The Fuqi Xiang Fallacy

John and I standing side by side
John and I have fūqī xiàng? How could anyone think we look that much alike?

You two really have fūqī xiàng (夫妻相).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from Chinese friends. As much as I love when people suggest my husband and I are a lucky match, a couple destined to stay together forever, fūqī xiàng leaves me puzzled. How could anyone think we look that much alike?

I could imagine why such a saying came from China, a country dominated by the Han people, who share the same black hair and eyes, and similar skin tones. With that background, it wouldn’t take much for any couple to look alike. At a minimum, they’d need the same nose and the same shaped eyes; maybe the same shaped face, if you were a stickler. But even so, the odds are good you’d find many couples with their match reflected in their faces.

Not with John and I. Maybe we have the same nose — maybe. But one nose in common does not a fūqī xiàng make.

Or does it? According to John, it’s our noses that earned us the title. Well, my friend Caroline always used to tell me John had a nose like a foreigner, and maybe that’s all it takes.

Then again, maybe the reason we get told “fūqī xiàng” relates to human nature — that maybe, when we see two people together and committed, we just want to focus on the similarities, right down to their face. Who knows?

Well, at least I know one thing. Hearing “fūqī xiàng” from others definitely makes this yangxifu laugh. 😉

What do you think?

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45 thoughts on “The Fuqi Xiang Fallacy

  • February 13, 2012 at 2:47 am
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    I heard somewhere that the more couple lives together, the more alike they become, perhaps there’s some kind of aura resemblance. When I was with my Korean ex, I noticed that both of us started to copy one another’s speech patterns and things; and even now if something doesn’t go right, I often end up saying a Korean bad word haha. I forget in what things he copied me though 🙁

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  • February 13, 2012 at 3:10 am
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    I have noticed that couples normally have similar mouth shapes. I think the shape of your mouth and John’s look quite similar, though your’s is bigger. I am not so certain about the nose. But there is some intangible similarity in the overall look that both you and John exude. Maybe this is why they say you have 夫妻象。

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  • February 13, 2012 at 4:39 am
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    “Fu Qi Xiang” is not just about looks. It’s the spirit that counts!

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  • February 13, 2012 at 6:58 am
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    I’m not sure about you looking alike but you both exude happiness and content in that picture. I think that’s most important!

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  • February 13, 2012 at 7:55 am
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    fūqī xiàng (夫妻象) is not just about the “look” (or the likeness), its can be about how “complementary” you look, or the way you act around each other. Its a compliment usually about how a couple exude the aura of a successful relationship.

    BTW, I noticed, your husband looks a bit like another famous AMWF couple Sharon Balcombe and her husband. Take a look!
    http://rcmi.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/img_8092-best.jpg

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  • February 13, 2012 at 9:48 am
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    Yes, this is very true!! It can be very funny ,too. Sometimes, those people can tell when you talk already. it’s all true!! They will say that you have the same personalities and some outlook on life!! I hear that alot all the time. I LOVE IT !

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  • February 13, 2012 at 10:20 am
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    It’s inevitable, when you share much of your clothes (except dresses) with your hubby.

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  • February 13, 2012 at 11:22 am
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    When I see pictures of my husband and I, I do see quite a resemblance. Facial structure, smile, and lips wise. In the summertime, we have the same skin tone. It’s crazy!

    You two look great together! 🙂

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  • February 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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    But you do look alike! haha I have thought this when you have posted pictures before.
    You are supposed to be attracted to people who look similar to you, or your parents but I’m not sure where this leaves people who are mostly attracted to another race… 😮 As other people have said, I think this can also include people with a similar temperament.
    It’s just like people that look like their pets 😀

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  • February 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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    Jocelyn, I can see why some people would say that “You two really have fūqī xiàng (夫妻象).”

    For Hong and I, it seems like we grow more and more similar over time. Certainly not identical twins, but I remember once looking in the mirror and thinking my eyes looked more oriental. Years before I remember looking in the mirror (after living in China for a while) and feeling startled at how bulgy and round my “frog eyes” looked.

    Coincidentally, Jean Haner also posted this on her Chinese face reading blog this morning: http://wisdomofyourface.com/blog/?p=64 – she advocates dating people with different facial features than your own to avoid personality conflicts and clashes. She says, “It’s definitely important to understand what messages your date’s face reveals, but maybe you should beware if they look too much like you!”

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  • February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm
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    Yes, It’s also true that we copy each other’s jokes ,too. It’s very stimulating when you can make your husband/wife smile and laugh. Yes, it’s also true that your wife will like to wear your socks because men’s socks are softer and thicker. No wonder she wears all my socks sometimes.

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  • February 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm
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    I am not sure about your guys look alike. But when couples love each other others will notice. That is how you get the comment like that 🙂

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  • February 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm
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    People say that about my boyfriend and me all the time. It’s so funny….If you’ve seen my picture on my blog and then try to imagine my Taiwanese boyfriend(with his super tan skin, black hair and brown eyes)you would think it impossible.

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  • February 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm
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    Fu Qi Xiang is subjective, more like the “feel” and “presence” you project to people around you.

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  • February 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm
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    Adding on to what sam said, I think it has to do with the Chinese belief that what’s on the surface is also how it is underneath. Occasionally it goes the other way around.

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  • February 14, 2012 at 5:24 am
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    Haha so weird:D We have never heard such comments but maybe we look just different then..

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  • February 14, 2012 at 6:30 am
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    They both look alike indeed…in the happiness sense! However, not in the physical sense. It sounds like the Trinidad Indian friend of mine, where white people tell him that he has a scottish accent on the phone, but if they seen him in person they say he has an Indian accent, and he has never left Americas in his lifetime.

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  • February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm
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    Yes, I agree with David. You two have different physical features but the face expression is the same – because you are in love with each other 😉
    Like with me and my bf, just have a look. The hair, noses, eyes, skin tone – everything is different, despite this blissful smile 😉
    http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/5315/84928437.jpg

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  • February 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm
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    do you mean “夫妻相” rather than “夫妻象”? if someone says john and you have “fuqixiang”, it reads people feel happy for you and wish you both good. 🙂

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  • February 15, 2012 at 7:42 am
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    mmmm… so.. apparently Im the only one who thinks that u and ur hubby dont look alike at all… but..does it really matter?? …I dont think me and my bf look alike either.. I mean…mexican and chinese honestly dont have similar physical appearance … however I do believe that the most time a couple spend together the more they start acting like the other …
    so.. what does Fu Qi Xiang means?? …

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  • February 15, 2012 at 10:44 am
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    @Babara. look again at the shape of your lips and your bf’s. Not exactly alike, but see the similarity? All you couples, pls take another look at your lips? That’s what I have noticed over the years about couples. Quite a number of couples have similar mouth-lip shape.

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  • February 16, 2012 at 6:17 am
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    “produce”?… wow…

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  • February 16, 2012 at 8:24 am
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    Yes, “produce” is like laying eggs 🙂 lol 🙂 . Asians have the highest income ( on avg) right now in America.. more than whites.. You better believe it or else you’ll miss all the glory :). We mainly focus on education , our kids’ education , our families ( mom,dad, siblings etc). Currently, I know 2 chinese families that provide over $500k dollars on one kid education already ( from 5 yrs old until 18 yrs old) not counting college :). Those parents are millionaires and they work really hard for their kids’ future !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t let me hear another comment about Chinese dads/ men only care for themselves ! We don’t focus so much on sports like footbool ,basketball etc that’s why you don’t see many asians in those areas. I’ve seen a few Chinese/Asian men in Professional basketball and bodybuilding etc but not many are involved. If you watch NBA lately that we have JEREMY LIN for NY Knicks as point guard. Won 7 games straight. “Linsensation “. Basketball in China is different from the USA. In America, you have to play like an animal in sports. When you go for a dunk it’s like you want to tear/break the damn rim. When we were playing basketball over 15 yrs ago in America, every rebounds were over the rim. Basketball in China is just at baby stage.

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  • February 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm
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    David and Bruce, you guys never stop with that ASIAN PRIDE thing in EVERY BLOG POSTS on this site. C’mon! I am asian even I get nauseating from your constant talk about asian pride and racism. EASE UP on those talks guys. Don’t get so touchy and work up about it!!

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  • February 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm
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    Thanks Jack, I had similar feelings, just was afraid to say it…

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  • February 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm
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    @David

    Follow up with more detail at ABC new, Asian/White couples have the highest median income than all kind of couples, lowest divorce rate among all interracial couples.
    ———————————–
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/interracial-marriage-us-hits-high-12-15660690?page=2

    Another analysis found divorce rates among mixed-race couples to be more dependent on the specific race combination, with white women who married outside their race more likely to divorce. Mixed marriages involving blacks and whites also were considered least stable, followed by Hispanic-white couples.

    Other findings:

    —White-Asian couples who married had the highest median income, nearly $71,000. Behind them were the following race combinations: Asian-Asian ($62,000), white-white ($60,000), white-Hispanic ($57,900), white-black ($53,187), black-black ($47,700) and Hispanic-Hispanic (nearly $36,000).

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  • February 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm
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    Jack and Barbara – Agree with you. They are very resourceful in general, but can be overboard from time to time.

    Pamela – Fu Qi Xiang can be translated loosely as “A couples looks like husband and wife”. Some people take it as a couples look alike. Hence the whole topic of discussion. Personally, I feel it means couples look like love one another.

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  • February 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm
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    aiyangxifu and David – I am curious what the word “median” means in the report, as average or as the “median” separates 50%? There is also no report on dispersion of incomes. So it can be misleading.

    The other days, I overheard a discussion on smart Chinese kids at school. The conclusion is the kids in China and kids in America on average are similar in term of smartness. The Chinese kids in America are smarter due to the selection process, as parents competed with large pool of talents to come to America. In other word, we are all humans and basically similar.

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  • February 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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    @cvaguy

    Median means value at 50th percentile, which represent the people in the middle better. Average does not represent middle value very well when you have extrem outlier which distorted the value big time. For example, couple like Woodyallen, or Murdoch can easily create a higher value than $71000 on average, but not represent asian/white couples in the middle.

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  • February 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm
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    @cvaguy

    Regarding IQ or smartness, so called conclusion without data is just a personal opinion. To form your own judgement, study scientific puplications with data.

    Like a famous German scientist said: “Without data, you are just a person with opinion.”

    Also truth is very stubborn, which can not be explained away, will present itself in different forms.

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  • February 17, 2012 at 7:56 am
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    Barbara,

    Don’t be afraid to say it when you don’t like something. We are all here for support and for you also. We have to support each other here. I have different views and other people have different views. We need more women and men just like you to say it out loud on what you don’t like.

    @Frank, it’s not call Asian Pride . It’s called informative information :). Pride is a very crucial word in everyday life. Without pride, I don’t think I want to work or even being a real man. Before, we have nothing online regarding asian , Chinese etc etc but now we have tons of stuff going on because of confident Chinese/Asian people like you and others out there. In America yrs ago, we didn’t have many Asian Communities or Associations to fight sterotypes or to monitor insensitive racial comments in the media. Now ,you have tons of Asian communities all across America to promote understanding of Asian cultures. If we don’t have PRIDE as people then let’s let all other people step over us or say any misleading, hurtful comments toward us. In this world, we need BALANCE AND UNDERSTANDINGS (It’s called LOVE) of everything. It’s good to have more comments out there so people can GOOGLE IT and get more knowledge. If you’ve noticed in the media, have you seen asian athletes or professionals making stupid racial comments? Next, I think I know how to comment 🙂 lol. I’m just going to write ” oh yeah oh yeah , duh , duh” . Anybody wants to see me to disappear for good?

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  • February 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm
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    @Frank. Nope not Asian pride…it is Mixed Race Pride. Two genes from opposite end of the spectrum combine to produce smart kids, whereas if you marry your first cousin, there is a high chance of producing handicapped kids. Long time ago, in a show called Unsolved mysteries, a couple had kids who were handicapped and died within two months…after it happened to three kids, there was an investigation. Finally, they found out they were biologically brothers and sisters, but were adopted out when they were one month old to totally different families and the adoption was closed. They met in college and got married. They both are smart but because they were actually biological siblings they produced handicapped and sick children who did not survive. Nothing to do with race…it is the reality. Farther apart the genes of your parents, the healthier and smarter you are. No, I am not mixed. So dont try calling me a racist.

    No Bruce, dont disappear for good.

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  • February 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm
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    David,

    I love you man!! *tickles*lmao :). You’re the only guy who cares for me :). more people want me to leave for good? 🙂

    Okay, all jokes aside here. Yes, your wife will wear your socks, sweat shirt for sure. She will crack jokes like yours and maybe copy your jokes too. In Chinese , we have a saying ” a match made in heaven ” When friends and acquaintances talk to me and my wife, they would say why you two look soo happy all the time. Looking younger every yr etc. I think I’m responsible for everything because I always believe in team work and I do make my wife and other very comfortible. You have to entertain others and everything will reflect what you put out. This is my secret of success!

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  • February 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm
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    Two years ago rough winter on the east coast..close to 77 inches of snow in DC. This year we have three inches with one more inch expected sunday. Everything averages out in the real world. As long as Pat Buchanan’s of the world push for racial purity Asian or white or otherwise, you need guys like me to push the opposite to balance the views.

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  • February 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm
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    @BRUCE
    In Chinese , we have a saying ” a match made in heaven ”
    ———————————————
    People do it all the time. Look at following link, social mobility is limited by assortive mating resulting regression to mean a very slow process. After 200 years, social class persists in the family. And recently, it starts diverging again due to globalized assortive mating.

    http://www.econ.yale.edu/seminars/echist/eh11/clark-111024.pdf

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  • February 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm
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    David and Bruce – In general, I enjoy your comments and the reference materials. I actually leaned a lot from that, given I am not a history loving type of guy.
    Through my own experience of climbing corporate ladder, I have leaned that sometimes the facts and materials do not bring in the weight as they should be simply because the presenter’s tone of voice makes listeners become defensive. It would be the same in blogging I think.
    I regard all of us here as a team. I am willing to play my part and do my share as a team member.

    aiyangxifu – The conclusion was the result of a discussion from a group of people that have various experiences. I don’t wish to list data due to privacy concern. The truth is that cream always floats on top no matter where ( in China or in America ). Of all the people that I know, they were top students in China and they are doing exceptionally well in US. I don’t deny it is a small sample set, but I think it is representative. If you really think average Chinese kids are smarter, then try to look at average Jewish kids. Thanks.

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  • February 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm
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    Delightful post; I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I must say, in looking at both of you in the photo you do look alike. Not in some technical “pick apart the physical attributes” way, however there is something that makes you both look similar. Maybe it’s a soul mate thing. 🙂 I am madly in love with a chinese man and I am determined to learn mandarin if it kills me. As for your family- it’s understandable if you’re looking at it from “their world”. But they are not the ones in love. Ignore it. Life is too short. If you found true love, you stick to it!

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  • February 19, 2012 at 11:13 am
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    @ cvaguy
    If you really think average Chinese kids are smarter, then try to look at average Jewish kids. Thanks

    —————————
    Again I know what I get from data. Thanks.

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  • February 21, 2012 at 8:00 am
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    More details on my previous post. It seems to me that classical economic theory does not make any sense…assumption that people maximize wealth…otherwise you will have a lot of Asian men and white women wanting to date and get married…however, despite the highest income levels of such couples, such pairings are rare. Most of it is probably due to what prominent economist Joseph Stiglitz calls imperfect information…at least in this regard the information was non-existent until Pew conducted the study….

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/interracial-couples-who-make-the-most-money/

    “New marriages with an Asian-American groom and a white bride earned the most money, with the median such couple bringing in $71,800 between the two of them. Note, though, that such pairings represent less than 1 percent of all newly married spouses of any racial combination, so the sample size is small.

    The converse of that group — new spouses in which the husband is white and the wife is Asian-American — earn almost as much, with a combined median income of $70,952. They are followed by newlyweds who are both Asian, who typically earn $62,000 in total.”

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  • May 17, 2012 at 4:18 am
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    I’ve read somewhere that people are attracted to others who look like themselves. Not so much eye or hair color, or ethnic/racial phenotypes but more about the overall symmetries of your face. But again, this is only some unfounded theory.

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  • June 12, 2016 at 3:41 am
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    Like it or not, i definitely see this 夫妻象 in the picture posted.

    similar nose, smile, same light in the eyes, and the same aura surrounding you. In this picture, you both managed to release the same kind of energy..

    You guys make me feel envious, lol. Dont ever give up what you shared at the moment this picture was taken 😉

    Reply

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