http://www.blueskydreamers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/export_720_30_9_82.movI’m sitting by the big window writing this as I watch flurries cover the ground outside inch by inch in white. It’s been little over two months since we saw snow fall for the first time in our lives. I think we were still jet-lagged that evening when, waiting at the bus stop, we stretched out our hands to feel the magic of snow on our fingers. It felt like a dream.
To be honest, this entire move still feels like a dream. Why, we hadn’t even dreamed of creating a life in a country we hadn’t even visited ever before. And such a risk is quite contrary my play-it-safe instinct. Okay, I have taken quite a few risks before but even for me this move was unlikely with a newborn in my arms.
We were, in fact, busy planning life for our little one in Delhi, the city where both of us grew up. Like any new parents, we were already thinking of how we want her childhood to be, good schools nearby, and what have you.
But things took a dramatic turn when our little one, barely three months old, caught pneumonia. What we thought to be normal cough turned out to be an ailment that required our sweetheart to undergo x-rays and several blood tests. The doctor informed us it was because of the air quality in the city. She had to be given medicines through nebulizer and otherwise through the day and night. [Our story was covered by Voice of America earlier this month].
It was roughly this time around that Abhinav happened to watch a documentary called Bowling for Columbine. It’s a 2002 political documentary about the circumstances that lead to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. More importantly it talks about the gun violence and the high homicide rate in America. He compares it to Canada, which is far more peaceful even though it has similar gun laws. It presents the land of maple leaf is a veritably positive light so much so that it has received criticism in being unduly biased. The media is Canada itself said the view was rather utopian and exaggerated.
However, for us, the seeds for the idea of Canada as home were sown while watching this documentary. We started researching about life in Canada, job prospects, education, etc.
A lot of research later, we found the following factors compelling enough to move to Canada:
Canada has been ranked third best on the World Health Organization’s air quality index. (Estonia ranks first followed by Mauritius). India has the worst level of air pollution according to the list. The figures have become all the more significant to us after becoming parents. Not wanting to raise our baby in toxic air was the primary reason we decided to move.
The healthcare system in Canada is the other thing that impressed us about the country. Medical care is free for everyone; it covers almost everything except prescription drugs, glasses, and dental care.
One factor that I was already thinking about when I was pregnant was schooling in India. Seeing my friends and sister struggle with getting admissions in the school of their choice for their kids, it was natural for us to be thinking about it. I heard stories of parents applying to as many as 22 schools, taking umpteen tests and interviews, and still not getting admission anywhere. Such struggle is unknown to families in Canada. Education is overseen by the federal government, so the standard of education remains high throughout the country.
Convinced about the country, we then looked for ways to move to Canada (finding jobs here). It was then when we came to know about the Express Entry program for immigration. [More about this in the subsequent post]. We checked our eligibility and were happy to see that we qualified.
Finding a job from India seemed impossible. I did not get response from any of the companies I wrote to. Yet we thought of going ahead and taking the risk.
We decided on hiring a consultant to submit our file, not wanting to take any chances for errors. Preparing for IELTS and getting all the paperwork in place took a lot of time and energy. Our parents were our biggest strength during this time as they encouraged us a lot, and took care of our little one while we got everything together. It took us nearly a year to get the much awaited e-visa.
It wasn’t easy… Leaving our hometown, the homes where we grew up, our comfort zones, and more importantly our universe – our families. It aches our hearts to be away from everything familiar. Plus, it’s difficult to take care of the baby without the luxuries we had in India. Although we do a video chat with our parents every day, it’s not the same as being with them.
But it’s a decision we had to take as parents. We had to move out of our comfort zone. Of course, there are and will be a great number of challenges on this journey. It’s a risk we’re willing to take!