Hassan Hijazi


It’s been almost two months since I arrived in the US. It’s been a bit of a dodgy ride — long flights, hot weather in DC, having that feeling of being lost, feeling homesick.

To be honest, my homesickness was different. I didn’t feel homesick to Jordan. I actually felt homesick to go back and work in London, UK. I lived there for enough time to be attached to that city. Since I arrived in DC, I started comparing everything to London. Transportation, people, weather, food (the food here is better).

An ad about Jordan in London Underground (King’s Cross Station)

Sometimes it’s kind of annoying to keep talking about my life there. Maybe it’s because I had a great experience, or because I lived in a very comfortable situation, or perhaps because Jordan was under the British colony. However, after moving to San Francisco, I also had a different way of expressing my love for my home.

8 Simple Rules!

Settling in San Francisco was not easy, finding a house is harder than finding Waldo. You must dig deep to find a proper place at a reasonable price.

What’s the magic wand?? CRAIGSLIST! God’s favourite creation and San Franciscan’s best friend!

I never thought a dodgy website with a ridiculous platform would be that helpful! The only issue is the scams you find there. Be careful, you must use all of your senses to tell if the listing is a fraud or not.

To master Craigslist, follow these 8 simple rules.

1- Don’t transfer money until you see the house!

2- See the bloody place! Don’t trust anyone on craigslist!

3- The price. Don’t be fooled about a room for $800 in Market Street, Mission Street, or Golden Gate Park… These places are expensive. Even if it’s true, don’t take it. There’s a catch in there.

4- Learn the difference between httpS:// and http://

5- Don’t give out more personal information than necessary. Seriously, no one needs your credit card number or your email password.

6- Don’t rent from a person from out of town. They use “Airbnb is my dealers, they are the one taking care of all the papers and payments.” PSSSHHH yeah right!

7- Grammar and spelling. Scams can be detected on craigslist when you see messy words and none sense stuff.

8- Trust your gut!

Now I’m settled

Finally! What a house hunting journey we had! I was lucky enough to meet Nizar Fraj during the orientation week in DC. Nizar is an Atlas Corps fellow serving at StartOut in San Francisco. We decided to live in the same house. It was a great decision.

Nizar and I at Pier 3 in San Francisco

Nizar and I had an issue finding a hosting family in SF. It was a bummer, a very short notice from American Homestay Network (AHN). Atlas Corps tried their best to find an alternative or to manage to get us a hosting family, but with no luck.

“Airbnb is your backup plan.” Just visit airbnb.com. Find a room/house to stay in. Keep the links, and the homes saved, only in case of any issues by AHN.


My roommates are awesome. Nizar, Brendan and his girlfriend Nadja are lovely, easy to live with, clean, and share the same interests with me.

“In Tunisia, if you tell me to go out and eat, I would tell you, yes, if you ask me to go out for a drink, I would say yes. We say yes to everything there” Nizar’s wise words.

My first weekend in the new house was spent with my roommates, going to Costco (Brendan has a membership card) and then to Brendan’s workplace. A BREWERY! A beer factory! My favourite thing in the world. And one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Fort Point Beer.

Beer tasting at Fort Point brewery

Okay, let me put it that way. Your dream is to fly a plane (become a pilot). You always travel, you know how jets work, you know the difference between an Airbus or a Boeing. You are the master of dem planes. Imagine one day, I take you to the planes factory. Imagine the Willy Wonka factory of planes. I’m sure you would have goosebumps within your goosebumps.


In the end, you should know one important thing. The stipend is enough, you’ll find luck and get proper housing. Don’t be nervous or anxious. You should be settled after two months. If you start feeling that you’re having a daily routine, it means you are ready, and fully settled.

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