By Katie Burkholder (Alumni ’07,’08), Chambersburg, Pa.
In spite of Covid-19, I began a relationship that led to marriage! With my permission, a mutual friend gave my now husband, Matt, my contact information. Matt contacted me, and we met at a coffee shop in the fall. COVID did not stop us from maintaining a relatively normal life. We lived two hours apart but maintained contact via the phone, and WhatsApp. Matt is a farmer and was also building an addition onto his farm house, so much of our dating relationship was going to hardware stores, making farm trips to cattle auctions, or running other farm errands. We were also able to have some ordinary dates like ice-skating, going to Longwood Gardens, and attending family gatherings.
Before getting married I was employed full-time at a daycare but when the pandemic started, the daycare shut down. I was a single homeowner at the time and needed stable income. During this time, my weekend job needed some full-time help during the week, so I temporarily went full-time as a direct care assistant. Becoming full-time when the world shut down was a blessing. I was able to connect and interact with the eight intellectually disabled adults that I was a caregiver for. The residents go to work, but due to the pandemic, they were home all the time. Many of their social activities were cancelled but we were able to maintain a normal routine by taking walks, putting puzzles together, and taking drives. Eating meals with them, attending church with them online and participating in their normal life provided a normal routine for me as I was unable to go out to eat with my friends and interact with those at my church.
Another COVID inconvenience was a delayed graduation. I had taken online classes through Liberty University and was set to graduate in May, but grad was pushed off to July and eventually rescheduled for September. I chose not to attend as I’d already moved on from my college degree completion and did not want to revisit just for graduation.