Walking in Two Worlds (+video)

Walking in Two Worlds

Shefalee Parmar


Once upon a time in the vibrant city of Gujarat, India, there lived a young girl who was filled with a spirit as bright as the sun, always dreaming of a better tomorrow. Let us walk into her story and learn how fate dealt with her.


I was expecting a parcel from my older brother who lived in the US. I ran to answer the knock at the door and there was his package, full of clothes, chocolates and gifts for everyone in the family. I was overwhelmed to see the neon orange and turquoise pair of runners for me. This was a decade ago, yet I remember it vividly.

I wore those shoes through all my years in college in India. They were with me in all my science labs. I was wearing them when I received a call from my dad. He said my mom had a stroke and was hospitalized. I couldn’t process this information. I checked the bus and train schedules. I wore the same shoes when I traveled to my hometown. My mom was taken to the intensive care unit. My whole family was deeply shaken. The shoes held my feet strong in the hospital.

Years passed while I yearned for a fresh start, a chance to heal and rediscover myself. I decided to move to Canada and I applied for the residency. The world was quarantined because of Covid19. My faith was fading away in the two years of waiting due to the pandemic. But one day, destiny smiled, and I received the incredible news that I would be immigrating to Canada, a land filled with promises and opportunities.

I was ready to fly but there was a dilemma about what to take. Honestly, I never liked packing! The only things I was sure about were the tons of memories and my neon shoes. I embarked on my journey, ready to embrace the change. It was the month of July, when the sun was shining bright and I received a warm welcome from the people I met. Each day,  rain or shine, I wore my shoes, but I knew I wouldn’t be wearing them once it started snowing. I loved when strangers smiled and greeted me which seemed like they were welcoming me. This was a different culture for me.

My new life was fascinating, although challenging. The initial struggle was hunting for accommodation. I distinctly remember wearing the shoes while on a Kingston transit bus, navigating the streets of the new city, looking for an apartment, trying to hide my tears behind my sunglasses, reminiscing about my room at home, decorated with my crafts, stickers and dream catchers. I had been wearing those shoes for a long time but now I felt some discomfort while wearing them here. Maybe they too felt the change of land!

Being in Canada was exciting but overwhelming. Even after a year, I still  have this unsettled feeling. I have bought a new pair of boots to comfort my feet in the winter. I’m trying my best to adjust to my new surroundings and my new boots. But it’s taking a while. It’s hard to make genuine new friends in a new country. But I’m grateful for the chance to witness new things and broaden my horizons.

The old pair of shoes have become a symbol of my journey and the challenges I’ve faced along the way. They have been with me through thick and thin and they are a constant reminder of my brother’s love, of where I have come from and the struggles I have overcome. While I may eventually need to retire them, I know that always hold a special spot in my heart, a reminder of the quest I have been on and the person I have become.

I am hopeful that with time I will feel more comfortable and at home in this new place in my new shoes.


Shefalee Parmar lived in India before moving to Canada in 2022. She has a Bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and Master’s degree in plant molecular biology and biotechnology. Now she lives in Kingston, Ontario and is getting used to her new life in a new country.

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