ARRIVING IN CANADA DURING THE PANDEMIC - NIKHIL’S STORY
Nikhil, Volunteer at ETCHS
The borders were closed, and my travel documents were in my apartment in Bangalore. I worked from home in Chennai, but I was preoccupied on how I’d get all my things relocated. My mother had a friend in the transportation department who offered to help. My wonderful roommate used the spare keys and packed up all my things into boxes, which he then handed off to my mother’s friend. When the boxes arrived, I was relieved, but also sad that this unceremonious event constituted my farewell to Bangalore— my city of 5 years.
Closer to June, my flight ticket was cancelled due to travel restrictions. My mother encouraged me to book a flight on the special repatriation flights, and after much consideration, I did so. I also booked an Airbnb in Danforth to quarantine in for a month. It was a lot of sunk investment, and I had to accept the possibility that I would lose all that money should the situation not improve.
Nikhil post quarantine.
Finally, with two days left on my Airbnb rental, I managed to find a unit in a shared accommodation in Toronto. The landlord, once an immigrant himself, treated me with dignity and respect and took a chance on me. I’ve been living here since, and Toronto has become my community now. I had a rough start, but a combination of faith, grit, and human kindness allowed me to have a new start in Canada.