My Journey from VALLÉE to NORD
We all have dreams about great things that we want to achieve in our lives. I firmly believe that if you have a passion or a dream, you can achieve that anywhere. I share my story with you to provide context. Every women has her own journey, and the path is never easy - "Small Town Big Dreams".
Small Town Big Dreams
I was born and raised in a small town Mandsaur. Mandsaur is a town in the Malwa region and district of Madhya Pradesh state of central India. My father is a businessman and my mother, a homemaker. My parents have taught me the values of education, respect for others, hard work, doing the right thing, and learning from others. I have tried to live my life by them.
Like the other Indian kid growing up in a small town in the '90's, being raised in a male dominating society, going to an English Medium school used to be a big deal. My Father didn' t care of the Society, the surroundings and no matter what I have done in my life, my father has always been my biggest cheerleader and my pillar of strength. I grew up in a traditional home, in a male dominated society that was India in the 1990’s. Even though I grew up in a traditional home, my parents had the same expectations for me, my sisters and my brother. I have made my journey with the values my parents taught me; education, respect for others, hard work, doing the right thing, and learning from others.
My First assignment in North America
2 decades ago, I boarded a flight to the United States, and all the experiences it held. I was scared, and excited.
"A suitcase in hand and one big dream that’s all I had when I came here 2 decades ago."
I remember the day my plane landed. I looked out of the arrivals area with a sense of hope. I recalled the hours spent staring at the scenery outside the train on my way to and from school dreaming of this moment and being grateful for the sacrifices made by my family. The fact I was on my own in a new country didn’t phase me. I was confident I could draw on my past experiences to get me through the challenges that would arise. I was determined to succeed.
I landed in Atlanta, Georgia USA for my first assignment. Every day was challenging without friends, and family. I had a new culture to adjust to. I persisted, and have made this continent my home working three different jobs in Atlanta, San Jose, California, and San Francisco California where I had multiple awards of proficiency. I lived in fear of being sent home. My passion for my work kept me going.
Chasing my dream wasn’t easy, and I struggled. It made me sweat, it made my cry, it made me lose, it made me weak and it made me feel low. But I kept working hard and pushed boundaries that I never thought would cross. Life got easier and I got stronger and I felt high of hope.
I just never thought I would stay in North America for so long. Throughout these turmoils I kept working hard , kept faith and pushed myself to boundaries that I never thought would cross.
Life at Silicon Valley
I married my husband in 2008 and joined him in San Francisco. My husbands support and encouragement reassured me that with hard work and determination, I could achieve my dreams, and make my to-do list into a book of colourful memories. We had a great life in Silicon Valley. This included an exciting job with Apple, that I loved. California is a wonderful place and me and my family took full advantage of that. Road trips, and tons of interactions with brilliant people in tech made California the best place for us.
My Silicon Valley job search had some highs and dream come true. Working at Apple in Cupertino California was my dream job. I got to work with the smartest people on the toughest problems. Life was great. My husband and I built some amazing friendships. In the end however we decided the indefinite wait was not for us. And we started thinking about our next play. Since the whole point of this move was to get more freedom and some peace of mind, nothing short of permanent residency would do.
Extending my visa was a constant, stressful fight. I have worked on probably all the various visas in the United States – L1, L2, H1, EAD, T1, Business Visa, not sure if there were any that I had not worked on.
Our move from Valley to North
Our biggest move was from Silicon Valley to Toronto, Canada without any family or friends. We landed in Canada with a Permanent Residency (PR). We were both fortunate to continue working remotely in Canada. I still worked for Apple, Cupertino California while my husband worked with eBay San Jose California. We did not quite know what to expect but we were ready for a new adventure. We knew that Canada has an inclusive culture with friendly people.
And it has lived up to its reputation and more. We’ve fallen in love with this place for its incredibly diverse landscapes, and its acceptance of other cultures. Canada has consistently scored high on numerous surveys and has the highest quality of life. Even when I got an offer at Apple to move back to California we decided to stay here. Canada is a political stable country, with a parliamentary system modelled on the British Parliament, and a good education system. The Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor is an area known to have the largest tech cluster outside of Silicon Valley.
North America truly has been the continent of dreams and opportunities for me. I took my Citizenship oath in 2016, and voted in elections in 2019 for the first time in my life. It was one of the best decisions of our life to move to such a great country. I haven’t forgotten my roots. In my free time I have supported an orphanage in my hometown, providing education, clothing, and food supplies with my parents’ support.
Discovering Toronto and Planning the Move
When I first decided to come to North America, Canada did not ever factor into my life plans. We Indians tend to stay away from very cold places. Silicon Valley always loomed large above everything else as the world’s technology centre. In the valley talk of moving to Seattle or Portland is pretty common, moving to a different country, less so. I think in the end Canada has a really great brand and that convinced me to take that chance.
We decided to move in the fall, that way we would get to enjoy the Californian summer and get there before winter. I guess we were a little busy enjoying the summer since we didn’t get to move related tasks until two months before we left. I can’t say this part was fun. In the end, all we had to was catch a flight to Toronto.