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  1. This week we are listening to five inspiring stories as Residents share how they celebrate the holidays in Second Life. Isabelle Cheren, a video artist and blogger, speaks highly of SL Residents’ adaptability to the current social isolation in the physical world. Given the depth of connections people can have with each other in the virtual world, she thinks people may be more inclined to give it a try. Having grown up in Australia, Cheren says the winter holiday spirit of SL “feels like those films I used to watch when I was a young girl because… we never had any of this, the snow, that Christmas tree, all those things.” She also has the advantage of living with her friend, prominent SL YouTuber Yorkie, so they certainly never run out of ideas for inworld adventures and activities. Squid and Timberwolf, a couple who met in SL this year, are proof that love can be found even in the darkest of times. Squid is a student in Derry, Northern Ireland, and Timberwolf lives in Central New York. They have been together for 6 months and getting a place together inworld has been a breeze. Squid says that SL has given them “a sort of proximity that we don’t have physically with each other,” which is so valuable in long distance relationships, especially now. Rosie Gray lives in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS), one of the oldest communities in SL. It comprises six interconnected sims of varying themes that are governed by one administration. Gray affirms that “snow is greatly anticipated” in the CDS: Residents happily engage with the technical aspects of changing the terrain textures to make way for skiing, ice skating, and the magic of winter. Their commitment truly pays off, with Gray adding, “you can absolutely feel presence here.” iSkye Silverweb and Slatan Dryke are another long distance couple in SL. With Silverweb in Wisconsin and Dryke in Italy, one look at their avatars shows that their bond is undeniable. They are Dinkies, which is a type of Tiny. Of their anthropomorphic feline figures, Silverweb says “they’re really cute, [with] round tummies,” and like many others, their favorite activity is ice skating. They are also both active in Virtual Ability, a community gateway for Residents with disabilities. Silverweb, who is deaf, says that “in SL there is the freedom of being able to express who you are in the choices you make with your avatar.” Game Wylder, Todd Squall, and Lain Southpaw from Club Furzona emphasize that the winter holidays in their region are all about uniting different people from different backgrounds. Furzona is a community-based, cyberpunk themed region with a constant rotation of events, music, and games. The large outdoor area has been transformed into a winter themed space, and Furzona welcomes all, not just furries. The concert at the end is by Fly Kugin, a violinist from Istanbul, Turkey. It takes place in her region, White Mask. We hope that you all have a safe and relaxing break for the winter holidays, and remember that each season has its ups and downs. Spring will be in the air before we know it, so for now, let’s enjoy our ugly sweaters and unleash our inner snow bunnies upon the gorgeous winter regions forged by the love and creativity of SL Residents. Video Productions Credits: Draxtor Despres
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