I moved from India to Alberta to live the multi-gen lifestyle – Macleans.ca

“My family bought a house in Edmonton where we could all live together”

An illustration of a young dark-haired woman.  Behind her are illustrations of two men and an older woman.

(Illustration by Adrian Hogan)

Living in Canada was my older brother Kash’s dream, not mine. We grew up in Delhi, India, and when Kash was in high school, he heard about people moving to Canada to attend university. He dreamed of going out alone. He did all the research himself, studying for the English proficiency test and figuring out where to apply to school (he landed in business administration at George Brown College in Toronto).

I was 16 when Kash went to Canada. While he was building his life in Toronto, we lost touch for a few years. I was busy too. I completed my studies in communication and journalism from a university in Delhi, did post-graduation in Mumbai and then got a job there. I stayed in Mumbai, away from my family, for four and a half years. It was unusual for people my age to move before getting married, but my family supported me along the way.

In 2018, Kash was living in Edmonton. My parents visited him and realized how much they missed his daughter. They began to consider moving to Canada. They thought it was time for our family to be together again and wanted me to join them. But he had no interest in emigrating. I had just started my dream job in Mumbai at an international PR agency. I enjoyed being independent. I had heard about some friends from university who had moved to Canada and had had a hard time finding work in their fields. I didn’t want to start over.

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Then COVID came. When the world shut down, I returned to Delhi to live with my parents. It felt great to be home and every day I saw the happiness on their faces. Multigenerational living is the norm in India; It’s like having a built-in support system. COVID made me realize that nothing comes before family. At the end of 2020, I told my parents I was ready to move to Canada.

Thanks to my work experience, I was able to obtain permanent residency in Canada in March 2022. It would take longer for my parents, who needed my brother to sponsor them. I booked my flight for May of that year and my parents were planning to join us a month later on an extended tourist visa. When it was finally time to emigrate, our family bought a house with enough space for all of us to live together.

My flight arrived in Calgary and Kash drove from Edmonton to pick me up. We hadn’t seen each other in over a decade. “My God,” he said. “You’ve grown a lot!” He took me around Banff to see the beautiful mountains. In Edmonton, I noticed how clean and tidy the roads were. No one was honking, which surprised me as it is a normal part of life in India. It was so peaceful and quiet. Kash had stocked the house with everything we needed: furniture, kitchen utensils, gadgets, and snacks. Kash, who runs several businesses, managed our household funds, with contributions from me and my parents.

When my mom and dad joined us in June, we had to go through an adjustment phase. Our habits initially clashed. Kash and I blasted music and drove late into the night, leaving our mother wondering when we would return. Little by little we discovered things and adopted a routine. Kash spent most of his days in the office; He touched my parents’ feet to ask for blessings every day before going to work. I stayed home for the first few months, frantically applying for jobs. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. I had no luck finding a job in my field and applied for any entry-level job I could find, eventually landing a job as an accountant. Then, in the summer of 2023, I landed my dream job as an account manager at Edelman Canada. I was supposed to be based in the Toronto office, but after the company found out I had reunited with my family, they allowed me to join the Calgary team and work from home.

It took me some time to adjust to my new life in Canada, but now I can’t imagine living away from my family. It’s so good to be reunited. During our free time, we make popcorn, watch Bollywood movies, and play Indian board games. In October, my parents and I traveled to the United Kingdom. Towards the end of the trip, I FaceTimed Kash and told him how much I missed Canada and couldn’t wait to get home. He had tears in his eyes. “I’m very happy that they consider Canada their home,” he said.

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