Varun Chugh never thought of settling abroad, but on the behest of one of his friends, he ended up applying for Canadian immigration in 2011.
"One day a friend said 'lets apply for Canadian immigration. As the process takes about two to three years, if at that time we will be interested, we will move, otherwise leave it.' So just as an adventure, I thought of applying. I started collecting all the papers and submitted my file in December 2011, got an interview call in May 2012 and got my visa in June. At that time, I thought that if everything is happening so fast, there might be something good for me in it, so decided to move and landed [in Canada] on August 13, 2012," explains Varun.
Upon their arrival, Varun along with his wife Amandeep and daughter Saachi, stayed with friends - and within a week, Varun secured a job with Mako Furniture where he worked for a short period before securing a job as a sales representative for a plumbing and lighting store called Save More Plumbing, where he is still employed.
When asked about his first impressions of Canada, Varun, who ran his own business along with his brother back in India, admits that it initially took him some time to adjust to the Canadian lifestyle.
"My first experience was very strange. Moving to a place like Surrey after living whole life in a metro like Delhi, I felt that life has become [slow]. Delhi is 24/7 moving, and here, after 9, 10 pm it all becomes so quiet and sleepy. But now after living here for two years, I feel that people have to sleep early as life starts early here. Initially, I found so much difference in language that I didn't even understand the meaning of some [Punjabi] words, although I belong to a Punjabi family. I can read and write Punjabi, but the Punjabi spoken here is very different from Punjabi in Delhi," says Varun.
Sharing her first impressions of Canada, Amandeep, who was born and brought up in Amritsar, Punjab mentions that she found everything to be clean, well maintained and systematic.
Varun adds that he likes the country's friendly, safe and multicultural atmosphere. "[Canada is]naturally so beautiful and the people are so nice… if you are walking down the road and some stranger passes you, even they smile at you and greet you…It is a great place for kids to grow as they grow in such a multicultural place."
Varun: After being self employed for more then 12 years and then working under someone, preparing myself mentally for that thing was the biggest obstacle.
Amandeep: I had always lived in a joint family, and being younger in the family [I] never had to take so many responsibilities. But when moved here I had to act responsible. Initially I was scared if I can handle my family and am I capable of this as I was also pregnant at that time with our second daughter. But later I got confident that I can do it . Otherwise, by the grace of Almighty, I didn't find any obstacles.
Varun: I don't make resolutions; just have decided to live my life everyday to the most and to give my best to my family. Money is important in life but it's not everything, I want to earn money but not at the expense of my family life.
Amandeep: I haven't made any resolutions but decided that as my both daughters would start formal schooling, I would start doing some job and I want to enjoy my life with my family to the fullest. We are here for the better future of our kids, and for that I would invest my time on them with other required things.
Varun: In the end I would like to say something to already settled immigrants here and that is to please help the new immigrants. They don't need support in monetary terms, that they can make ends meet even by working on basic salary. More than that they need your emotional support, in the same way that my friend supported me in that tough time.
Amandeep: I would advice new immigrants that as you land here, first few months you take to get settled and adapt to the atmosphere. Just be patient, you will start loving everything here.
Varun: I miss India, and most of all, I miss my family and the food. I am a complete foodie. [I] miss everything from family get-togethers or going for breakfast or eating bread omelettes at 2 o'clock in the night from road side shops with friends.
Amandeep: There are lots of memories of my homeland. The place where you are born, bought up and spent so many years of life, you cannot forget that. My family is back there, I miss them, miss my friends and the street food I used to relish.
Varun Chugh is a sales representative at Save More Plumbing
Amandeep Chugh is a homemaker
Saachi & Saisha are 5 and 2 years old respectively