She had grown, worked, and raised a child in Iran, but in 2002, Parvin Davani decided it was time for a change.
Born in Shiraz and raised in Tehran, Iran, Davani set her eyes on Canada.
"I thought Canada would be the best because it's a peace country, and I really like this place," she says.
Davani had spent the last 10 years of her working life as a registered nurse, but she wondered if her son, who was rapidly nearing college-age, would have greater opportunities in another country.
"We made the decision to go to another country because of my son. We thought maybe we could get a better life, a better future," she says.
Davani came to Canada in 2002, quickly settling into North Vancouver.
"We chose this city in Canada because I read lots about Vancouver, that it's a beautiful city and the weather is really good," she says.
Her son took computer courses at UBC and eventually parlayed his degree into tenures at video game company Electronic Arts Canada and multi-national computer giant Microsoft. When asked what she misses about Iran, she answers: "My family . . . just only my family."
While Canada is the country she chose, Iran remains the land of her birth and the cradle of her culture.
"I always call them and talk about Iran and the family," she says. Adjusting to Canada also proved to be a challenge, according to Davani.
"The hardest part was the first time when I came here, because it was really hard to understand people and get the new culture. But I am really flexible, and even though it was really hard to understand when people talked, I tried," she says. "I started to go to the English class and meet new friends from another culture."
Since arriving in Canada, Davani has put an emphasis on education. Over the last decade, she has earned a diploma in a fundamentals of nursing course, passed a one-year pharmacy technician course, and completed an esthetician course. "I was really happy because when I was taking the course it was a good time for me to get new friends, and after that I got a new job."
A shoulder injury forced Davani to take a break from working, but she used her free time to get back to volunteering.
A few times each week, Davani helps other Iranians improve their language skills at the Silver Harbour Seniors Centre. She meets with the group Thursdays 10 a.m.-noon.
"I teach them a little bit of English. I don't say my English is good, but I try to just improve my English and give them something new. It's a good time," she says.