I touched down in Manchester on Tuesday evening. I'd arrived too late in the day to actually pick up the keys to the new apartment, so I took a taxi over to the Manchester residence of the same friends who I stayed with over there during my last couple visits (and who had been storing some of my extra belongings.) The actual move-in was deferred until the next day (Wednesday): I woke up early in the morning and headed over to the rental agency to sign the contract and pick up the keys.
As I noted before, finding an apartment was a bit of a rushed process that ended up with me getting my second choice. The main attractions of the place were: a monthly rent well under my stated price point, a very short commute to work (5 minutes' walk), and a newly renovated interior with high ceilings and lots of windows and light.
Of course usually the drawbacks are not so obvious in a quick viewing, and certainly that was the case here. For one: the bedroom is right by the front door of the apartment building, which means that the large windows (and their translucent blinds) also transmit the bright security lights from outside, so it is never truly dark. The comings and goings of the other tenants cause a lot of noise from the door opening and closing. Then, strategically positioned just behind a wall on the other side of the room is the hot water heater with its loud fan. So: silence and darkness are hard to come by. I also wonder about crime risk a little bit: the building is stuck in a bit of an alleyway and my unit is right on the ground floor. I'll get a better sense of this in the coming days.
In any case, I'm not stuck here for long: the contract is for six months, and towards the end of that when I have a better sense of the Liverpool area and a notion of how likely I am to stay here long-term, I can move into a nicer unit or even buy property, which I can probably afford without much difficulty in this area (possibly this would open up some nicer options that aren't available on the rental market, too.)
In the meantime, I need to buy things for what space I have! The apartment is almost entirely empty: I brought only a single suitcase with me on Wednesday and have been living out of that since then. When I finish the retrieval process from Manchester that will help a little, but nearly everything else needs to be re-purchased locally.
Without a car I'm limited to what I can carry each time I go shopping. Because I live so close to the shopping district that's not necessarily a huge problem. Nevertheless, this process has been gradual at best. I really don't like buying things: I can never decide what to get among multiple options, and I often end up indecisely leaving without anything. My limited carrying capacity only exacerbates this because on a given trip I have to decide which set of things I would be buying then, and which I'd have to get back for.
So it's going to be a while before it really feels like a proper home here. But I hope not too much longer!