The other day the boys and I had some time to kill so we headed to Ikea. I love going to Ikea! All over the world they are exactly the same from the big boxy beflagged building to the meatballs in the cafeteria. The only regional difference I have EVER found is that the Ikea in Switzerland has over-the-door hanging coat racks that have been especially adapted for the abnormally thin tops of Swiss doors. Other than that they are all just the same and this is exactly how I like it.
It may seem odd that I am saying this since for many years now. I have purposely chosen to live a very multicultural life. I love seeing how varying cultures experience the world differently and in general, I lament the process of globalization. The one glaring blue and yellow exception is Ikea and this is for purely personal and selfish reasons.
Basically it is just really nice to have one place to go where I know exactly what to expect. Nobody will come up and ask me questions I don’t understand (because an Ikea salesperson would be more likely to duck inside the nearest modular particle board closet than to come up and ask if you need anything), nobody will offer me food I don’t recognize, and the only surprises I get will be of the small pleasant variety rather than the large exciting but disconcerting kind. Perhaps a new line of vegetable peelers or an innovative way to store scarves. I’m not saying I’d want to hang out there every day but every so often (excluding Saturdays because that is truly a Swedish nightmare), I find it a relaxing escape from daily life in Spain.
One problem I do have with a trip to Ikea is that because we don’t have a car, it is a pain in the ass to get there. To top it off, invariably when I go, immediately afterwards I find out that someone I know with a car had just gone the day before or is planning to go the following day. This last trip was the worst though. As we headed out the door of our building, a mother from Luca’s nursery gave me a jaunty wave as she drove by in her car. Two trains, a funicular ride and a bus later (approximately 1.5 hrs), we walked into Ikea and guess who the first person we saw was? Just guess? I am thinking of getting myself a series of t-shirts printed to wear for pre, during and post-Ikea trips. One will say “I want to go to Ikea!”, The next will say “On my way to Ikea!” and the last will say “If you just went to Ikea, don’t tell me about it.”
Despite the transportational challenges, we managed to have a fun day although I was horrified to see that in about five more minutes, Nico is going to be too tall to enter the free childcare play center. This hardly seems fair since Luca is going to be old enough to enter in just a few more months. Why did no one mention this to me when I was planning the age spacing of my children? Nico enjoyed his lunch and declared that he was used to the food since he had once lived in Sweden. I’m sure the Swiss will be happy to hear that their country left such an impression.
The only thing I am not at all pleased with about the day was that Luca found an attachment object which he now insists on taking everywhere with him. Up until now, his two main sources of comfort have been his fingers (for sucking) and his hair (for patting and stroking while sucking). This meant that unless I shaved his head or signed him up for a toddler’s carpentry course, there would be no chance of any tragic losses. Now, however, we have “Daton” (Luca’s version of raton which means mouse in Spanish), a tiny brown mouse that has already been lost (over the course of about 72 hours) no less than 36 times. It’s gotten to the point where I think that hopping back on that funicular, two trains and a bus might just be worth it, if only to buy some more datones for insurance. So if ANYONE IS PLANNING A TRIP TO IKEA IN THE NEAR FUTURE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!