There is a point in many traveler's journeys when they say to themselves, "Okay this was fun, but I'm ready to go home now and sleep in my own comfy bed."
Curtis and I arrived at this point last week.
The Beijing subways were feeling too pushy and squishy.
The hotel breakfast buffet lost its luster.
Also, no good tacos. Anywhere.
I would list all the things we miss from back home, but it would be much shorter and equally accurate to simply say, "Everyone and everything."
I know, I know. We are lucky to be having this experience! We are lucky to be living abroad and be immersed in a whole different culture! There is so much for us to learn, see, and do! All of that is true. But the only thing I've been wanting to do lately is fly back to Hawaii and smooch my very smooch-able nephew who I haven't seen in seven months.
See? Irresistibly smooch-able.
Things got really bad on Thursday. Curtis and I sat around staring at each other, hoping we could maybe tap our heels together and get Wizard-of-Ozed back home. When that didn't seem to be working, we came up with the next best brilliant plan.
We decided to pay our first visit to Ikea Beijing.
At 452,000 square feet, it is the 4th largest Ikea in the world.
A subway and taxi ride later, I was doing some extreme smiling. As we got closer, Curtis started pointing at the building and shouting "Na yige! Na yige!" (That one! That one!) to the taxi driver, because that is about one of three Mandarin phrases he knows and he could not contain his excitement. I think the driver was a little annoyed by this because:
It would be an understatement to say that stepping into Ikea was like stepping into beauteous heavenly perfection. The air smelled fresh, everything looked cheerful and clean, you could actually sit on the toilets, and they had a huge food court filled with delights like spaghetti bolognese and their famous swedish meatballs. Most amazing of all-- they had WINE (de France!).
Oh the happiness!
We ate and drank until our pants struggled to contain us, then decided to work off our meal by wandering through the massive showroom. What a great escape from the city this was! It felt like we could be in any Ikea in the world! Except...
Beijingers were sleeping all over the furniture. They were in REM sleep on sofas! They were curled up under the quilts on the beds or playing with their babies post-nap! At first we just snapped a bunch of pictures out of total amusement-- then it occurred to us with our very full, afternoon bellies that this was, in fact, the BEST IDEA EVER!
Eventually we got around to picking out bedding for our future apartment, which, as you can imagine, was endlessly fun for me
and Curtis. Then, before we knew it, it was time for Ikea happy hour! Followed by romantic Ikea dinner for two!
We left this oasis-in-the-city feeling floaty, refreshed, and rejuvenated. Sure we still missed home, but a bit of the heaviness had lifted. We were all like, "Yay, adventure!" all over again.
And not even our super-packed subway ride home coulda changed that.