My Very COVID Holidays in the US (Or Why I’m Not a ‘Grinch’ This Year)

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December is finally here and I’m actually looking forward to Christmas which contradicts how I generally feel about Christmas. For someone who is a “grinch”, I am actually looking forward to this holiday season. It’s been four years since I celebrated with my family and I am looking forward to having Christmas with my parents and sister. However…due to the current circumstances, my immediate family has to wait to celebrate Christmas with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece.

COVID is still rampant outside of China. It has affected everyone, including my family and friends. Last month will be the most unforgettable not-so-great memory of 2020. Early in November, I was celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday. On his birthday, he came over with his dog and we went for a walk with our dogs. Then later he joined my sister and me to go pick up my first car, followed by us (minus my sister) going downtown to have dinner with my best friend. Flash forward a few days later. On Friday, my sister texted me saying she wasn’t feeling well. She went to the hospital to get tested for COVID. I managed to convince my boss to allow me to work from home (as I was the only one in the office anyway) and headed home to begin to take care of my sister. My parents were in Chicago at this time taking care of my maternal grandpa while my step-grandma was in the hospital.

Thui (left) and Aubrey (right)


My sister’s symptoms were starting to get worse each day. She couldn’t keep food or much water down. It was becoming very concerning and didn’t know the best way to help her. Then, that following Tuesday, her results came back positive for COVID. I got tested that Tuesday morning and went back home to remain in the basement with her. I began panicking. I told my boyfriend that my sister has it and he immediately scheduled an appointment to get tested. Negative thoughts overcame me. “What if I have the virus and I gave it to my boyfriend and also my best friend?” I was unbelievably upset and started regretting not staying in China. Then, things got worse that Tuesday, besides my sister’s positive results. My step-grandmother (my mom’s step-mom), passed away that night.

Flash forward a few days later, I got my results and they came back negative! How was this possible?! My sister and I share the same living space. We share the basement together. We share the bathroom together. I really couldn’t fathom that my test was negative.

The only positive thing I can think of from this past month is that I grew closer with my family and also with my boyfriend. I took care of my sister, drove her to the hospital several times and picked her up at 3:00 am in the morning. I know that she would do the same thing for me a thousand times over.

As for my boyfriend and I, I learned how to be patient this past month. Even though we haven’t seen each other for nearly a month, I believe we have gotten closer because of this past month’s experience. In the past, I struggled with being patient regarding our relationship and wanted to try rushing things. The time apart is proving substantial in waiting. But, it seems that all I do is wait, however, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind waiting a little while longer even if that means I want a good long-lasting relationship. As I previously written, “romantic relationships do not happen overnight“, I begin to think on that about us, that him and I have time to grow together and I must cherish this simple time together.



Holly Hollins
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One comment

  1. This sounds oh-so-familiar! I live in Hong Kong but spent 5 months in the US this year when my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I managed to arrive just as COVID went haywire in the US, so I was the cook and shopping health buffer zone for my 95-yr-old mother and my sister in chemo. Nevermind that I am 68 myself! Meanwhile, my husband underwent surgery for arterial blockages in Hong Kong. I managed to get back to HK on the last day before the entry restrictions changed, so I didn’t have to be tested in the US (no place to do that in a timely way where I was) and I could quarantine at home. What a crazy year! Like you, my payoff for getting stuck in the US was quality time and a chance to be closer with my family after living far away.

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