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Old 3rd August 2020, 11:09   #1
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Default My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

Well this is not a review about USA or the cars in the country. This is about how my expectations were set before I reached there and how I felt after roaming many places in the US. What I saw there and how I could relate it to similar things in India.

Almost 90% of my WhatsApp school friends group starts with +1 and majority of the household where I live are parents-only with son/daughter settled in the USA. Being in the IT industry, the expectation of me settling there from family & friends were quite high. But I was very clear. I can go visit US and work for a short time (may be not more than 2 years) but I will not settle anywhere abroad. For that matter I will not move anywhere out of Chennai even within India.

I have seen US only through Hollywood movies and Facebook pictures of friends and family members. And I thought it was a great partying place with beautiful cars, tall buildings, nice places and amazing technologies. I assumed the ones who work in US just make a hell lot of money and bought all sorts of luxury goods and gadgets because they did not know what to do with their money (Only later to realise that it is not completely true).

Finally my day also came and my manager asked me to visit US for a short term project. I was excited. I have already visualised how it is going to be based on what I have heard and seen. And I was just married few months at that time. So it was the first International trip for me and my wife as a couple.We were all set.

Like the general norm for a newly married visiting an International location, I did a Check-In in Facebook, travelling from Chennai to Washington DC (which I will mention as DC henceforth). I have heard lot of stories about visa struggles and harassment by US officers during security check. But I did not face any. I was travelling on a G4 Visa, so it had some special privileges and I was surprised that things went really smooth.

So I landed in DC on a Saturday and we didn't waste our time sitting in the hotel and the below is what we saw on the first and the second day.
(All the pictures shared in this post were taken by me and apologies if some does not have good clarity).

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Yes. US too had rickshaws.

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First day in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Many aircrafts were just like what I had seen in Sci-Fi movies.

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Wikileaks demonstration very near to the White house. Well I thought this is democracy in the real sense. Not like a namesake democracy.

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Capitol building was magnificient to look at. This is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government.

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City Tour Bus.

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Well, I could Visualize Nicholas Cage in National treasure when we went here. Yes, we saw the declaration of Independence Mr.Cage.

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Some Random pictures during our City walk. Beautiful parks, clean roads and nice buildings were just wonderful. I am starting to like USA.

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That straight out of Gangsta hollywood flicks. I am starting to like the city even more for the variety of automobiles that I could spot.

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Knock! Knock! POTUS. Can we come in ?

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City with so many beautiful parks, perfect for running enthusiasts.

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Thats my first day to the office. Felt privileged and proud at the same time.

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Few buildings aside is IMF. All the while I have heard about this organization only in news articles. It was great to see their headquarters. And I liked the way no buildings had a compound or a gate. Just an entry gate with 2 security guards. Have never seen like that in India.

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These roads deserved fast bikes. Wish I was Tom cruise in TopGun driving with leather jacket and aviators.

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Had I went alone, definitely shopping is not in my list. But I didn't have a choice But Indian city malls are no less. Not really impressed. We have almost all the brands that is available there. But we just bought a few for the sake of buying it in AMERICA.

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I spotted the US president's convoy in the first week of staying in US. Just 2 security cars in the front and 4 cars in the back (Security cars mostly were Ford & GMC) and some bikes (all Harleys). There was no blockage of traffic or public nuisance. This was Obama's final few months in the office. I get the feeling that this is how politicians should conduct themselves.

On the contrary, in Chennai I have the privilege of getting caught in frequent traffic blocks (near the Raj Bhavan, Guindy which is on the way to my office) whenever some politicians come to visit the Governor.

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These boys were doing an excellent job playing Trumpets near a metro station. People stopped for few minutes, enjoyed their music and left few dollars in the side for them. I have seen similar people in Suburban trains and I used to look at them as beggars. But here I don't. Why this change of perspective with change of place ? Time to correct my views on few.

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Most of the main roads had bicycle lanes.

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Nice little area named Georgetown famous for its old town charm.

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Dupont Circle metro station in DC. Never seen such huge escalators anywhere before that.

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Last edited by SDP : 9th August 2020 at 03:40. Reason: Typo
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Old 3rd August 2020, 11:51   #2
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Default re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

I have very pleasant memories of the US. US was the first "FOREIGN" country I travelled to, and my first experience was a countryside town called St. Charles. I absolutely loved St. Charles and the countryside life. I am so jealous that we in Mumbai pay about the same money for a home that at best qualifies as breathable. (2CR translates to about 300000 USD, which is enough to buy a house there I think).

Sample house (225000 USD)
https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3.../4655313_zpid/

After St. Charles, I saw the following cities in the order below
Chicago (Trip 1)
Las Vegas + Grand Canyon (Trip 1)
New York (Trip 1, even witnessed an Anti-Trump rally in Manhattan )
Chicago (Trip 2)
Los Angeles (Trip 2)
San Francisco (Trip 2)

While I was amazed at the city and the tourist attractions, I was quite unimpressed by the poverty and related crime you see everywhere. The main difference in Mumbai and say US cities is described below in my view.

In Mumbai, Poorer areas are not necessarily unsafe. So if you happen to walk the streets of Lalbaug (around Lower Parel) or Sion Koliwada (near Dadar), around corporate towers, you will never feel unsafe. In US, a lot of streets even in developed parts of the town, suddenly become unsafe. A lot of my friends have been mugged in fairly popular parts of the city!

And thats where it hits you, how India is unique. In India, even poor people can live a respectable life as cost of living is reasonable. US is complete capitalistic, the poor have no way to live a respectable life. So while the rich have everything available for them. The poor really struggle and are completely exploited by the system.

I would always consider US as a tourist destination and never a country I will ever want to settle in. (Europe is a different story)
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Old 3rd August 2020, 12:12   #3
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Default re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

United Nations office in the City.

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NASA headquarters. Strictly No entry for outsiders.

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A short drive from DC is this place called National harbor in Maryland.
Good place for dining, leisure and some fun. Wish we could commercialize in a similar way in India where we have so many beachfronts.

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Fuel prices at that time.

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Had the opportunity to go to Atlantic city for a weekend. Had heard a lot about this place with friend's calling it Vegas of the East coast. It was just a decent place and they have created this place just for people to spend their money. Nothing great. Probably because I am not a casino or a drinks person, I did not know how to enjoy the place.

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Had absolutely no idea what they are playing.

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That's Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino. I heard he has sold this few years back.

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Trip to New York, the maximum city. The place where I had huge expectations and have heard and read a lot. It was a bit of a disappointment for me. This place was a concrete jungle. Just huge buildings, people people everywhere and too much hyped city.
It was like Mumbai with good roads and proper drainage. No offence meant to any Mumbaikars. But that is how I could relate.

Probably I had too much expectations and also because there was no green I could spot . Of course except the central park. So many roadside vendors, crowded city, fancy lights and advertisements everywhere and metro stations were so old and rusted. NY was so different from DC and I liked DC better.
The most overrated place in NY - Times square.
The most useless place to waste your time and money in NY - Madame Tussauds.

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Empire State

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View of NY City from Empire State Top.

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Central park in the midst of the concrete jungle.

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This is the One World Trade Center of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in New York City. This is the tallest building in the United States.

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9/11 Memorial

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Ride to the Island of Liberty Statue. This place needs no introduction but apart from the history that it carries, there is not much.
NY skyline from the ferry on the way to the statue.

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Well, this was interesting and yeah, we visited. But I am sorry, no further details on this

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Trip to Princeton, New Jersey. Had absolutely no expectations from this place . But this turned out to be a beautiful place full of greenery and is so close to nature.

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A visit to one of the Top Ivy League Universities - Princeton University.
The same place where Albert Einstein once roamed around. Goosebumps !!

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Last edited by vb-san : 4th August 2020 at 16:50. Reason: Edits as requested
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Old 3rd August 2020, 12:36   #4
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A short visit to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York dedicated to the art, history and science of glass.

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Attended a show in Niagara Theatre. The original Native Americans are these Red Indians whose only job in the current years is act as themselves in stage shows. I could not enjoy seeing the condition of these people and what they have become in their own land.

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Niagara falls. This was on top of my list in the must see places. And it was absolutely worth it. Heavenly is the word.

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This is a mall in Niagara called Made in America and everything that is sold here is made in China.

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This is us. The man from Chennai & the lady from Delhi who met in Pune and wandering in the US.

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These were few pictures during my stay in the USA. I was really impressed with most of the places in the country. Now the question comes to me again. Will I settle in US if I get an opportunity ?
No. I am sticking to my previous decision of settling in Chennai but I would love to go for a short term less than 1 year project every few years.

But Man !! Why don't you people have water in the toilets.
I can't carry coffee mugs every time
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Old 3rd August 2020, 13:36   #5
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Default re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

The first time I got to see the USA when I was in the merchant navy in the early 80s. I sailed as third engineer on a small vessel going back and forth between the various Caribbean islands and the east and south cost of the USA.

I liked it a lot. So much that when my leave was came up, I flew from Venezuela where I was relieved, to Miami, Florida. A colleague took most of my stuff back to the Netherlands. I just bought rugsack and in Miami, a Grey Hound pass and I travelled for 6-8 weeks all over the USA, often hitch hiking.

I have been back numerous times, both on work occasions as well as pleasure. I was asked to head up our new service company based out of Kansas City in 2009. So my wife and our cat Daisy picked up our stuff and spend the next there and a half year living the American dream as they say.

We absolutely loved it. The USA is far from perfect. But it a hugely interesting country. There is so much to see and do. Coming from Western Europe we also found it very inexpensive, if not to say cheap. I was there on a petitioned L-1 Visa, which also meant my wife could not work.

2009 - 2012 was of course also during the Obama years. I am not so sure I would want to live in the USA at the moment.

Even so, I do travel to the USA usually at least once a year. And I will always try to extend my travel so I have at least a weekend to enjoy myself.

Not much travel this year of course. My last trip was end of last year to the Dallas area. I don’t like Dallas that much, but I still stayed on two more days. Just to meet up with my brother in law, do a bit of sightseeing, do some shopping.

The USA for is synonymous with “convenience”. Everything is geared to maximum convenience. Compared to western Europe some things are pretty basic, if not even crude. I could not believe the central heating system in our house in KC. Unbelievable huge, archaic and inefficient to run. But it kept the house warm. The American banking system is light years behind anything in the west.

But as a country there is just so much to see and do. By and large we found most Americans easy going, always willing to help out and quite interested in hearing about Europe. But here is the thing; to enjoy the USA you must have sufficient income and you must have a health insurance.

We did endless road trips and flew to other destinations for weekend trips. We had a ball of a time, those three years. We are still in touch with our American friends and some have visited us in India and the Netherlands.

I know it is sort of against the rules, I hope the mods allows this, but here is the link to our personal website I set up and maintained whilst we lived in Kansas City 2009-2012:

This gives you an impression on how to adjust to the USA living. It also gives a very good impression of the huge variety of outings, different places, different sceneries you can enjoy.

https://jeroendorresteincom.ipage.co...to_the_US.html

If you have the opportunity to visit the USA, do make the most of it. Try and extend your time as much as you can see. It is an easy country to live and travel!

Enjoy

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 3rd August 2020 at 13:39.
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Old 3rd August 2020, 16:35   #6
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Default re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

Man, I love the States! Been there as a kid, but lived there properly from 2001 - 2003 for my MBA. If it weren't for my patriotism & my family in India, I wouldn't have returned. Every country has its pros & cons, but let's focus on the pros here. God knows, we need some more positivity in these Covid times. The USA is the absolute best at business + tech + having fun; if you have a good career, it's also the one that will give you a top quality of life.

Learned a lot of things during my time there, principles which I stick by even today. Gosh, I miss those days. Group presentation with my team, a typical student day:
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Old 5th August 2020, 12:38   #7
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Thanks for the thread. The best part of USA is that its not intimidating. You feel that you have reached home because all the things that you can expect in a civilization is perfectly in place - at least to do business, to drive, to learn and to live (whats left? - raising a family and retirement). The rules are in place, the language is uniform, infrastructure is evenly distributed and law is enforced at a level that matters to you and me. You can adjust to the place in no time, except for the missing health faucets! When I was a kid, I saw 1983 Olympics in LA, and it instantly left a deep impression me. In a coincidence, LA was the first city I visited. It was everything I saw, imagined and then some. As someone above has commented, for tourism, there is nothing like USA and I can even say that you need not visit anywhere else - such is the variety. But I feel something thats close to our soul is missing. I cant exactly put what it is. I felt lonely. India is where it is for me.
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Old 5th August 2020, 13:01   #8
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Default Re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

Dallas and Austin are the only 2 cities in have visited in the US, and US is the only foreign country I've been to, Ive never fancied immigration as an option.

First impressions, the place looks exactly as in the movies..

Dallas is simply awesome compared to anything in India, the acres of space, over planned infrastructure, sprawling lawns and wooded areas are thing you can only dream of in India. Am sure the other cities are equally good or even better.

One thing I noticed is the lack of public transport and somewhat poor occupancy in them. Again this observation is for just one city, probably because of the fact that cant really walk around. I tried it was almost impossible to walk and get anywhere. Also the poorer neighborhoods though look cleaner and better off than the slums here, surely look dangerous.and the casual mugger types, who come start a conversation to ask money etc is a bit scary.
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Old 5th August 2020, 13:08   #9
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USA is a big reality tv show which the whole world looks at, in every few months it never fails to entertain you with another surprising act.

Protesting social distancing and masks.
Electing clown of a president.
Waging war in every corner of the world
Having school shootings yet no gun control.
No Healthcare and free education like other developed nations.
Racism.
The list goes on and on

But they have freedom of expression and speech and can protest as well, which in our country is sadly disappearing. Plus the infrastructure, civic sense and other stuff are there too
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Old 5th August 2020, 13:55   #10
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Default Re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

Hi Raghav, First I saw that you traveled from Chennai to the US and i thought well that's similar to my trip. Then I read you went to Washington DC for work, again the same thought. You then mentioned about going there on a G4 VISA and then I was sure that we work for the same organization. Glad you posted your picture in the last post. I could immediately recognize you

Nice thread and nice pictures you have shared.

The place I loved the most would definitely be Niagara Falls. Watching nearly 6 million cubic feet of water crushing down right next to you is just an amazing experience.

About my impression, well during my first visit around 5 years back (which was my 1st visit ever to a foreign country), I was really impressed by how clean, tidy and quiet DC is. The city has everything one could possibly want for a good peaceful lifestyle. That said, I still prefer the occasional short trips (less than a year).
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Old 5th August 2020, 14:52   #11
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This is like writing a memoir. Will try to keep it brief.
1) My first experience of staying as a bachelor.
2) Stayed long term in cities like Chicago, Columbus and Cleveland. Experienced the best and worst of the midwest weather.
3) Played tennis to my hearts content.
4) Visited many states from Vermont in the east to Florida in the south to California in the west. Major cities visited: New York region, Washington DC region, Boston area (incl. a memorable tour of Harvard by an enthusiastic student) San Francisco/San Jose, LA, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Diego, among others.
5) Was one of the lucky ones to stand atop the World Trade Centre back in December 1999.
6) Witnessed 9/11 on TV. Saw the upheaval that took place in the American society and also faced the (mild) aftermath in the immediate few days after.
7) Travelled on all possible forms of airplanes. No place like the USA to fly on different aircraft, especially up to the mid-2000s. Now its just the boring Boeings or Airbuses.
8) And cars, well- I owned the Honda Civic, Accord and the Camry at various points of time. But drove a huge variety of cars - the most memorable amongst those being Pontiac Bonneville V6 3.8 lt (my first rental) ,the Ford F150 9 seater Van, Dodge Intrepid V6, Jeep Grand Cherokee,the Ford Explorer, and several "regular" cars like the GrandAm, Corolla, Malibu, Buick Century and others.
9) Never got ticketed for speed.

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Old 5th August 2020, 15:39   #12
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I ended my tenure of ~2.5 years in USA and came back to India just a couple of weeks back. Back in 2018 when I mentioned about my upcoming trip to US, an ex-colleague told me that "US is a big and beautiful country which everyone must visit at least once". I can truly attest to.his words now.

I lived in the suburbs of LA and travelled to a few tourist attractions within California and it's neighbouring states. I can safely say that the most beautiful sight I ever saw with my eyes was the Multnomah falls in Oregon.
My first impression about the USA. What's yours?-screenshot_20200805152413.jpg.

Many here has already expressed their reservations about US healthcare. Having spent time in US during the Covid pandemic I can fully appreciate that.:
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Old 5th August 2020, 15:54   #13
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Default Re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaghavEvoX View Post
These were few pictures during my stay in the USA.
Here is a shot of DC when I visited the first time, I think this is the Air and Space Museum. As the date shows, it is from another era.

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Old 5th August 2020, 18:00   #14
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Ahh America !

Was in the US couple of years back to attend an event in Dallas & Houston, TX. Rented a Chevy Suburban from Sixt Car Rental which had just 1300 miles on the ODO.

The Event venue was about 12 miles from where i was staying and every day while going to the event venue, i use to come across a collection of American Muscle cars maintained by an old man. After couple of days drooling over, i couldn`t resist the urge and stopped by and asked him to show me around. And he gave me the best tour of my life. Heard these beast roar for the first time in real. And it was orgasmic to say the least.

Have a look !
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Old 5th August 2020, 19:57   #15
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Default Re: My first impression about the USA. What's yours?

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Originally Posted by RaghavEvoX View Post
Why this change of perspective with change of place ? Time to correct my views on few.
Great thread, but what struck me was this. You are awesome!
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