Coming to Canada: My Immigration Story

Many people decide to come to Canada. But how many make that big move twice?

Coming to Canada - my immigration storyPhoto: Priyanka R. Mehandiratta

Not Your Typical “Coming to Canada” Story

My story is not your typical tale of coming to Canada. In fact, as I look back on it now, the whole experience seems extraordinary.

It feels like just yesterday that I landed here in Toronto on a spousal PR visa in the fall of 2004, with butterflies in my stomach and a glimmer of hope in my eyes to “make it big” here in Canada in my own way. (This immigrant’s inspiring story will make you believe in the Canadian dream.)

Twelve years down the line since arriving from India and counting, I am still proud to call Toronto my home away from home. This is the place where my loving husband Rajat and I were able to put a roof over our heads, where we had our child—our son Arjun—and where we made new friends. There was no looking back.

Or so I thought, because the story doesn’t end there.

Life is indeed full of surprises. There was a time, in the summer of 2011, when Rajat and I decided to move back home to India, to be closer to our respective families. We thought that it was time to assume our responsibilities towards our aging parents, give Arjun a childhood full of memories around his grandparents and cousins, and pass along values and a rich cultural heritage.

Once the decision was made, we wasted no time. We sold all of our prized possessions (for peanuts!) as if the world was ending tomorrow, packed our bags and said our final goodbyes to Toronto at Pearson International Airport.

After landing in Delhi, our birthplace, we experienced what you might call a honeymoon period, staying with my in-laws and enjoying a household full of maids, cooks and chauffeur-driven cars. (Should you have a chance to go yourself, these are the best things to do in Delhi.)

We were living the dream and then suddenly—boom—reality set in. We had our own bills to pay and expenses to meet; it was time to get on with our new life in India. (Check out these helpful hints for Canadians travelling to India for the first time.) After a determined search, my husband landed a job working for a well-known Indian software consulting company with an international clientele. Oftentimes life boils down to a matter of luck, or is it perhaps destiny?

As things turned out, Rajat’s new job was at a very senior management level, leading a large team of software and development professionals, and being the single point of contact for one of the company’s international banking clients. The client just so happened to be located in Canada‚—Toronto, to be precise. Almost as soon as he was hired, Rajat was on a plane to Toronto for his first client meeting.

Within ten months of having moved back to India, Rajat, Arjun and I were packing our bags to return to Toronto, due to the demands of my husband’s new job.

In August 2012, we touched down at Pearson with our suitcases in hands and a very funny feeling in our stomachs, finding it hard to believe that we were about to build a new life from scratch in Toronto, again.

Living in company-provided hotel accommodations for a month, we had 30 days to find a living space and get resettled as a family, which we did.

Fast-forward to the present: four years have passed since then, and we are back on our feet in our much-loved and twice-adopted hometown of Toronto. Indeed, life has come full circle for us.

Considering relocating to the Great White North yourself? Here’s what one recent immigrant wishes he’d known before moving to Canada.

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