411 S Pasadena Ave: Not My Family’s Story.

Guest post by Praise Ching. 

The coolest part of being in college is that you get to live with people you never thought you’d live with. At the beginning of junior year, I moved into a house with Heidi. What I didn’t expect was to enter Heidi’s family narrative. Between being greeted by Heidi’s aunt and her fear of us becoming strippers, Heidi’s cousin moving away because he couldn’t agree with the family, and Heidi’s dad talking about Dodgers’ baseball, I found myself excited to hear the stories about her family. Every week, Heidi would bring updates on her family, while we stressed about papers and tests.

            These entry points into a narrative different from mine brought perspective into a worldview contrary to mine. As I laughed and rolled my eyes at some the events that got reported back to us, my preconceived notions about the other, middle class conservative whites, slowly broke down. Heidi’s family was trying to make sense of a changing world, just like how many of us are. In a charged political climate (and divided country), I needed to be reminded that everyone is navigating family issues, and things are much more complex than we perceive.  

            Remember that cousin, yeah I learned he went to law school but didn’t like to work with people who don’t have the same theological understanding as him. But that same cousin has a kid that’s smarter than he’ll ever realize. Remember that aunt, well she teaches classes at a local community college and has aspired to become a Christian fiction writer. Lastly, and this pains my heart to say, I would love to see Heidi’s dad cheer on the Dodger in their (maybe) successful play-off run because he’s been waiting for this for forever.

See people are complex, but our presuppositions generally reduce others to simple, clean descriptions. The opportunity to live in a story different than mine became one of my favorite parts of college. It may not be my family, but it sure is part of my story.




Praise is a senior Business Management and Biblical Studies double major at Azusa Pacific University. Her academic interest includes Biblical Business Conduct, Community Development, and Postcolonial Studies. Outside of academia, Praise cheers on her SF Giants and is on the hunt for the best pizza.