‘Gradually, if you have a good winter jacket and proper clothing, you can survive,’ jokes Tanvi Prajapati, who moved to Timmins in February 2020
Tanvi Prajapati believes that everything in life happens for a reason — and that’s always a good reason.
Prajapati, 29, is from India and a settlement worker at the Timmins and District Multicultural Centre (TDMC).
She moved to Timmins in February 2020, shortly before the pandemic started. Prajapati moved here because she married a man who’s been living in Timmins.
It was an arranged marriage. Tanvi and Archit Prajapati, who are both from Vadodara, Gujarat, first met on July 7, 2019.
Nine days later, they were legally married. Another traditional wedding with Indian rituals was held on July 25.
Archit, who works as ICP/AA department manager at Actlabs, returned to Canada on July 27, while Tanvi stayed in India until she later moved to join him.
The day she landed in Timmins, it was -30 Celsius. At the time, Prajapati was not used to this temperature.
She remembers waiting for a bus to attend a job fair at Northern College.
“I texted my husband, ‘I’m totally frozen, I don’t know if my hand is working or not,’” she says laughing. “Gradually, if you have a good winter jacket and proper clothing, you can survive.”
Prajapati has never expected she would move to Canada or marry a person who lives abroad. Although Prajapati misses her family back in India, she’s not regretting the decision thanks to her husband’s support.
The month of July marks many special occasions for the couple: their first coffee date or their first shopping together.
“My husband is very, very supportive. I said yes to Canada just to live with him, and I’m happy with him. I can settle wherever he is,” she says. “He respects my decision whatever I want to do it. We mutually decide.”
Prajapati, who studied business administration and human resource management in India, is not the type of person who can sit idle and do nothing. She likes working and being busy.
“Whatever I’m doing, I’m giving my best. And that’s recognized by everybody” she says explaining she’s maintained a good relationship with her former boss in India and has a good connection with her family and relatives.
“I was a very pampered child with my parents and the way I am handing everything here — job, cooking, home cleaning, study — they are very proud of me,” Prajapati says. “I have an elder sister only and whatever we have achieved in our life, we made our parents proud of it.”
In India, she worked in administration for three and a half years. After moving to Timmins, she searched for jobs and landed a job at Walmart. She worked there as a part-time associate before getting a full-time position.
Last December, she got a nine-month contract job at the TDMC to cover a maternity leave. After the person resigned, Prajapati got a permanent job at the centre.
“I’m very happy. Being a newcomer, you have to take small steps. Sometimes, you can’t dream to get a part-time, full-time permanent job immediately,” she says. “I feel like in life, everything happens for a reason. And I believe that it’s always a good reason.”
Prajapati’s personal experience being a newcomer helps her relate to the challenges immigrants have.
“You have to believe in your good work, we call it karma. If we’re doing good karma, everything will be good one day,” she says. “Challenges will be there but we have to be ready.”
She also gets to meet different people, which is why she loves her job.
“When I’m helping others, I thought like, ‘I just faced this issue and I’m just out of the stage and I’m helping these people.’ So, there is a satisfaction of doing this job,” she says.
Many people are not aware of the existing services or what they qualify for, Prajapati says encouraging newcomers to take advantage of the services provided in the community.
Back in India, she used to explore new restaurants and try new food. Since moving to Canada, she started cooking and making new dishes at home. Currently, she’s also pursuing a Foundation Program for Internationally Educated Professionals from York University, where she will later study Professional Communications in a Canadian Context and Fundamentals of Canadian Business Law and Ethics.
Keeping in touch with her culture and traditions is also very important to Prajapati, who says she doesn’t have a problem adapting to any country’s culture.
“I will adopt the new culture along with my culture. In future, when me and my husband are planning for our baby, I will try to (have) my baby also connect with our culture,” she says adding she’s a “little spiritual” and prays to God every day.
Prajapati is happy where she is now. She says she’d like to improve herself and then see where life takes her.
“Nothing is decided now,” she says.