Yesterday I had the chance to go on a great adventure to Ikea with my Swedish friend. That should be on the list of 'things to do in one's life'; going to Ikea with a true Swede is absolutely an experience. We bundled into our warmest winter clothes, since in Lyon this month the temperature has dropped, scarves over our mouths, gloves firmly on our hands- and headed to the tramway.
The tram from the center of Lyon to the Ikea near Bron is about a 30 minute ride. Riding metros in France is not the most enjoyable experience, many butts in people's faces, sweaty armpits reaching overhead to grab on to create equilibrium. We sat in a corner staring at eachother or at the floor in the attempts to not make eye contact with someone undesireable. Discussing a variety of subjects, we finally arrived at the stop and wandered out into the cold.
At first we started wandering around aimlessly, a Swede and an American lost in the outer suburbs of Lyon. She got gutsy and decided to ask some worker which way was our meatball mecca; he obviously didn't speak very good French but in three different broken French's we were able to determine it was around a parking lot.
Looking back, it reminded of a sort of crusade; battling the freezing wind, the nasty people and a good 1/2 mile hike to get to that bright blue building. In my Swede I had found another soul who was just as obsessed with Ikea. We wandered into the bright building, blinded by the greatness of it all and warmed by the heat. As we passed through the aisles, I'd pronounce random Swedish names of furniture and she'd reply, "That doesn't mean anything.. really!".
The food court is really the reason we made the trek. She wanted 'bronsauce' which is a brown gravy served on most Swedish food- and I wanted those little balls. We ordered our balls and bronsauce and sat across from eachother.
We ate, talked, laughed, at some more. People stared at us in disgust, we were just too damn happy! I made quips about 'Daim' sounding like, 'Daaayammn,' as in, 'daymn this chocolate is good'.
It only got better as her French boyfriend joined us and we spent the next hour jumping on beds, testing kitchens and giving false presentations on the items; specifically learning the meanings of the words and making up 'non-sensical' Swedish gibberish... well I was gibberish, Swede was definitely speaking it correctly.
The French around us were disturbed. At one point I was testing a bed, wiggling around and checked for comfort when an older French couple stopped in front of my bed and started saying how weird I was being. I smiled up and said clearly, "Désolé, mais je ne viens pas avec ce lit!", Sorry, I don't come with the bed! That made them turn on their heels and jet out of my vincinity, making me feel as though I had lepresy... but nonetheless it got them out of my hair.
The final great thing was at the finale. I was communicating in great French with her boyfriend and her, we were happy and full of laughter... and there, near the exit, a non-smiling (the French never smile in public) french woman with an array of samples. Heck yes. I gorged myself on 'stroogenfloos' and 'chocouten' (making up some names here) and waddled out of that Ikea stuffed with balls, laughter, cookies and a totally new experience.
My advice. Find a Swedish person, and THEN go to Ikea. It's really like the complete experience.