I was talking to a far-off relative who recently immigrated to Canada. She immigrated from Dubai, where she was living with her husband and kids. Worked as a government employee in Dubai, with all the perks that an Indian household is used to. She went on about how Dubai compares with Canada, how life was so much easier in Dubai, how there are no good restaurants to eat at here in Canada, and how difficult it will be to keep her kids “within the culture” after moving here. You could see a cloud of entitlement around her, if you are a Canadian that is. She went on about how difficult it was to get her PR in the first place, how many sleepless nights she had waiting for it, and she deserves a good life here after waiting so long to get here. I asked how long it took from start to finish, and she said “Oh, it took a full 9 MONTHS!”.20 years ago, when I was a kid, I remembered my parents thinking and discussing whether we should move to Canada. We were living in Africa at the time, there was no internet and resources were scarce. At that time, you would request an application package from the Canadian Embassy and they would send the package by mail to you to fill out and send back. We waited for weeks, hoping that our mail reached them and that the application package would not be lost in transit to us.When the application package finally arrived, we knew we couldn't jump on the form, we had but one package of forms to work with. So, my dad took the form to a photocopier shop several kilometres away and got a bunch of copies taken. The shopkeeper was quite happy having received such good unexpected business from us. Next up was filling the form. Tech-savvy folks that we were, we figured we should type it up. My mom's typing skills came in handy - she felt she was destined to do this. My mom and I would trek every day to a typing school a few kilometres away and I would watch my mom roll up the papers into the typewriter and type up the answers exactly within the field. We brought white-out bottles with us for correcting the inevitable errors.After all of that, several reviews, and making sure we dotted all our I's, after praying for our golden application package's safe transit, we mailed it off to the embassy. Then, it was a wait. A long wait. A long long wait, where there were no tracking numbers, no application updates, no nothing. After a full 7 months, we got a mail telling us that our application was received and we need further documentation to be submitted.We did all that they asked. Then war broke out, and we left to India. It was a bureaucratic circus getting our file transferred to India for processing. My dad would call up CIC office and threaten to protest in front of their office if they didn't proceed with the processing.My school was in limbo. Every year when the school started, my parents would tell me, no point enrolling you, we are leaving for Canada soon. One month in, they would know it's not happening and would enrol me in. All my schoolmates knew I would leave for Canada, but that never was happening. They would joke that I was bluffing, that I was never going to leave.Then one day, we got our confirmations in the mail. After 5 years. After several calls, mails, one scary interview in Delhi and a lot of agonizing wait. How did it feel? I don't know about my parents, but I was in a trance. All I could think of at the moment was to go tell everyone who made fun of me, “ Seeya Losers! I'm outta here!” I obviously didn't do that. My parents probably felt a huge relief of gaining certainty in life, but also felt a huge surge of new uncertainty about a new chapter in life. Will they succeed there? Will we survive there? Will all be ok?My dad ended up working as a general labourer for several months, my mom too, after coming here. They didn't want us kids to feel anything, so they were super casual about it. But, it didn't escape us for one second that my father who was the head of R&D in India, and my mother who was a bank employee, were doing all these for us, for us to have a good life. It grounded us, put our feet firmly on the floor, and taught us to do whatever is necessary, for the people we love.Canada gave us a lot, we lost a lot too. My mom passed away before she could see us succeed here and my dad became a single parent unexpectedly. But, in the end , perhaps it was alright that we came here. I would have been a different person if I didn't come here. I would not have known what hard work meant may be, what being responsible meant, what being humble and modest means, what kind of person I wanted to be. Or maybe I would have been the same person wherever I was, I wouldn't know.As to my relative, she is back in Dubai now, claiming Child Tax Benefits for her three kids from here and living it up over there. Yes, she is perhaps “luckier” than me in life, but I feel I'm lucky too, just differently.