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date with ikea
by Yee-Fan Sun
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continued from page 2

In the years that followed, I'd have a few more IKEA encounters. And I was lucky: IKEA always treated me well, even as I heard horror stories about mangled sofa deliveries and chairs that self-destructed within the year, or the frustrations of trying to put together a bookshelf in which it turns out that there's a critical element that the store has forgotten to include in the package. My cute IKEA stuff served me just dandy; when I left my Tucson house a few months ago, both the rotating cabinet and the lamp were basically good as new.

So when my boy and I moved to Edinburgh, we did a little jig of joy to discover that we were finally living in a city that boasted its very own IKEA store. On the same day that we heaved our boxes into our new flat, we took part in that essential ritual of the quasi-adult nesting process: the IKEA expedition. 

And what I realized is that my relationship with IKEA just isn't what it used to be. The floorlamp that we had lusted over in the catalog turned out to be a tacky off-white plastic, complete with gold-painted plastic interior. The super-cheap sofa that had looked so sleek in pictures proved uncomfortably hard on the derriere. Even the funky hanging lamp, with its folded-plastic peony shape, seemed somewhat less unique when you saw that there were mountains of them all lined up in the store.

Yeah, ultimately, we still bought the funky lamp, and a slew of other necessities that served the important purpose of allowing us to get our house reasonably livable right away. This was an important for us; when you know you're only going to be living in a city for two years, you don't want to dilly-dally about making your home homey. And so I left the store with a bed, two lamps, three wastebaskets, six placesettings ... and a vague feeling of disappointment as I realized that IKEA, I'm sorry: I just don't love you the way I used to. 

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