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Community Stories – Meiling

Community Stories: Life During COVID-19

Here is GPL staff member and high school student Meiling’s story:

As a young girl, my parents cultivated my love for reading by not only reading out loud to me each night, but also taking me to the library each Saturday. I vividly remember racing around the children’s department eagerly picking out books, only to beg my parents to take me back in the early days of the week because I had already finished all of the ones I had chosen on Saturday. This love for new knowledge and reading has stuck with me since my childhood, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been employed by the library for a little over a year now. As a rising senior at Goshen High School, I’m excited to continue my journey of nurturing my love to read and discover new books.

At the beginning of March, all anyone could talk about was the possibility of school closing. We all, myself included, were looking forward to spring break being extended. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that March 13 would be the last time I saw a lot of my friends and teachers. It has been especially bittersweet to say goodbye to my senior friends as they move on to bigger and brighter things. Although school ended up closing for good, I still had my job to give me a sense of purpose. It allowed me to get out of the house, if only for a couple of hours. (Don’t get me wrong, my family is great, but going from seeing them only in the evening, to spending the entire day with them was a bit of a culture shock.) To say the library closing affected me is a slight understatement.

In just a few short weeks, the majority of my life had been uprooted. I’m a creature of habit, so it’s taken a while to adjust to this new pace of life. Baking has become my saving grace, though. One of my good friends and I started doing a baking exchange each Sunday. The intentional practice of going into the kitchen on Saturday to whip up a new baked good has been incredibly grounding. It’s given me a sense of normality, that everything will be okay. It’s so easy to become anxious and worried about the future and its unknowns.

In reflecting what the past three months have brought me, I’ve realized that I enjoy this new pace of life. It’s been refreshing not to be stressed about school and life in general. Before the quarantine and stay at home order, my family was going at what felt like a million miles an hour in 100 different directions. We are all very involved in the community and school activities, so when it all stopped, we did too. At first it was extremely disconcerting. I felt a bit lost, like I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so used to going at breakneck speed, but now, I’m almost dreading the start of the school year again and going at that same pace of life.

As for the future, I hope to start my senior year in an actual school building. Zoom calls and facetimes with teachers and friends have become tiresome. I’m now back at the library working to shelve all of the materials returned from the curbside services. Watching all of the departments working together has deepened my appreciation for what this library does for our community. I look forward to what life brings me in the fall, but I hope to maintain some of the intentionality I’ve developed during these past months. If you see me working, come say hi or even ask for a book recommendation! I love meeting people who love books as much as I do.

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