Last week, I told you about our move to Canada. Our arrival, however, is the culmination of a long and arduous journey, one that began years ago. I want to share this story with you to motivate you to fight for your dreams, like we did, and to encourage you to take that occasional leap of faith, even when it makes no logical sense to do so. But the story won’t come forth in a single post. Allow me the luxury of taking you on the journey over the next few posts, and I’ll try to share with you all our moments of anxiety, joy and excitement.
It all began about five years ago, after we had been married a few months. We had lived the DINK life in Delhi, commuted endless hours to and from work, tired ourselves out with the chaos of a metro city and figured that we certainly did not want more of the same for the rest of our lives.
But what options did we have? We wanted to move to a quieter life. In India, Udaipur or Coorg sounded perfect; cities that are less crowded, less polluted and less stressful. No such city offers job opportunities however. So we started looking outside India. Australia and Canada are two countries that have been welcoming skilled young workers. We thought Australia sounded nicer, especially on account of the weather there, but as luck would have it, that year Australia was not accepting applications. So Canada it was.
We signed up with a consulting agency. At that time the Express Entry was yet to be launched and the procedure to apply for immigration was tedious enough to warrant appointing an immigration consultant. A couple of months and much painful documentation work later, we sent in our applications. Then the waiting game began.
Months went by and nothing happened. We were losing patience with our work lives and with the silence from Canada. In the meanwhile, we got a job opportunity in Africa that offered money, comfort and an exit option. We took it.
Life changed favourably. I quit my corporate job, completed and published ‘In Search of Love‘, my debut novel, and started enjoying the flexibility of time I had. We settled into our new lives, had a great vacation in Morocco and started making new friends. And then, out of the blue, we received a letter that sent our lives and minds into a spin. Canada was offering us Permanent Residence. All we needed to do was land in the country to concretize our status.
A few months earlier, we would have been elated. There would have been no question in our minds but to book tickets and start our Canada adventure. But things had changed. We weren’t ready to throw away the lives we had carefully built and started to treasure. It didn’t seem right to quit a job one had just joined either. Moreover, our savings were not yet much to speak of and Africa was certainly offering us the opportunity to do something about that.
Despite the conflict in our minds, we certainly did not want to pass up the prospect of holding Permanent Residence status in Canada. Residency rules required us to spend two of out of the next five years within the borders of Canada to retain our Permanent Residence, so we had a while to make a final decision. Nevertheless, we did have to make at least one trip to complete the landing process and collect our PR cards.
So we decided to make a holiday out of it. After all, we were going to arrive in summer! If we were not transforming into immigrants yet, we could at least be tourists in Canada.
What followed was a holiday of a lifetime. Two weeks in sunny Toronto deserve to be described in a lot greater detail. So stay tuned, because I’ll be back next week to tell you all about our 2015 ‘immigration-vacation’, a time of much fun, laughter and exploration!
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.