How long has it been since you took a moment to notice the good stuff in your life?

Recently, best friends, both originally from Bangalore in southern India, visited the StoryCorps Atlanta Booth to give thanks for their American

Divya Malyala ask Aishwarya Warrier her first 10 years in the United States.



Divya Malyala: Now that it’s your 10 years, I’m gonna take you back.

Aishwarya Warrier: (laughs) Yeah.

Divya Malyala: your very first day in the United States. How did you feel? And what struck you the most different?

Aishwarya Warrier: I was flying into Gainesville, Florida, which is such a small…

Divya Malyala: Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: ... you know, town. And my family greeted me, like they were right there waiting for me. They were so excited. My uncle and cousins (laughs) and my grandmom, and I was just like… It felt good.

Divya Malyala: I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this. Why Florida? Why’d you choose Florida?

Aishwarya Warrier: I know you know this about me, but I try to
take the path of least resistance 

Aishwarya Warrier and Divya Malyala: (laughter)

Aishwarya Warrier: So Florida was one of the universities I applied to; it was the cheapest. Like I didn’t want to put that burden ...

Divya Malyala:  Makes sense.

Aishwarya Warrier: ...on my family or on myself actually, because you know I would have to pay back somebody at the end of it. Yeah, I chose Florida. I liked the idea of living in a more tropical climate. It was so hot! Even Atlanta’s too hot. I’m not - like you know...

Divya Malyala: Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: ... it’s been 10 years; I’m still not used to the heat. Yeah, Bangalore’s cool. The funny thing is, I ended up living with only Indians, but I didn’t know anyone from Bangalore — which was a huge cultural shock. I missed home so much.

Divya Malyala: I agree.

Aishwarya Warrier: I was around Indians, but I did not understand. I did not like it. I lived in only one city all my life.

Divya Malyala: Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: And I did not realize how different it is to be around other kinds of Indians. I think I got my American cultural shock after I left college. But I had my first cultural shock with just Indians in general. (laughs) It’s just so different.

Divya Malyala: It’s different.

Aishwarya Warrier: Right?

Aishwarya Warrier and Divya Malyala: Yeah.

Divya Malyala:  Did this adventure turn out to be everything you thought it would be?

Aishwarya Warrier: There’s so many reasons I moved to the United States. I feel like I did achieve the things I wanted to, but I feel like I didn’t dream enough. I just realized that like the possibility of what I can do is so much more.

Divya Malyala:  Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: You know, like I limited myself. And now I just have like more – you know I have more thirst to do more – like...

Divya Malyala: Thirst for life!

Aishwarya Warrier: Yeah! For life! Yeah. Yeah. Not having to answer to somebody about anything is just awesome.

Divya Malyala: I have to agree 100%.

Aishwarya Warrier: I grew up here. Like I mean, like you, I came here at 21.

Divya Malyala: Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: Right? The real growing up happened here for sure. So yeah, I learned how to dream bigger.

Divya Malyala: I really relate to that. I did grow up here. Most of my adult life has been here. At the end of the day the journey has been amazing. We’re doing all of this fun adventures, like something I never thought back in India, I would be doing – ‘cause when I initially came here it was more in terms of like, career.

Aishwarya Warrier:  I think we’ve created so many memories.

Divya Malyala: We have.

Aishwarya Warrier: And that’s awesome, right?

Divya Malyala:  Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: It’s so nice to grow up.

Divya Malyala: It’s nice to grow up! (laughs)

Aishwarya Warrier: I love it. I love it. And I can see that for sure, that change happening, you know.

Divya Malyala: Thank you.

Aishwarya Warrier and Divya Malyala: (laughter)

Aishwarya Warrier: It’s nice to be able to witness the changes ...

Divya Malyala: Yeah.

Aishwarya Warrier: in a person. It’s good to ...

Divya Malyala: I’m glad that you see that.

Aishwarya Warrier: Yeah. Of course. Yeah. I love it.

Aishwarya Warrier and Divya Malyala:  (laughter)

This story was produced locally for GPB by Brenda Ford and recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center. For more information on recording your own personal milestones visit