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Community Stories – Radharani

Community Stories: Life During COVID-19

Here is Goshen law firm assistant Radharani Buenrostro-Johnson’s story:

When I was young, reading was my passion. At three years old, I was reading with my aunt in Mexico, absorbing all I could, and asking for more stories. A few years later, at seven years old, I moved to this country and had to learn a new language quickly, in order to adapt to my new reality. It took my young mind only a year to learn English, and by the time I was in fifth grade, I was an elementary school spelling bee champion. This was possible because as soon as I was able to, I picked up books and just started reading and really understanding my new language. My favorite activity was the Book It! program sponsored by Pizza Hut. I would zoom through books, not only to get my free pizza coupon, but because I loved being immersed in the stories so much that I could not stop. I loved visiting the library and seeing the endless possibilities of books to read. My parents often found me in my room reading with a flashlight, long after I was supposed to be asleep. Growing up, my favorite genre was mystery and horror. I loved reading Goosebumps, and eventually I moved on to Stephen King books. To this day, Mr. King is still my favorite author.

Although I still love to read, I don’t have as much time anymore to read for fun. I work full-time at Merino Law Firm in Goshen, and I am working on obtaining my bachelor’s degree in business through Purdue University Global online, which takes up most of my free time. I also recently got married, which was quite the experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our wedding was scheduled for April 18, and we had a guest list of around 300 people. Unfortunately, the circumstances forced us to completely cut out our reception, and for a while, we were not sure that we’d be able to get married. Luckily, our priest at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church here in Goshen was able to perform the ceremony with 10 people in the church, as was the restriction at that time. Although our wedding was much different than what we had planned, my husband Matt and I were so touched by the love and support we received. We were able to broadcast our ceremony through Facebook live for our friends and family, and our wedding pictures were taken in Goshen. Although we now live in Elkhart, Goshen is still home for me. My parents and brother still live here, and my husband and I both work in downtown Goshen.

Life during COVID-19 has been strange and new. Everyone has been impacted in different ways, some worse than others. The biggest impact in my life was how the virus affected my wedding. However, I know that I have been incredibly lucky to have my health, and that my immediate family has been safe and healthy, too. At work, we have seen things slow down due to the courts having to reschedule hearings and find new ways to adapt. I have seen my friends who are parents struggle and come out victorious with their kids during e-learning. I know that the library has been a huge source of help for many of them. Moving forward, I cannot predict if or how things will ever go back to “normal”. If this pandemic has taught me anything, I think it is that we are always a moment away from major change and learning to adapt is crucial. I miss going out, seeing and hugging people, and just the overall feeling of not worrying about getting sick from a simple salutation or show of affection. There are other ways to show we care for each other, and it is so important that we continue giving love and support to everyone during this time. We will get through this.

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