Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 4/15/2016

by Just Juan

So Mercedes and I have finally decided to move in together in advance of our wedding in a couple of months. With that brings about an area of life I haven’t really had to deal with before…namely, the differences in home furnishings. I have a coffee table that I purchased from IKEA, shortly after moving into my old place in Opelika. It was a Lack coffee table, high gloss white color. It went well with the different setups I had at the old apartment, whether I had the black, the red, or the white sleeves on the sofa and love seat. Mercedes absolutely hated the table. Why? Because it had a couple of scratches on it. Never mind the fact that the table was very durable and that it didn’t have stains on it or anything like that. We had a round of disagreements about keeping it or not and I let her win. I donated the table to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore but I made sure to let her know that she’ll probably live to regret being so adamant about getting rid of that table. Anyway, all of this brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my introduction to IKEA.

How I first came across this moment? It all started back in November 2009 with my co-best friend, Latisha Hambrick. I had tagged along with her to do some home furnishings shopping at the BXtra. She was looking for some new chairs and I was just there to provide some muscle support, if needed. Although I wasn’t buying anything on account of my relatively new boycott against AAFES, I did think that the selections were decent as far as what was available to us as Americans in Japan. Latisha thought otherwise. She said it all “ugly” and that IKEA had better selections. I was dumbfounded. I had never heard of IKEA before. That’s when Latisha said we should go…and not only that, we could make it a fellowship thing amongst the crew at church. That’s exactly what happened. She arranged for a bus and we ended up heading out to the IKEA in Yokohama.

What it meant to me then? Back then, it was like a new world to me. Knowing that I’d be soon leaving Yokota Air Base for an assignment back in the United States, discovering IKEA was a boon for me. The types, styles, and colors of the furniture all appealed to my tastes as a 25-year-old single guy. I made sure to grab one of the catalogs and I jotted down every piece that interested me. I also purchased a few items for my space in Fussa to make it more appealing for my final months.

What it means to me now? Today, IKEA is usually one of the first places I go when I’m on the prowl for home furnishings. Luckily for me, I’ve had access to an IKEA everywhere I’ve lived the last 6 ½ years…except for the 10 months I spent in the shadow of Seoul, South Korea. My place was fully furnished and I selected it based on the furnishings so there was no need to add anything. But my residency in Waldorf and in Opelika put me within a decent drive of an IKEA. For the foreseeable future, it’ll be my first option at home furnishings…even if I don’t like the lack of instructions included with their stuff.

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