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  • Writer's pictureSaiyam Wakchaure

Vancouver - MONTH 1

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

November 2018 is when we came to the conclusion that we should try for this opportunity and apply for Permanent Residency. That month we gave our IELTS, and here we are now in February of 2022.

It's the first time that I've moved abroad, unlike my wife, who did study for a year in the UK. It still doesn't feel like we've made it yet, and I'm sure it'll take a while to sink in. There were some obstacles along the way, one of them being something that affected millions of us. We were initially supposed to land in the first half of 2020, a few months after a mildly long-awaited wedding. The plan was to spend a few months in India meeting all our relatives, wrap up ongoing projects, plan multiple vacations with the newly formed family and land here when the city is at its most vibrant – summer.

Then Covid happened.

It was new for the whole world, it was scary for the entire world, the cases were spiralling, and so were the deaths; hence, the logical step was to stay back in India. Our parents are there, and so are all our relatives, and we were scared for them. It's fortune and blessings of the highest order that I can type the words - we survived that period.

Canada had taken a backseat for all of 2020 and the majority of 2021, but as things started opening up and getting back to normal, we wondered whether we would get a chance to start our life soon. We were 26 when we began our applications but were now approaching 30. We had work going on but could not commit to anything long term since we were constantly in the unknown about our future. However, there were people we came across in forums who didn't have anything going for them. They had left their jobs, pulled their kids from schools, and even sold their house, only to be stranded back home.

I don't know if you all feel the same way, but when I'm exploring a city, it's the walks that I take that remain etched in my memory. Walking the lanes, seeing the houses, getting a feel of the roads, breathing fresh air (which is also a privilege these days), making eye contact with fellow pedestrians and greeting them with a smile and a nod, but praying that words don't need to be uttered, are just some of the things I end up doing everywhere I go and yet every city reacts to this in its unique way.

Coming from a city where accessibility regarding labour isn't an issue and appointments are almost always instant, it took some getting used to in this city. We needed a new bank account, but getting an appointment through the phone was not working out. So we went to the bank the next day and got one for a later date.

It even took us one week to get an internet connection when we applied for one.

If it sounds like annoyance, it definitely isn't. The city was doing an excellent job telling me to slow down and enjoy the little things. We have come here because we have gotten the opportunity. Yes, it's true that when you are presented with something as great as this, you'd want to waste no time figuring things out and sorting yourself so that you maximise it, but it's okay to take a couple of days to allow yourself to sink in the moment. The moment that you have worked towards for the last few years.

I have also applied for a few jobs. In fact, I began that process a couple of weeks before we moved here. I had done the research and prepared a database a few months ago, but I didn't want to apply from India since the start dates are usually within a month, and if I got selected, I wouldn't have been ready for it with the first time moving. I get that plenty would prefer it the other way, but my anxiety wouldn't let me do multiple things at once.

It was also my birthday month. I've never been one to celebrate, and growing up; I didn't like the attention. There were a few years when I wished we could skip this day altogether. It's a lot better now, thanks to my wife. We weren't married this time in 2019. It happened later that year because she set in motion a chain of events that led to us proposing to each other at the same time on my birthday, and neither of us had a clue that the other was planning for this, which in turn meant neither of us expected the other to be ready for marriage. Still, it turns out that it became the best birthday ever, as I graduated to being a fiance, and I got a reason to celebrate that date.

In the ensuing months, I read a lot about the city and its views. I saw numerous images of Stanley Park against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains with a beach in the foreground. Eventually, it became a goal to visit that place to get the same perspective physically. Our first stop was Stanley Park.

It's beauuuuuuuutiful!!!!

This may be a common occurrence in many cities, but I had never experienced sights like these when I grew up, so I instantly became a kid in this environment. It's a huuuuge park bordered by a seawall and filled with lakes and tall cedars and firs. The vibe was just what we wanted, people just enjoying themselves, cute dogs playing with the geese, and everyone just admiring and respecting the nature around them. So naturally, we did a photo shoot to get a touristy feel and also because it was one of those days when I thought I looked okay. My wife, though, looked how she always does, the most gorgeous woman on this planet.

Here's the proof.

We continued walking and kept seeing more beauty along the way until we finally reached the spot. The spot that we've been dreaming of for the last couple of years. There's a nice restaurant called Cactus Club located there as well. We later learnt that there are franchises all across the city. We sat outdoors even though it was a bit cloudy and windy, ordered the engagement anniversary lunch and just stared at the view till the food eventually got cold.

I get that the photo might not do justice to the feelings and the description, but it happened. It finally happened!!!

We made it physically, now we've just got to make sure that we really really make it!!!

After we stared at the sights for an hour, we stared at each other for a bit. We just spoke with our eyes. The absence of words couldn't stop us from feeling what we were at that moment.

For now, the house hunt continues, and we are hell-bent on living in an area that is a five-minute walk from this view.

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