By Jingfei Cui
With music playing from the phone in her pocket, 25-year Mission Hill resident Cora Higgins walked through McLaughlin Playground. Her dog, Seamus, ran around tirelessly. It was snowy, but neither of them minded.
She lives in a house near the playground with two roommates and enjoys her local community. She is even part of a micro-community of neighbors with dogs. They meet in the park every day, discuss their lives and their neighborhood, and take care of each other’s dogs.
“It’s kind of like a family,” said Higgins. “For me, that’s the best part of it. I have really, really great neighbors. I feel like I can call them anytime if I need help or something like that.”
Since she moved to Mission Hill as a student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Higgins has had “thousands” of treasured moments. At the time, college students rarely lived in Mission Hill. But it was close to her campus and she was eager for independence. Rent was also “very, very cheap.”
Higgins is now an ESL teacher at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Bunker Hill Community College.
The neighborhood’s increasing rents concern Higgins, who says she missed her chance to buy a house. She now worries that the rent gets too expensive.
“It’s very hard for a family to live here. And it’s basically impossible to live here unless you have roommates,” said Higgins.
Growing up in a “half-white-and-half-Asian” family in Braintree, Higgins said she experienced a lot of racism. That made her determined to settle somewhere more diverse, like Mission Hill.
“I just feel like I belong here,” Higgins said.
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