A year ago, yesterday, Hanna and I picked up the keys to our new apartment. A year ago today, we started packing in preparation for this:
There’s been a lot of stress for our household over the past year, but I can honestly say that our new home and new neighborhood has, rarely, been the source of it. Our landlord is responsible and responsive — something we particularly appreciate in the midst of crisis! — and the space suits all of us, cats included, miles better than the apartment we’d outgrown in Allston. Given Boston’s real estate market, we know we are genuinely privileged to be able to afford a comfortable apartment within walking distance to work in a neighborhood that’s a good fit for our lives.
As we head into year two of life in Jamaica Plain, we’re digging into our plot at the neighborhood community garden, showing off our favorite neighborhood haunts to out-of-town friends, and working out ways to be (hopefully!) good neighbors. The tensions of gentrification hang over JP as they do all of Boston. In multiple ways, Hanna and I fit the profile of those to whom gentrifying interests cater: We’re white professional queers with a taste for artisan coffee shops, shopping “local,” cycling, and compost. At the same time, we still technically qualify for affordable housing opportunities according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority table. Which simply is what it is, something the majority of thirty-somethings seem to be coming to grips with in one way or another. Privilege is, as always, intersectional and complicated. We’re try to live, and put roots down, in ways that honor both where and who we are.
I’m looking forward to finding out what year two has in store.
On a related note, this will be my eighth summer in Boston. I don’t even know.