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A Safe Place: Ambika’ Story

I moved to Canada from India for the first time in 2006. Before that, my husband and I were living out our rather ordinary lives. I was a regular stay-at-home mom. My husband had a well-paying job. Neither of us thought much about the future. One day, however, we got a letter from the Canadian High Commission inviting us for an interview to confirm our family PR application.

My husband never told me he had applied for a Canadian PR. He says he never took it seriously and never expected to hear back from them. We went to the interview, not expecting much. The interviewer's only question was, "What are your responsibilities as a lawyer?" We took our sweet time to answer it; ultimately, she was impressed. The next thing she said was, "Congratulations." Her response was not one we anticipated. We weren't sure how to react. My husband was determined to never leave his home and profession to live like a second-class citizen in Canada. I thought that we should utilize this opportunity. We eventually decided to visit Canada once and then make a decision. We arrived here in December 2006. We lived with our extended families during our visit and observed their lifestyles. My husband chose to leave. I decided to live here for at least 4 years so that we could get our citizenship and our kids could have the privilege of being Canadian. If they wanted to come here in the future, they could.

My husband and I led separate lives for 4 years. He was in India, and I was here, but we visited each other often. During my time here, I lived with my extended family and cousins. That way, I saved a lot on rent and groceries. I worked part-time as a legal assistant, but the Canadian child tax benefits covered most of our expenses. We had our second child in Canada. During this time, my husband got well-established in India. 4 years later, my elder daughter and I were granted Canadian citizenship. I moved back to India with my daughters and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. Fast forward to 2020, my elder daughter has to go to college soon, and we think she should complete her last two years of high school in Canada.

My husband and I are not on the best terms, and our relationship has greatly deteriorated over the years due to several personal and professional reasons. We decided to part ways and are now separated (not divorced). For the past 3 years, I have lived here with my elder daughter while my younger daughter has remained in India with her Dad. I work as a legal assistant, and my daughter goes to university while working part-time.

Canada has always meant hope. Hope for a better life, a better future, and an escape. My life would have been so different if I had never gotten that letter. I am extremely grateful for everything that this country has given me. Canada rightfully shines as a beacon of hope for immigrants worldwide. Its inclusive policies, diverse society, and strong economy create an inviting atmosphere for those seeking a fresh start. The Canadian government's commitment to family reunification, refugees, and skilled workers fosters a sense of belonging. Embracing multiculturalism, Canada celebrates differences, enriching its social fabric. Its high-quality healthcare, education, and social services ensure a promising future for newcomers. The nation's stunning landscapes and safe communities add to its allure.

Please note that certain facts have been altered for anonymity

This story is a collaborative effort between Garima Chahal and Ambika Kumar

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