I moved from India to Alberta to live the multigen lifestyle 

“My family bought a house in Edmonton where we could all live together”

Vandita Jain
An illustration of a young woman with dark hair. Behind her are illustrations of two men and an older women.

(Illustration by Adrian Hogan)

An illustration of a young woman with dark hair. Behind her are illustrations of two men and an older women.
(Illustration by Adrian Hogan)

Living in Canada was my older brother Kash’s dream, not mine. We grew up in Delhi, India, and when Kash was in high school, he heard about people moving to Canada for college. He dreamed of going out on his own. He did all the research himself, studying for the English-language proficiency test and figuring out where to apply for school (he landed on business administration at George Brown College in Toronto).

I was 16 when Kash left for Canada. While he built his life in Toronto, we fell out of contact for a few years. I was busy too. I completed my communications and journalism degree at a university in Delhi, did a postgraduate degree in Mumbai and then landed a job there. I stayed in Mumbai, away from my family, for four and a half years. It was unusual for people my age to move out before they got married, but my family supported me along the way.

By 2018, Kash was living in Edmonton. My parents visited him and realized how much they’d missed their son. They started considering a move to Canada. They figured it was time for our family to be united again, and they wanted me to join them. But I had no interest in emigrating. I had just started my dream job in Mumbai at an international PR agency. I enjoyed being independent. I’d heard of some friends from university who’d moved to Canada, and they’d struggled to find work in their fields. I didn’t want to start over again.

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Then came COVID. As the world shut down, I moved back to Delhi to live with my parents. It felt so good to be home, and every day I saw the happiness on their faces. Multigenerational living is the norm in India; it’s like having a built-in support system. COVID made me realize that nothing comes before family. At the end of 2020, I told my parents I was ready to move to Canada.

Thanks to my work experience, I was able to get permanent residency in Canada by March of 2022. It would take longer for my parents, who needed my brother to sponsor them. I booked my flight for May of that year, and my parents planned to join us a month later on an extended tourist visa. When it was finally time to immigrate, our family bought a home with enough space for us all to live together.

My flight arrived in Calgary, and Kash drove down from Edmonton to pick me up. We hadn’t seen each other in over a decade. “Oh my god,” he said. “You’ve grown so much!” He drove me through Banff to see the beautiful mountains. In Edmonton, I noticed how clean and orderly the roads were. No one was honking their horns, which surprised me since that’s a normal part of life in India. It was so peaceful and quiet. Kash had stocked the house with everything we’d need—furniture, kitchen stuff, gadgets and snacks. Kash, who runs multiple businesses, managed our household funds, with contributions from me and my parents.

When my mom and dad joined us in June, we had to get through an adjustment phase. Our habits initially clashed. Kash and I played loud music and took late-night drives, leaving our mother wondering when we’d be back. Gradually, we figured things out and got into a routine. Kash spent most of his days at the office—he touched my parents’ feet for blessings every day before leaving for work. I stayed home for the first few months, frantically applying for jobs. I hadn’t realized how difficult it would be. I had no luck finding a job in my field and applied for any entry-level work I could find, eventually landing a gig as a bookkeeper. Then, in the summer of 2023, I got my dream job as an account manager at Edelman Canada. I was supposed to be based out of the Toronto office, but after the company heard how I’d reunited with my family, they let me join the Calgary team and work from home.

It took some time to get settled into my new life in Canada, but now I can’t imagine living away from my family. It’s so good to be reunited. During our free time, we make popcorn, watch Bollywood movies and play Indian board games. In October, my parents and I travelled to the U.K. Toward the end of the trip, I FaceTimed Kash and told him how much I missed Canada—how I couldn’t wait to come home. He had tears in his eyes. “I’m so happy that you consider Canada your home,” he said.