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I never planned on moving to Canada. I would much rather have chosen a rustic old town in Europe- preferably Salzburg- and spent the rest of my life frequenting Farmers’ Markets and living off Frankfurters. In the interest of earning a living, however, that option was ruled out. For a long time I hadn’t considering moving out of India, even though my parents were quick to point out that life overseas had its merits. Over the years, their opinion fell on my otherwise deaf ears and I found myself seriously considering a switch in location. Sharing here, everything that unfolded.

Chapter 1: Backstory

I don’t remember why or when I made the decision to move. When I look back, I recall being young and restless in a country where I was working too many hours, earning too little to travel or to save, and wondering whether life would continue this way for years to come. I would spend hours stuck in traffic, in a rickety old car that needed a serious upgrade, listening to senseless banter on the radio. I would reach restaurants just in time for the last order, make it to 11 pm movies and regret it the next morning, curse on my way to work every day and sit at Starbucks every evening to avoid the intense traffic that hit Delhi between 5:00 and 9:30 pm. But the worst were the months of scrimping and saving in order to travel as much as possible- not just the money, but also the vacation days.

Business school was always part of the plan for me. As a major in English Literature, I knew that my chosen field- Marketing, was heading in a direction that required a solid understanding of data and analytics. I had also learnt through my work by then, that in order to fully understand the big picture, specially from a strategy POV, I needed to know the basics of business: subjects that I had never studied before.

So when I felt the time was right for me to move on from my role as Product Manager at a leading travel company, I found myself at a crossroad. For the longest time, my parents had tried to convince me to move to New Zealand. But I hadn’t considered it, because leaving home and moving away from my grandparents was unfathomable. Anyone who’s watched Lord of the Rings knows New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s also a place that feels like home to me because I’ve spent many months there on and off. It offers a slow and laidback life that I sometimes crave, but in the long term, I needed to live somewhere with a quicker pulse.

At the time I was considering studying for entrance exams, a friend was moving to Canada. Through our conversations, I began realizing how much easier it would be to get through a university here and also to move my family to Canada (all of whom enthusiastically agreed at the time and have gone back on their word quicker than ice cream melts on a stove). And so, the months drudged on, I left my job and started studying for the GMAT. During that time I felt more frustrated than ever, realizing how little we could do in Delhi, in the name of a “fun outing”- which was little more than eating out, watching a movie, meeting a couple friends. Instagram added fuel to the fire, showing me all the incredible fests around the world that I could be attending, incredible hikes to walk, picnics in the park and beachside strolls I could be taking. By the time I finally gave the GMAT exam, I was so ready to leave, I could’ve jumped on the first flight out.

I say this now, a year later and (I like to think) much wiser than I was back then- I don’t think we fully realize the price we pay when we uproot ourselves and move away from our families. But at the time, I couldn’t wait to move into the next phase of my life: an MBA in a new country, new friends, new adventures. So once my business school acceptances came through, I picked Schulich for its focus on Marketing and its location (40 min subway ride from Downtown).

Hey! If you’re following the story, please read this tiny note!

This article will be a looooong one, where I’m documenting my entire first year in Canada and all the adventures: the good and the bad, that I experienced during this time. This is less “informative” and for information on moving here and the logistics, I will create a couple more posts. But this one is dedicated to the emotion and the life changes that come with moving. I’ll keep updating this story, adding one part to it every week. l will also share updates to the story on my Instagram so that you’re aware when the next chapter is uploaded. If there’s anything else you would like to know, please drop a comment here or on Instagram. I’ll do my best to answer your questions! Also coming up, is a podcast series on Moving to Canada: for those who prefer to listen over reading πŸ™‚ If you find this story interesting and if you’re keen to follow it, please take a moment to subscribe to the newsletter so I can send you updates over email. There’s no spamming involved, ever!

Coming up next, is my chapter on “Leaving Home”

Nikita Butalia is a solo 20-something traveler who documents her experiences around India and the rest of the world in witty narratives and travel tales that are best read curling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate on a winter evening.

Comments:

  • Simran

    November 18, 2020

    Absolutely loved reading this especially as it’s so relatable and echoes similar experiences and emotions. Thanks for sharing !

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