I went to IKEA yesterday.
I love that place.
I used to work in Sweden. Many Monday mornings during winter, I got up at 4am and drove to London Heathrow airport to catch the 7:30am flight to Stockholm.
I stayed at the Royal Viking hotel in the center of the city, got driven around and generally pretended to be important and classy.
Visiting IKEA reminds me of Sweden and my life back then. It’s a trip down memory lane.
I loved the whole Swedish thing. The family friendliness, the egalitarianism, the honesty and straightforwardness of the Swedish people, the openness.
Occasionally, my clients would invite me into their open, fresh, natural pine homes that looked like the mountainside houses I saw as a child in one of my favorite books, ‘Heidi.’
They would feed me herring and coffee so strong you could run their saunas off it.
Their hospitality was delightful and their surroundings uncluttered.
It was charming.
Among the Swedes I knew, IKEA was considered cheap and undesirable but I could not figure out why. At all.
I never went to the one nearest me in the UK because I couldn’t get within five miles of it. It was mobbed on the weekends.
I was delighted when one opened up locally here in the US.
And ten years on, I am still thrilled to go there.
Eleven Reasons Why I Love IKEA
- I can teach my kids how to live successfully in a small space. Apartments are very small and very, very expensive in Sweden; they know about maximizing space.
- The child drop-off. When my kids were smaller, I would meet a friend and have a chat over coffee. (Which was mercifully not powering any saunas.) Forget the furniture; vacation from the kids.
- Nowadays, I can buy my kids a little treat to reward them for sweating it with me and it not cost the earth – $1 for a frozen yogurt, anyone?
- Marabou chocolate. I used to buy that in the duty-free and haul it back with me to England. Gorgeous chocolate. Lovely memories.
- If I run out of pencils, a trip to IKEA will do. They have plenty of little ones handy.
- Flatpack. I get to assemble the goods. Yay! Yeah, I’m weird.
- Parent-friendly furniture. If the kids wreck it, it is so cheap I can just buy another. Plus, I get to build it, all over again. 🙂
- Family parking bays if you get there early enough.
- The unashamedly Christmas section that reminds me of wonderful Swedish holiday seasons and lights and glög and Swedish holiday food and snow. Lots and lots of snow. Magical.
- The memories that spring up as I inhale all things Swedish – being a twenty-something career girl, dashing about town in my black BMW, with her briefcase and newspaper, high heels and expense account. Happy times.
- And seriously, where else can you go to buy everything you need to equip a basic home on a student budget?
Do you like IKEA? Why? Why not? Let me know in the comments!
If you liked this article, please do me a favor and ‘like’ the TSLWW Facebook Fan page. You can find the box in the sidebar. I would so appreciate it! Thank you.