"Don’t look with rose-coloured specs and compare what you had “back home” with your new life as this would be to ignore why you moved in the first place!"
Tirithdas “Mohan” Bhojwani is a retired civil servant
Vimla “Rani” Bhojwani calls herself the ‘professional nani’
Their daughter Usha Purewal is a Human Resources Manager
In 2017, Tirithdas Bhojwani, fondly known as Mohan, moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife, Vimla (Rani to loved ones), from London, United Kingdom. “Our daughter, our only child, Usha emigrated to Canada with her husband and young kids in July 2005 and asked us to join them,” shares Tirithdas who made a few trips to Canada with Vimla to visit their daughter.
The couple were always impressed with Canada and Canadian people but felt that being older and having an established circle of friends and many family members in the U.K. would make it hard to settle here. “We liked the wide open spaces, larger houses and the fact that our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren seemed less stressed than their contemporaries in the U.K.,” says Tirithdas, a retired civil servant. After much deliberation, they actually moved in July 2017. “I missed seeing my only grandchildren growing up and when we finally emigrated I feel that my life is complete and happy,” says Vimla.
Having visited Canada a couple of times before settling down in the country, the Bhojwanis did not take long to get accustomed to the surroundings. “My wife and I had been visiting Canada for about three months every summer since 2005 so by the time we actually emigrated in 2017 we had “lived” in Canada for about three years!” Tirithdas explains.
From their first trip they made friends at a local Hindu temple in Surrey and with each subsequent visit they would reacquaint themselves with their Canadian circle of friends. “We were lucky as we were able to expand our circle friends and they were prepared to add us to their social events. My wife and I are now volunteers with various groups and help with events mostly with regards to my violin playing and singing of devotional songs,” adds Tirithdas. Vimla on the other hand states that she enjoyed living in Canada right from the beginning. “I was used to Canada from day one! I love the wide open spaces, the peaceful nature of Canadians and the opportunity to avoid the stress of the hectic pace of London.”
The elderly couple is grateful to be living with their family. Tirithdas appreciates the friends he has made and has also recently started a small musical ensemble that meets on a regular basis to play classical Hindi music and sing together. “I play the violin and bagpipes which I have done for over 50 years. We also host pot luck dinners with our friends and we both took up positions with the BC Shindi Society which holds events to retain the language and culture for future generations,” says Tirithdas happily.
Tirithdas points out that one of the biggest challenges to moving over as an older person is the fact that “your circle of friends and family “back home” may get sick or pass away and you are so far away.” The couple misses London and the historical outskirts and the countryside. “We miss our senior citizens groups where I led many functions and musical events. I also taught Hindi and Gujarati classes at the local Mandhir with many of the students sitting and passing their actual exams with me,” mentions Tirithdas.
In conclusion, Vimla believes that as long as she and Tirithdas have moderately good health, “we can spend more happy years with our family and friends in Canada.”
Advice for immigrants:
Make sure you come over to visit the country a few times before you make the move permanently as you want to make sure that you gel with the new culture.
Be aware of the fact that you’re new to the country so you will probably have to make the first move with forming new friendships.
Don’t look with rose-coloured specs and compare what you had “back home” with your new life as this would be to ignore why you moved in the first place!
Keep an open mind about your new life because it’s not always the same as the life you’ve left behind.
Appreciate that this great country has many different people so try to integrate with as many different people as you can and truly enjoy all that Canada has to offer.