by Melinda Gallo

Shopping at IKEA

Simone, my friend and our landlord, told us that we could go to IKEA the Monday after we arrived. I certainly didn't hold him to it since plans made can always be broken, especially ones from over a month ago!

He came and picked us up in his car, which by American standards, would've been a go-kart. We sat in his two-door Renault; Dave in front and me in the back. I asked Simone, "Sei sicuro che possiamo trasportare qualche cosa nella tua macchina?" (Are you sure we can transport some things in your car?) "Sì, senza problemi." (Sure, no problem.)

I've been to IKEA before in France and even though there are two in the Bay Area (Oakland and East Palo Alto), I have never gone to either one. Simone left the catalog in the apartment for me to look at, but it's not the same as going there and seeing everything. When you see it, you want it.

When you enter, you're forced to go through the upper floor to see everything in nicely decorated rooms and then you can go downstairs to get a cart and load it up. The carts are quite big and somehow don't seem big enough by the time you get to the cash register.

We lost Simone in housewares and tried to rush through the rest of the place so that he wouldn't have to wait for us. I didn't know that it was his day off at the restaurant, so I didn't know we didn't have to put everything in the cart we could fit.

Our cart was overflowing with an office chair, a halogen lamp, place mats, water glasses, wine glasses, coffee mugs, pillows, and much, much more. Simone bought dishes, thermoses, and bowls for his restaurant since they're going to be serving sushi on Wednesdays.

As we carted everything back to the car, I wondered how it would all fit in. Simone opened the trunk and we just started putting all the bags in the trunk, which was remarkably huge. Only the office chair (which was in a box) was next to me in the back seat.

On the way back home I looked over at the half empty seat next to me and thought that we could've gotten more stuff.

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