During the time that I was in Tokyo, I lived in a corporate apartment. The downside was that it was a small studio apartment with sterile decor that never felt like home. The upside was that utilities and housekeeping services were included, and everything (even rent) was direct-billed to the firm.
Now that I'm a recovering expat, I'm adjusting to fending for myself again. It took a decent chunk of time and money to arrange the logistics for my move and to set up services in Austin. Before ordering internet, I remembered to check with Ebates (affiliate link) and got a great cash back deal.
(With the holiday season coming up, I thought it would be worth mentioning Ebates to those of you who do a lot of online shopping. Basically, you visit Ebates.com and then click through to the site where you want to shop. If you make a purchase, you'll receive a percentage of your purchase as cash back in a quarterly payment sent to you by Ebates. I've been using Ebates for more than five years and it's fun to get a check in the mail every once and a while.)
In addition to setting up basic services, I'm back to driving and all that it entails--new driver's license, car registration, maintenance and gas. It's time, money and mental bandwidth that I wasn't spending before. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the return to independence, but I can also appreciate how effectively the firm tailored my life in Tokyo so I had just one thing to worry about: work.
Here's to returning to the real world!