Finding Apartments

Hello again,

View of the main street 
on my way to class
Flashback to my first time coming to Amman. I had arranged to meet a guy from the expatriates website to rent a room in an apartment from him. We agreed that I was going to give him the money when I arrived. So I thought everything was good. Then while I was on the plane to Amman, he sends me an email saying he changed his mind.
I was thinking I should probably be freaking out because I have no clue where I'm gonna go or live 
My first neighborhood 
pic taken on a walk to class
or anything, and I'm here alone. However, I'm usually not into freaking out about important things. I have slept in airports before so worst case scenario I'd still be fine. Yet, the prospect of  sleeping on an airport floor is more intimidating when its in a county you have never been to before. This isn't just Chicago where if anything went wrong my family could just drive a few hours then come pick me up from the airport. Nonetheless, I took it in stride. Luckily, I had met a Jordanian girl on the layover in New York, when I landed she helped me get it all figured out. She was very kind, and also a Uni student in the US.  That's how I ended up in Qasid student housing for one semester.

The living room of my 2nd apartment.
 smaller and older but a lot of character
Okay so now I am living in an apartment (also found it on expatriate site). I have lived in a few like maybe 4 apartments in Amman - two of them I found on the expatriate site and two I found on Facebook. I definitely prefer using Facebook because its easier to communicate and to send pictures of the apartment. I've stayed in a few different apartments in such a short time for mainly two reasons 1) I wanted to get to know different parts of the city and 2) Moving is easy to do when all of your stuff can fit into a single suitcase.

My current house is my favorite, I am living with my friend from back home. This is the first time I have lived with one of my friends here. Our landlords are also so nice. They treat us like family, we get tea with them and the mom even cooks dinners for us. Last week they took us grocery shopping. It is very nice practicing arabic with them too. The rent here is also a decent price for such a nice apartment.
Qasid apartment in Amman

Many landlords want people to agree to rent for at least three months at a time, some prefer longer. Some accepted monthly rent payments, and others wanted lump sum payments. It really just depends. I prefer to pay in lump sum because its easier for my budgeting purposes, I only had two landlords that wouldn't accept that. My current landlord is one of them. I think its because he lives in the same building, so its easy to just do monthly payments. Its not like hes coming across town to meet us. The only other landlord that wanted monthly payments rather than lump sums also happened to live in the same building as me. My previous roommate and I knew that each month we would need to plan a few hours for paying the rent. It was always a big event of having to get tea and talk and whatnot.

Another benefit of living here is that its easy to find people that will clean your apartment for a decent price. In the US, it can be expensive to find someone that will clean well at a decent price (on a college student's budget). On the other hand there are some people willing to clean the apartment for 5JD, however my roommate and I feel like that's too little (unfair) of an amount to pay someone. At the same time, you don't want to offer to overpay someone because that could be offensive. Luckily, there's a place between exploitation and charity in this case.

room in qasid apartment
Another benefit of arranging your own apartment rather than relying on student housing is that you get to practice Arabic more. For example, talking to landlords to find the apartment, talking to people when something needs maintenance, getting services like wifi, gas, water etc. Additionally, if you live outside of student hosing you can find roommates that speak Arabic. Then you will use more Arabic at home too. One time I had a roommate who was Tunisian. She knew French and Arabic, no English. So we used Arabic to communicate. This worked well to improve my arabic skills. However, the downside to renting with nonstudent roommates or from a landlord is that your roommates may not pay their rent. This happened at one of my houses. It was a big issue. At first, I would cover the girls rent that wasn't paying. However, It was going on too long and she hadn't paid me back. My roommate and I talked to the landlord and told her which girl wasn't paying. The landlord already didn't like her for other reasons so she was eager to make her leave. Then, somehow she came up with the money in time. While handling this situation was good for improving my level 2 Arabic it was not fun at the time.
Kitchen of my 2nd place
One thing that I encountered at some of my apartments but did not encounter at others is nosy neighbors. I think this could potentially change a lot depending on the neighborhood in which you live. However, I will give one example of a nosy neighbor we had. This was in a separate apartment. I lived with two female roommates. My landlord came to talk to us about getting sort of a "complaint" from a neighbor lady. She said we were having a man in our house and that he would come at night and hes come like a few times. My roommates and I had not had any men over because the landlord told us ahead of time that the neighbors wouldn't like this.

A bedroom in my 2nd apartment
We were racking our brains trying to figure out what "man" she was talking about. She said a tall man. Then we realized the only men we have had over were the short maintenance man and our tall
landlord. We realized she was talking about him. This was more hilarious to us than anything. He came three times to collect the rent and to show the apartment to other girls. He lived out of town so sometimes he would come around or after Maghrib. In some neighborhoods having mixed company over would be an issue, in other neighborhoods you can get away with a lot more. Either way, doesnt bother me.

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