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Advice For Getting Through The Holidays When You're Far From Family

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So this holiday season is going to feel so different for many of you, especially if you're used to being with family but can't do that this year. It is worth remembering that experience is a way of life for many people.

BRUNA SOLLOD: I have not been able to go to Brazil for over 20 years.

GREENE: That is Bruna Sollod. She came to the United States with her parents when she was 8.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Her grandparents sometimes visit her here. But there's a Brazilian New Year's tradition that she really wants to celebrate with them again.

SOLLOD: There is this tradition of jumping seven waves. You jump each wave. And you make a wish for the new year. I think about holding my grandfather's hand and my grandma's hand and all of us sort of walking towards the shore.

KING: We asked Bruna and other people in similar situations to talk about their experience of spending the holidays apart from the people they care about the most.

SOLLOD: In a post-COVID world, when we are all able to see each other again in the U.S., really, like, don't take that for granted.

GREENE: Alejandro Gonzalez and her cousin Edder were inseparable growing up.

ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ: We went to school together. We were in the same grade together. They just kind of knew that we were a packaged deal.

GREENE: Edder was deported in 2017. And Gonzalez hasn't seen him in three years.

GONZALEZ: You have to let yourself dream and feel every emotion in order to just live through it.

KING: And Monica Sibri remembers when her parents left her and her younger sisters in Ecuador to come work in the United States. When she was 13, she cooked Christmas dinner for her sisters. And they set a place for her parents, who joined them from an outdoor payphone in the snow.

MONICA SIBRI: I am now conscious of what it was for her to make it work so that my sisters and I could have 30 minutes of a family dinner.

GREENE: Sibri, who is now in the U.S., says it is important to acknowledge what you're going through.

SIBRI: Cry it all out. This is painful. But use this time to honor your pain.

GREENE: She says the distance is nothing compared to the love of her family and the hope of a new year.

(SOUNDBITE OF THRUPENCE'S "REVERENCE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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