember how I initially came across your blog to be honest, but I love your stories of travel. And with 4 children! So impressed and it makes me smile.

    San Francisco, California, USA.

  155. Hi I’m Michelle … live in Sydney on the Northern Beaches, with my partner and two boys – 2.5 and 4 months. Love your blog and the way you write about your family. Happy birthday! xx

  156. Oh, sorry I’m a couple of days behind on my blog reading and joining the Beach Guest Book party. I’m Sarah and I’m a New Zealander currently living in Hong Kong (via Singapore). Love hearing your expat tales and takes on ‘home’ – couldn’t agree more. I think I found you through Eden and / or Mrs Woog (no idea how I found them now).

  157. My name is Heidi, and I live in (currently frigid) Minnesota, United States. I am not an expat and have only travelled a handful of places, so I enjoy reading your blog for that, and for the wonderful stories about motherhood, because I am a mom to two boys–3 and 6. Thank you!

  158. My name is Sarah, I currently live in Doha having also lived in Abu Dhabi, London, Melbourne & Sydney. I’m a Sydney girl through and through but I’m enjoying my time as an expat and love your blog because it’s almost like a guide book for me on expat living! xxx

    • Oh and forgot to mention how I found your blog! I’m a huge fan of Woogs World and that’s how I found your blog and was very happy to know you also lived in Doha (a place most people haven’t heard of!). And the blonde in me never put two and two together that I had met you before through mutual friends!

  159. I just discovered your blog today via google. I am a single woman born and raised in Japan my whole life even though I’m not Japanese. I’ve always wondered what it was like to be a “world-traveler”. The longest experience I had being overseas was my 4 years in the U.S. as a college student. But even then, I came “home” to Japan during my holidays. Gambatte kudasai (‘good luck’in Japanese)

  160. My name is Keila and I am a lurker. I have been lurking for about 8 months ever since Qatar became a potential place to live. Originally from N’awlins in the US (New Orleans, Louisiana) but lived most of my adult life as an expat in the PI, Japan & Egypt. I discovered your blog when surfing around for info on Qatar, now I’m addicted to 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle! Love your wit, humor and your willingness to share some of yourself with those of us who have walked with sand in our shoes too. A forever fan.

  161. Hi
    I came across your blog entry “A Feminist SAHM? WTF?” today completely by accident and all I can say is what perfect timing. As i’ve been debating the decision of do I return to work or stay at home. I just wanted to say I loved your post, for once i didn’t feel guilty about the fact i’m not in a hurry to return to work.

    I’ll be stopping by again to read your adventures you’ve made me laugh out loud.. Now my challenge is to distract my 7 month old little boy so I can find a spare 5 minutes to have a quick read while i gulp down my cold coffee.

    New found Fan – Emma

  162. I’m Jasmin, a uni student from Oz. Lover of people, places, cultures, dreaming about maybe living and working O/S one day. Love your blog, very entertaining 🙂 I think I stumbled across it via Edenland..?

  163. I like the story.

  164. I’m a new reader, planned to be a quiet one, but couldn’t resist the guest book ;] I’ll be staying here longer, got some catching up to do…

    hi, I’m Ania, from Poland, in Poland, but perhaps not for long now ;]

  165. Love your blog. I was born in Scotland, moved to (in order) England, Kenya, England, Kenya, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Kenya, Chicago USA, England, Germany, England, (married a Turk), Hong Kong, Japan and I’m finally here in Singapore! Kids born in England and HK. Thanks for the blogs, really enjoying them.

  166. Just found you blog and looking into blogging as I’m about to start having a go at it….love the beach guest book I am so stealing it. A fellow traveler I’ve been expat for 7 years… from England, currently living in Al Khor Qatar moving in June to Greece 🙂

  167. Love your blog (have found it recently) and love your writing style. Having studied International HR I love getting a glimpse into what it’s actually like for a family to relocate and experience the expat lifestyle. I also have two beagles, so theres that too 😛

    I’m from Brisbane, Australia.

  168. Anonymous says

    I’m usually a lurker. Reading you in between other things that need (demand!) attention. We’re a blended family living in Istanbul, all American citizens but my husband was born and raised in Turkey, so not really expats. We have 2 littles, 6 and 3 and we go back to the U.S. each year, summers now that our oldest is in primary school. We too acquired a home to have as a place to help ensure our kids stay in touch with American culture, maintain and improve their English. But really, for me, just to try to get some of that “easy” that made me tearful for living in a U.S. suburb that you expressed so well in your Houston post. We live in one of the most magnificent cities in the world, but I still get homesick for the smell of the desert after the rain and driving with others who take stop signs literally – 0h, and having the groceries I’m paying for bagged for me. (Do you people not realize you have a job because I choose to shop here!! Stop sitting on your stool watching me struggle to get everything bagged as you send the next guy’s laundry soap crashing in to my bananas!) Thanks for blogging, I always look forward to reading your writing.

  169. Just found your blog….love it! Our family is considering an 18 month stint in Abu Dhabi. We currently live in Chicago. I hope we can go! Our two kids (7 & 10) would have such a great adventure. Crossing my fingers it happens….

  170. I love your blog and I’ve been reading it for a while whenever procrastination is getting the better of me. I live in the Border Ranges, in an area that neither Queensland or NSW wants responsibility for, with my long suffering partner, two dogs, one cat, nine chooks and four alpacas.

  171. I found your blog a few days ago and have been catching up ( not stalking, promise!). I live outside Atlanta, GA, USA.

  172. I’ve just been watching some of your animations and I have tears of laughter rolling down my face…and that doesn’t happen very often. I am a New Zealander, living in Sydney Australia. I moved to Doha when i was 23 in 2001, lived there for 5 years, moved to Dubai for another 5 years, met my husband somewhere in the middle of that, had my son in Dubai and then a daughter in Sydney. We’ll be back to the ME though, its just a matter of time. Looking forward to reading more of your blog (I found you through Mrs Woog). I am also in the midst of setting up my own blog and putting my ‘career’ on hold. Wish me luck…I suspect I’ll need it! Hope you’re enjoying Qatar, I’m so very fond of the place still x

    • You have to come back and have a look at Doha, I think you’ll be amazed by how much it’s changed. We arrived at the end of 2009 and it continues to amaze me on how much has been built and changed just in our time. Good luck with the blog, I’ll head over and have a squiz now. Let me know if you get back to the ME. xx

  173. This comment has been removed by the author.

  174. Love this idea and your whole Blog.
    Presently we are still in Singapore, but who knows, maybe my next guestbook entry will be in Perth or somewhere else. Living as expat, it’s been a great, enriching experience, but after years of travel, I would really like to call a place home and stay there. What a blessing we have the internet to stay connected.
    Greetings to you an all my fellow expats!

  175. I’m Verena, and I just returned home to Germany after living in Atlanta, GA for 7 years. I love your blog.

  176. Love reading your blog. I shed tears at some stories and laugh myself silly at others. I live in Townsville Australia.

  177. I’m from Brissy, but we have lived in Hawaii, Aruba and for now we call London home! We never know how long we will be in one place, but we love the opportunities afforded us living this expat life.

  178. I’m from Scotland and have lived in Qatar for 2 years now. I’m here with my husband and three sons, the last of which I delivered here over the summer. I’m still not quite used to being an expat, not sure I ever will, but we are here for the moment and who knows what the future holds…..

  179. I’m originally from Armenia, my 10age years were in Belgium, hubby’s from Holland and we live now in Macae, Brazil for the past 3,5 years. We have 2 kids and 3rd on the way we all have different countries as birth places what makes it soooo funny when relocating to a new country. We don’t know where the new baby is going to be borne as they want to transfer us hahah I’m sure it’ll be around my duedate like the last time find a Dr and have a baby all in 10 days time… I LOVE ur blog and read every single post U R Amazing!!!

  180. Jo: Am currently in my office in Bratislava, Slovakia where my family and I have lived for 15 months. This followed 3 years in Germany where my 2 yo old son was born and before that we spent 2 great years in Singapore.
    Feeling rather homesick for Australia today, maybe because a niece just got engaged and we are hoping to get back for the wedding. I’m from Newcastle, my husband is from Melbourne and we lived in Sydney together… So, “home” is an interesting concept but absolutely relate to sometimes feeling overwhelmed when entering Australia and seeing so much that is familiar and frankly “easy” as you just know how it all works.
    Keep up the writing – your words and the images that come to me when reading your posts are funny, uplifting and sometimes sad. Sad is not always bad as it reminds me how much I value some things that just aren’t around me at the moment (family, friends, U-brand tampons!, great seafood, Malborough Sav Blanc, Maggie Beer Cabernet paste, great cheddar cheese, etc).


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