Photo of the Week
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    [post_date] => 2017-03-18 09:02:27
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-18 15:02:27
    [post_content] => 

Hello all (particularly Ma and Baab)!

So today is our last day in Jordan, and-big surprise- my first post. Currently, we are on a five hour road trip back to the airport, listening to "desert vibes" music, drinking turkish coffee, and eating shortbread cookies. Every morning we do a morning check in, where everyone in the group shares how they are feeling emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Lastly, they will rate themselves on the poop scale from 1- 10 (1= basically water, 10= basically rocks, and 5= "mumtaz"/perfect poop). The whole experience, particularly the sharing of the poop scale, has been a bonding experience. During this morning on the bus, I think everyone, for the first time, was feeling extremely mixed emotions. Personally, I feel thankful, sad, and excited all at the same time: thankful because I was beginning to get into a wonderful rhythm with my host family in the Di Sa village (especially with the 5 year old girl Anashd). Their hospitality and willingness to deal with my awkwardness have moved me. I am also sad because I know I will never experience anything like this again and I don't want the trip to end. Lastly, excited because I miss access to coffee... and my family/ friends. I cannot wait to share all that I have learned here!!

On that note, there are many things that I believe me and my peers will bring back with us when we get home. Some of especially popular impressions left the group are the following: a newly ignited love for arabic (maybe to study in college?), a desire to truly "unplug" from technology, a love for the cathartic desert and stars, a cultural awakening, and a humbling of our immense privilege in Milton, MA (especially in areas of education, stability, water quality, and less stratified gender roles).

Okay, enough reflection! Y'all probably want to know what we did last afternoon/night. After lunch with our respective host families, we were told their would be a surprise in the Arabian Desert... we hopped into the back of two trucks and stared out at Grand Canyon-esque rock formations.

When we reached the Wadi Rum camp, a herd of camels were sitting in the sand (is a group of camels a herd?). I chose a white, fluffy camel and named him Roger after my white, fluffy dog. Vijay’s camel was definitely the “Mudeer jamal” (leader camel) and was extremely vocal… I didn’t know camels could roar. Matt definitely felt most at home on his camel. Wearing the traditional kufie (a head wrap) and sitting cross legged on his camel, Matt was definitely channeling his inner Lawrence of Arabia. In short, we road the camels for an hour to a checkpoint with tea, more beautiful rock formations, and food. After hours of bonding, we all spread our and lay under the stars.  Unlike in Amman, Madaba, or Boston, the stars in the middle of the desert are unimaginably defined and bright.

I don’t want to kill you guys with my long winded explanations (and Elley is passing out eggplant falafel sandwiches), so I will sign off for now. In summary, this trip was truly "la allah sa" (dope) as the hip Jordinianphot millennials say!

Masalamma hum duhleilah,

Te

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Last Day

Te Palandjian,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Hello all (particularly Ma and Baab)! So today is our last day in Jordan, and-big surprise- my first post. Currently, we are on a five hour road trip back to the airport, listening to “desert vibes” music, drinking turkish coffee, and eating shortbread cookies. Every morning we do a morning check in, where everyone in […]

Posted On

03/18/17

Author

Te Palandjian

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-18 08:10:59
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    [post_content] => Marhaba Family wa Friends!

Elley and I are both happy and sad to report that the entire Milton group has safely passed through airport security and await their departure to the States (and Beijing).

We want to echo Vijay's sentiment from our final ceremony last night: This group has come together in a way we couldn't have imagined at the start of the week. From late night life talks on the roof of Zaman y Zaman to learning Arabic slang in Madaba; sharing a family style meal with Khulood and listening to Abu Nabil's account of fleeing Syria; dancing the dabkeh and trying maqluba; we've shared an incredible amount, personally, intellectually and emotionally.

Elley and I are both excited to see where the next chapter takes this crew. I have a feeling that their exploration of the Middle East has just begun.

Mr. Emmott and Mr. Ball, thank you for making this trip a reality.

 Inshallah you all find showers in Dubai, or else parents, please look forward to some sandy desert hugs at Logan.

Much love,
Cate and Elley
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Goodbye, Milton!

Instructor Team,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Marhaba Family wa Friends! Elley and I are both happy and sad to report that the entire Milton group has safely passed through airport security and await their departure to the States (and Beijing). We want to echo Vijay’s sentiment from our final ceremony last night: This group has come together in a way we […]

Posted On

03/18/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-17 08:57:08
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    [post_content] => Some great photos from Cate and Elley from Desa. Enjoy!
    [post_title] => Desa Photos
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Desa Photos

Dragons Administration,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Some great photos from Cate and Elley from Desa. Enjoy!

Posted On

03/17/17

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-17 06:24:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-17 12:24:26
    [post_content] => Hello All,Reporting here on the third and final day of our home-stays in Desa. The sun is out, the desert air is cool, and we're all looking forward to an afternoon expedition into Wadi Rum for our final dinner and celebration.In fact, the past two days have been filled with unexpected celebrations. Half the town has been swept up in a multi-day wedding that many of the students have been attending. Vijay, Zhenfeng and James joined Mr. Emmott and Mr. Ball in the men's wedding tent, sipping tea and feasting on plates and plates of kibseh. Te and Molly were welcomed into the women's tent, filled with colorful abeyas, dancing, and little girls twirling in ball gowns. We all felt very fortunate to be included in such a sacred community event.Prior to the festivities, our group had the honor of sitting down with the oldest leader and mayor of Desa, Abu Hussein. He talked to us about his family, the history of Desa, and his fears about the rise of technology. He shared his own belief that people cultivate true knowledge when they connect face to face; not by texting or 'connecting' over WhatsApp. He encouraged our generation to remember the power of relationships, and to slow down long enough to have them.I suspect you'll hear more about each student's personal experience as soon as we're back together. And JP has taken at least 3,000 pictures, so we'll be sure to post a few from the bus tomorrow morning.Sending all of our best,Cate
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PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

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Update from Wadi Rum

Cate Brown,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Hello All,Reporting here on the third and final day of our home-stays in Desa. The sun is out, the desert air is cool, and we’re all looking forward to an afternoon expedition into Wadi Rum for our final dinner and celebration.In fact, the past two days have been filled with unexpected celebrations. Half the town […]

Posted On

03/17/17

Author

Cate Brown

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-16 15:05:14
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    [post_content] => Hello Milton families and friends!

A quick note to let you all know that the Milton travelers have settled into their home-stays Seh'leh's camp, a Bedouin community with a more permanent structure than their traditionally nomadic roots. The group continues to have an eye-opening and rewarding time and will be able to post more updates once they reach internet.

 
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View post

Milton settled in home-stays!

Dragons Administration,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Hello Milton families and friends! A quick note to let you all know that the Milton travelers have settled into their home-stays Seh’leh’s camp, a Bedouin community with a more permanent structure than their traditionally nomadic roots. The group continues to have an eye-opening and rewarding time and will be able to post more updates […]

Posted On

03/16/17

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-14 21:12:38
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    [post_content] => Hello Families,

After an early morning breakfast in our hotel in Madaba, a few of us ventured up to the top of a bell tower connected to the local Chrisitan church while others took a leisurely stroll through the town. Regardless, the views were quite amazing. Within the hour we were headed towards to the Dead Sea, but a visit to Madaba wouldn't be complete without visiting Mount Nebo. Home to where Moses first claimed he had seen the promised land, Mount Nebo offers remarkable views of Madaba, with distant Bethelem and Jerusalem just beyond.  The Dead Sea was just a short hour bus ride away giving us time to reflect about our trip and to further our knowledge about Jordan. Once there we had a picnic style lunch and then right into the Dead Sea we went. It is known that everything and anything can float in the Dead Sea because of it's extremely high concentrate of saline, but never did any of us expect just how easy it was to float. Without any effort the water would put you into a natural floating position. Our trip to the Dead Sea was amazing but we had to quickly get on our way as a 5 hour journey to Wadi Rum was ahead. Incredible scenery, meaningful conversation, and stops for snacks and we had arrived in time for a bountiful feast in Salah's Camp in Wadi Rum. Tonight we sleep under the stars and tomorrow begins a 3 day adventure with our host families. All is well in Jordan, and we look forward to updating you all soon.

Best,

JP Schuster
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PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

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The Journey to Wadi Rum

JP Schuster,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Hello Families, After an early morning breakfast in our hotel in Madaba, a few of us ventured up to the top of a bell tower connected to the local Chrisitan church while others took a leisurely stroll through the town. Regardless, the views were quite amazing. Within the hour we were headed towards to the […]

Posted On

03/14/17

Author

JP Schuster

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-13 20:23:37
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-14 02:23:37
    [post_content] => Salaam! Today marked our last day in Amman. After an early breakfast at the hotel, we made our way up to the upper balcony for a lesson on Arabic numbers, plus other general vocabulary. We finished our lesson around 10:00 a.m. The morning had brought some rain, but by the end of the lesson, the rain had mostly cleared out, and the sun had begun to break through the clouds. After checking out of our hotel, we made our way up the hill to Amman's citadel

The citadel lies on one of Amman's highest points and overlooks the city's multiple hills (djebel in Arabic), all densely settled. A set of Roman ruins dominate the site. During Roman times, Amman was known as Philadelphia, and the citadel held a major temple, of which a few columns remain. Later, the Ummayad Caliphate constructed a mosque on the site. We were exploring the ruins just as the noontime call to prayer rang out across the city. From all directions, the sound of the Adhan echoed over the hills, becoming gradually louder as the call spread across Amman. The moment seemed almost surreal, a respit from the frantic energy of the capitol. After the call to prayer ended, we made our way down from the citadel into downtown Amman.

We had an hour to get lunch. On Saturday, Elley's friend Mohammed had told us over lunch about the most unusual thing he'd ever eaten in Amman: a lamb spleen sandwich at a restaurant called Al-Hanini. Naturally, we decided to find Al-Hanini. Armed with an extremely limited knowledge of Arabic, JP, Vijay, James and I set out to find the restaurant. "Lo samaht," we asked, "wain al-Hanini?" Thankfully, we eventually found our way to the restaurant. An inability to translate lamb spleen into Arabic prevented us from ordering the dish, but we did get incredible shawarma that we all agreed was the best meal of the trip. After lunch, we drove to West Amman to meet with an organization working for transnational protection of the Jordan River watershed.

Ecopeace, the organization working to protect the watershed, has offices in Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian West Bank. Of course, the Jordan watershed holds some of the most contentious political issues in the world, from the Israeli- Palestinian conflict to the Syrian civil war. However, Ecopeace has still managed to achieve progress revitalizing the watershed, despite extremely heavy use.

In the late afternoon, we departed for Madaba, a town just south of Amman. Madaba is 30% Christian, making it unusual within the overwhelmingly Sunni nation of Jordan. In Madaba, we saw the Madaba Map, a famous mosaic from the 6th century, depicting Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and other parts of the Levant. After exploring the town, we ate dinner with Tamara, an engineering student at the American University of Madaba and a Catholic. After a fun evening, we returned to the Moab Land hotel. Tomorrow we leave for Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea, then on to Wadi Rum!

Wa Salama,

Matt Magann

 
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Last Day in Amman

Matthew Magann,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Salaam! Today marked our last day in Amman. After an early breakfast at the hotel, we made our way up to the upper balcony for a lesson on Arabic numbers, plus other general vocabulary. We finished our lesson around 10:00 a.m. The morning had brought some rain, but by the end of the lesson, the […]

Posted On

03/13/17

Author

Matthew Magann

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-12 19:27:31
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-13 01:27:31
    [post_content] => 

Greetings from Jordan,

Today we woke again for an 8 am breakfast, followed by an Arabic lesson. I found it a little challenging but knowing at least a little Arabic has been really helpful in connecting with Jordanians on a more personal level. Now we can introduce ourselves and tell people where we are from!

For the rest of the day we focused on culture, the arts, and families. After finishing our lesson, we travelled by van to CRP, a smaller non-profit organization. The "Collateral Repair Program" original focused on supporting Iraqi refugees but has expanded to provide aid primarily Syrian refugees but really anyone in need in the area. At the program we were able to speak with Abu Nabil, a former Syrian lawyer, who now volunteers at CRP. It was inspiring but also difficult to confront the realities of the Syrian conflict that we have read so much about. Hearing from someone who has survived this, I think brought a humanity and immediacy to the crisis that is sometimes lost in the classroom.

Following the talk we got a tour of the facility and then continued on to lunch with Khulood, a longtime Dragon's host mother. I am not sure that I can give an apt description, but the food was delicious; we ate different types of lamb and chicken along with salad and bread, and all of it was homemade! In the after lunch conversation, Khulood told us her life story of becoming a single mother in Jordan that owns her own business. Despite having been married at a young age, risking her safety by divorcing her husband and going against, and being separated from her children, it was inspiring to see how she had become this role model of strength and independence.

Finally we visited Jadal Cultural Center where we learned to dance Dabke. This was another challenging yet rewarding experience. After that we ate dinner, we spoke with the manager of Jadal who talked about his experience of being a person in Jordan who desires major societal changes and does not believe in Islam. His perspective was particularly interesting in its uniqueness and was a nice ending to a day of inspiring discussions.

As you can probably tell our day was pretty eventful and filled with a lot of eye-opening conversations, so we are all pretty tired. I am looking forward to the tomorrow's activities and can only hope that they will be as unique as today's were.

Goodnight!

 

P.S. There are some cool photos of us attached :)

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Another Day in Jordan March 12

Jonathan Wuwong,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Greetings from Jordan, Today we woke again for an 8 am breakfast, followed by an Arabic lesson. I found it a little challenging but knowing at least a little Arabic has been really helpful in connecting with Jordanians on a more personal level. Now we can introduce ourselves and tell people where we are from! […]

Posted On

03/12/17

Author

Jonathan Wuwong

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    [post_content] => Ahlan wa salan friends,

I'm writing you from a balcony in the Zaman y Zaman hotel. The air is sweet from last night's rain and the evening still thick with a gentle fog. Life on Hashemi Street bellows just below: taxis honking, trucks trundling, disgruntled mufflers groaning under their load. And we're perched against the hillside, nestled into an oasis of potted plants and hospitality, a welcome refuge after a long day.

Today was split into two distinct parts: our morning was dedicated to Group Orientation and this afternoon we had our first panel of guest speakers on refugees and NGOs in Jordan.

Orientation is all about building a shared set of expectations for our trip and articulating personal goals. Together, we agreed to be open, aware, accepting and supportive. We agreed to step up by stepping back. To leave our biases and assumptions at home. To try one new food every day. To have meaningful conversations with our Jordanian home-stay families and hosts. To practice Arabic. To ask questions. To explore. To leave our tech at home, alhamdulillah. To be here.

We had a chance to put these agreements to the test this afternoon. Our first guest panel featured Dr. Paul Fean, Youth Program Manager at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); Georgie Nink, Program Officer for Youth & Protection at Questscope; Yosra alBakkar, Regional Manager for the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA); and Mohammad alAbbadi, with Middlebury Study Abroad in Amman. These heavy hitters quickly reminded us that even our most basic questions are truly complex, like:

--What does it mean to be Jordanian?

--What is a refugee?

--What does it mean to have your 'basic needs' met? Who decides?

--What role do tribes play in Jordan? What about Ethnicity? Nationality?

--What does 'sustainability' look like in refugee camps? And what does it mean to 'go home'?

 

We'll be exploring these questions over the next week, and leaning into the nuances of each narrative-- Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, American...

 

We invite you to send us your reflections: if anything, we came out of today with more questions than we have answers. That must be a good place to start.

 

Wishing you all the best. Ma salaama,

The Milton in Jordan Crew

 
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PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

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Day 1: Roles, Goals & Refugees

Cate Brown,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Ahlan wa salan friends, I’m writing you from a balcony in the Zaman y Zaman hotel. The air is sweet from last night’s rain and the evening still thick with a gentle fog. Life on Hashemi Street bellows just below: taxis honking, trucks trundling, disgruntled mufflers groaning under their load. And we’re perched against the […]

Posted On

03/11/17

Author

Cate Brown

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-11 20:01:49
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    [post_content] => Merhaba! This is Zhenfeng Qiu, your trip historian of the day.

Our March 11th started with a good eight-hour sleep and a wonderful scrambled egg breakfast. For morning check in, we gathered under the Roman amphitheater and shared out goals for this trip. Shortly afterwards, we arranged skits to demonstrate the cultural taboos of the Jordanians. JP's "American glutton" and Matt's "I-lost-my-house Bedouin" gave us some good laugh. We also assigned a daily role to each member of the team. Today's assignment is as the following:
  • Leader: JP. JP was so excited to demonstrate his leadership potential that he bought himself a tailored Jordanian suit at a nearby market. Besides that, JP fulfilled his responsibility as the communicator of the itinerary and GPS for our excursions, which sometimes involved approaching local Jordanians for directions.
  • Newscaster: Vijay. A newscaster's job is to communicate news from the local newspaper The Jordan Times, as well as depressing developments news back home. An improvised role during our meeting, the newscaster's missions were postponed to the next day.
  • Camel: Matt. Matt expressed his commitment to his new role by identifying himself as a member of the camel species. As a camel, he distributed water to other members of the team. He won the title "austere camel" for a (feigned) lack of motivation to perform his duty.
  • Photographer: James. James showed off his photography skills by documenting every corner of Amman's streets. During our excursion between the hotel and Dr. Paul's apartment, James was so immersed in the photographic experience that our team shepherd Molly had to drag him back in line.
  • Teacher: Te. A teacher's job includes providing the historical backgrounds of our destinations and teaching an Arabic word in the morning. Since we did not visit any place of historical significance, the role was suspended today.
  • Shepherd: Molly. As the housekeeper of the team, Molly made sure we leave our activity spaces without leaving any trash. Besides fulfilling her designated tasks, she was also credited for keeping our committed photographer James in line.
  • Food seeker: Jonathan. With the help of Mr. Emmott, an expert on local restaurants, Jonathan presented the team with the best indigenous foods within the area. Our lavish lunch included pita bread, four different sauces made from roasted eggplant and beans, and french fries. Our dinner was the famous Jordanian chicken wrap with french fries.
  • Historian: Zhenfeng. Please don't spell my name wrong again.
These roles will rotate everyday in the next eight days. Everyone will have a chance to take on each role. Around 3pm we climbed up to Dr. Paul's apartment for a panel on Syrian refugee crisis. Dr Paul was the manager of the Jordan branch of Norwegian Refugee Council, an NGO that help relieve humanitarian crisis around the globe. He was joined by Yosar, another NGO worker and daughter of a Palestinian refugee family in Jordan, and Georgie, a Tufts University graduate and member of Questscope. In a two-hour discussion, we clarified some common misunderstanding about the crisis and explored the meaning of being a "Jordanian". We also had a glimpse of the goals and struggles of foreign NGOs as they tried to promote the living standard of a people deprived by war. Despite the tormenting jet lag, the team managed to stay awake (mostly) and asked insightful questions. The panel extended our classroom discussion and gave us valuable personal perspectives on this global issue. Our trip back involved a few cats and a Bedouin shepherd herding his sheep in the middle of the street. At 5pm we learnt some simple Arabic greetings such as merhaba (hello) and kayfak (how are you). After a good dinner and some rest, off we go to the second day of our trip. Laylatan saeida (good night)!   To parents: all students' phones were confisticated to cure our dependency on social networks. Please contact us through emails or a faculty member. [post_title] => Yak Post - Day 1 - March 11th [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => yak-post-day-1-march-11th [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-11 20:09:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-12 03:09:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 605 [name] => PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan [slug] => spring-2017-partnership-milton-jordan [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 605 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 595 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0.1 [cat_ID] => 605 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => [cat_name] => PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan [category_nicename] => spring-2017-partnership-milton-jordan [category_parent] => 595 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2017/spring-2017-partnership-milton-jordan/ ) ) [category_links] => PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan )

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Yak Post – Day 1 – March 11th

Zhenfeng Qiu,PARTNERSHIP: Milton Jordan

Description

Merhaba! This is Zhenfeng Qiu, your trip historian of the day. Our March 11th started with a good eight-hour sleep and a wonderful scrambled egg breakfast. For morning check in, we gathered under the Roman amphitheater and shared out goals for this trip. Shortly afterwards, we arranged skits to demonstrate the cultural taboos of the Jordanians. […]

Posted On

03/11/17

Author

Zhenfeng Qiu

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