After a few weeks of searching it looks like we're going to move into an apartment today in Manchester. We're signing the contract later today and handing over a lot of money for rent - six months plus a month's deposit. The figure is so high because a) I am currently unemployed and b) I haven't live in the UK over the past three years so effectively have no landlord references.
A world away from my days as an ESL teacher in Korea where my rent was either payed by my employers or part funded when I lived in a bigger place. At least by paying such a high figure I won't be thinking of how I'll be able to afford the rent.
So I'm out of the bubble. For how long who knows, possibly forever but we'll see where we are and how my wife and I feel at the turn of the year. There is some reverse culture shock that I'm not ashamed to admit to. Though I've been back a few times over the past five and a half years some things are different and take time to get used to or accept.
Despite having some money in the bank, lots of free time and away from Korea's withering Summer heat I am having some stress - all of my own making though. The armbands have been removed and I am swimming in the deep end right now for the first time in a long time. Having to make decisions and choices where previously my only worries were what to do at the weekend or what to eat for dinner. I am reminded of the expression be careful what you wish for.
An example of irrational stress is setting up broadband access. Where as before it would be done quickly and to hell with the cost, now I have had to shop around and it looks like I have to commit to an eighteen month contract when I am not 100% what my situation will be then. I cannot sign up for broadband yet as I don't have an official address and as such I don't have any paper or records detailing where I am moving to (hopefully today!).
I will feel a lot better when I am settled in my new place. The location is great for us and hopefully we can make it feel homely very soon.