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Overseas Vietnamese: Unprecedented feelings for Christmas during Covid-19

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

December 24, 2020 | 14:15

For many Vietnamese who are working and living abroad, Christmas is the most meaningful holiday of the year. However, in the current situation of COVID-19, all party-like activities have to be halted, leaving a special feeling in everyone's heart.

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This year, Nguyen Minh Thinh will be welcoming his 4th Christmas in Germany.

"Neither Christmas nor Tet in Germany!"

Answering questions from Vietnamtimes reporters, Nguyen Minh Thinh (Restaurant staff in Hannover, Germany) confided that Christmas in Germany this year was completely quiet due to the city blockade.

Christmas in Europe normally starts in November, with a lot of commercial, cultural, and entertaining activities. Thinh used to spend a few days to visit his relatives and join them in the festive celebrations. However, this year's atmosphere is bleak due to the influence of COVID-19.

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Besides the feelings of homesickness during the Tet holidays, amid the pandemic situation, Minh Thinh has other worries about his income.

“In this kind of pandemic, the street is blocked, so people could not gather. The streets of Hannover are blocked from November to January 10 next year. This year in Germany there is neither Christmas nor Tet! The market is still open, furniture is still for sale, but there will be no Christmas market. The government also forbids gathering, so this year's holiday season is very boring,” said Thinh sadly.

Besides the feelings of homesickness during the Tet holidays, amid the pandemic situation, Minh Thinh has other worries about his income. “The COVID-19 pandemic caused our restaurant to close. There is no income but we still have to pay the rent and insurance. Normally, when I go to work, my monthly income is 800 - 900 euros, which is enough to pay for a life of 500 euros, and save 300 euros - 400 euros to buy flight tickets to visit Vietnam”, he shared with a worried voice.

Like many other Vietnamese overseas, the young man wished that when entering the new year, the pandemic would quickly pass so that he could return to work and meet his colleagues again.

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Although this is everyone's vacation, it is one of her busiest seasons of the year, so it doesn't seem to be a vacation for her. Ms. Zamy still works normally due to the nature of the commercial industry.

"Never spent Christmas alone"

Contrary to Minh Thinh's desolated feelings, the joy of Christmas seems to be coming to Zamy Hoang, a Marketing Executive in Sydney, Australia. According to Zamy Hoang, although this is everyone's vacation, it is one of her busiest seasons of the year, so it doesn't seem to be a vacation for her. Ms. Zamy still works normally due to the nature of the commercial industry.

The past year seems to be a blue year for the whole world, and the pandemic has brought many difficulties and obstacles. However, it was a lucky year for Zamy. She got a new job, had more new opportunities, and also fulfilled some of her own plans in work and in life. “Next year there will be more things to worry about and for sure it will also be more difficult. I already have a long-term plan for my work and life. I just hope to have enough luck so that everything will be favorable”, Ms. Zamy Hoang shared.

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She said she never feels lonely in the season of Christmas.

According to Ms. Zamy, before Christmas, the pandemic situation in Australia seems to show positive signs, and state borders have been allowed to open again. However, in recent days, the situation gets worse. All of her plans to go out, eat out, and party are mostly canceled. Almost everyone has to gather for a home celebration.

Christmas falls in summer in Australia, therefore, it feels less lonely and cold. On this occasion, all the streets and malls are decorated in a way that makes Zamy more excited. “For me, Christmas in Australia brings the feeling of Tet holidays while I was in Vietnam. I always have my friends, whom I love, by my side and welcome this ceremony with me,” said Zamy Hoang.

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Valerie Mai