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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Not a Resident

“Have you seen any celebrities?” “How often do you eat here?” “Do you think it’s funny when you see tour buses touring your city?” As he sloppily eats his double double, occasionally taking a break to pick at his messy animal style fries, my little brother sits wide-eyed waiting for me to tell him an amazing story about living in L.A. Come August, he will too be yet another DiBiase to join the LMU community, and as you can tell, he could not be more excited to start his life here. I answer the questions, much to his dismay, anti-climatically.

In the four years that I have lived here, I have found that my life might not have turned out the way I envisioned it my senior year of high school. I remember being like my brother Tim, waiting to start my college career in an entertainment-based city, reading my People magazines at work to stay up on my celebrity gossip so when I saw them walking around, I wouldn’t be as star-struck. Lo and behold, after four years, I can’t say that I’ve had one celebrity spotting. And honestly, I’m not too disappointed by it. My mindset has changed in the time I’ve been here, I’ve become less intrigued by the lives of strangers and more so with my own.

Only visited when I have out of state visitors, In N Out has not become a staple for me. Because of its limited audience, many Coloradoans feel they must eat In N Out at least once when they are in California. I understand why; people think the food is fresh, the restaurants are classic, and it is a specialty to three Western states. But to me, I don’t eat fast food, I think their fries are too fresh (imagine that), and well, forgive me for saying this, but it’s just a burger and fries.

His last question is the one that I struggled with the most. While I do think it’s comical how when I drive down Lincoln, I pass by L.A. Tour buses, I can’t say that it’s my city, or my state. I drive a car with Colorado plates, my Colorado license gets double checked every time I go to a bar, and as I have recently just filed, I pay taxes in Colorado. It wasn’t that I struggled to answer the question, but internally, I found myself wondering why after four years, I never became a true California resident. I always blamed it on the fact that for so long I didn’t have a car, and when I did buy one, it was in Colorado. Since I had registered it there, it would have cost too much to buy all new plates, and well I was broke. Not only that, but I’ve heard California makes it hard for out-of-staters to become residents. Even after all of these excuses, I still question if those were the reasons. In my mind, and in my heart, I believe I didn’t become a California resident because I knew that it was not where I wanted to end up. I didn’t want to put myself through the process of changing everything to only then change it back.

It’s not that I will be going back to Colorado for good, but I know now that I won’t be staying in California either. A part of me wishes that at some point, I will long to be back in southern California, for the winter days that I could enjoy an outdoor run in my shorts, for the beach, for the culture. But I will only know this if I leave, if I give myself a chance to miss what I might lose. As we walked to my car, he looked at me and sincerely asked me, “You do enjoy living here though right?” The way he asked made me feel like he was begging for the right answer, the one that reassured him he was making a good choice to come to school here. “Yeah, I just can’t believe it’s almost over.”

--Jackie DiBiase


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