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Immigration story of Zohra Mawji (Indian immigrant)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

Category: 
Culture : 
Country of Origin: 
Port of Arrival: 
Language: 
English
Creative Commons: 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Accession Number: 
S2016.227.1

Story Text: 

My name is Zohra and I’ve now been living in Canada for two and a half years.

I live in Toronto with my husband and two kids. We are also expecting another member of the family during July. It will be amazing to have our first baby boy.

Before immigrating to Canada, I grew up in the city of Mumbai, India and before long time I was traveling plenty along with my husband and kids. The weather was mostly hot with frequent downpours. Back then, my favorite hobbies use to be bicycling and coloring. When I came to Canada, I brought my passion of bicycling with me and shared it with my family. In 2003, I got married and moved with my husband to Africa. My family and I lived there for 8 years then, we moved to Pakistan because my husband’s family lived there.

Deciding to leave Pakistan was a hard decision to make and required a lot of application which made it a bit problematic. My family and I had decided to leave Pakistan because we couldn’t adjust to the life there. Given the history of the political situation between Pakistan and India, it was difficult for a person from a Indian nationality to reside in Pakistan or a Pakistan nationality to reside in India. I had the same problem and had to keep applying every 6 months for a visa. Although I would apply for a visa consistently, I would get a single entry. Meaning we would not be able to travel at all or leave Pakistan for any reason. We decided on moving to Canada since my husband and my two children were Canadian citizens. I applied to come to Canada with the idea of staying permanently. In the process of leaving, official paperwork, medical tests, IELTS tests and interviews were involved. During the application, I encountered challenges because I needed a visa quickly. The lawyer needed several paperwork and documents in order to submit the immigration to the Canadian embassy. The entire application process took six months and soon after, I was accepted by Canada.

The departure to Canada was quite remarkable and I also got the chance to see some places along the way that was longing to visit. I departed for Canada on the 21st of December 2013. My family and I traveled by plane from Karachi to Toronto, via Mumbai and London. Our voyage took approximately 36 hours with just a few hours transit at each of the locations. The flight to Toronto has been excellent. We got first class seats with good food/entertainment. Despite having traveled in this manner many times before, I had enjoyed this trip the most.

Although I was a very warm welcome by family and would soon be Canadian, I will always treasure the memories of the past. I recall the time when I arrived in Canada there was a huge snow storm. Our plane has stopped somewhat close to Toronto till the storm has ended. We had brought along our belongings and a variety of souvenirs from different countries we had traveled to. When we arrived at Toronto Pearson Airport, my husband’s family came to receive us from there.

Although settling in Canada was harder than I imagined, when the rest of my family joined me here, I was at ease. When we first arrived in Canada, we stayed in Toronto at my husband’s paternal family’s house. However, three months later we had moved into our own house. After immigrating, I pursued education in CDI college, studying business administration.

Therefore I applied for a job at Staples and became a supervisor. Upon our arrival, we faced quite a few challenges. First, there was a big procedure to get a driver’s licence and it took a lot of time. Without the licence, it was very difficult to transport from one place to the other. Secondly, we had to find a house to live in which was very difficult because a lot of the houses we saw weren’t suitable for our needs. The difficulty increased when we finally found a house and moved in when it was February, the coldest month of the year. We had to settle, shop and look for furniture in the coldest of weather. Lastly, it was difficult for us to get the loan for the house. Soon after, my mother in law and my sister in law both came from Pakistan to join my family in Canada. I haven’t become a Canadian Citizen yet, but I will in two more years.

I’m proud of my country Canada, because of the culture, diversity positive people; it feels like home away from home. Some things that I appreciated about Canada were that Canadians stand up for what’s right and they work hard to the keep the environment clean and safe. They’re also friendly and will do anything to help each other and the stores open early rather than at one in the afternoon. Now what I think about it, I feel very happy and grateful to live in Canada. Canada feels like home.