02 March 2012


S Friedenau
I have a home in Berlin.  Finally.  And after almost 6 months, I have my own bed, too.  Something I really never thought about (because I've had the same blankets and pillows since college) was having to buy bedding.  Sure, I would buy a new sheet every once in a while when one of mine got too stained with the monthly or too threadbare and full of holes, but I never really thought I'd be without blankets and pillows.
Well, when you think you are just going away for a few months and then you end up moving to another country, you end up with needs such as these. 
I recently had a small sun of cash from an experimental film I did.  (UDK Student's thesis work.)  So I decided to go to Ikea and get myself some bedding.  Dear readers, I pride myself on being anti-consumerist, on finding things on the street and in the trash, on buying used instead of new, on living with less rather than more.  But when I got off the train at Sudkreuz yesterday to go to Ikea, I am ashamed to admit that as I walked the short distance from the station to the store entrance, my pulse quickened.  I developed an extra spring in my step.  An involuntary, dopey grin arrived on my face and wouldn't leave.  I started to sing little snippets of songs.  The excitement I felt upon entering the home-making superstore was damn near erotic.  I had only one thing on my mind: Swedish meatballs.
As I made a beeline for the cafe, I began to think about my mother, the biggest Ikea lover of them all.  She's coming to visit me in Berlin in April, and I am making lists of inexpensive and fun things for us to do.  Through my mind flashed, "Ikea cafe and looking at all the pretty Ikea arrangements."
Forgive me mother.  It was just my delirious excitement at my mass-produced, Swedish-style meal on a tray.
After eating one of those shrimp-and-egg open-face sandwiches and drinking a cup of coffee, I ventured into the children's section, where I gazed longingly at the stuffed animals, the creative and colorful lighting, the heart-shaped mirrors.  I grabbed a pack of acrylic paint and a stuffed red-heart with arms, then remembered I was on a budget and put them back.
In the closet/storage section, I fell into a deep trance with the collapsible boxes.  When I came to, I had a set of hanging cubbies (SKUBB: Black) and a hanging wardrobe (SKUBB: white) under my arm.  Since my closet situation was basicly a suitcase full of stuff on the floor of a wardrobe, I decided to keep both of these things.  I'd take the doors off the wardrobe when I got home and have an exposed closet, making my tiny (less that 10 sq. m) room seem bigger. 
My bed.  Mine.  I own it!  Exciting stuff, this having a home.
I did not allow myself to go to the kitchen section but instead went straight to the marketplace where, using more self-control then an addict in a pharmacy, I bypassed the many colorful and oddly shaped containers for things like laundry, the shower, etc, and went directly to the bedding.  I bought a comforter, two fitted sheets (one red, one black), a duvet and pillowcase set (Blue polka dots), two pillows (80cm x 80 cm, standard European size) one more soft and expensive for sleeping and one a little lower quality for leaning against, a set of 80cm x 80 cm pillowcases (red) and a set of 40cm x 80cm pillowcases (black) because I have not changed my pillowcase for the pillow I brough from the States (40cm x 80cm) since September.  Possibly disgusting but hey, we don't have dryers on this side of the pond, so if you want to do your laundry, you must wait until at least the next day to wear your freshly cleaned clothes again.
I spent 140€ which was almost within the budget I gave myself for spending and definitely within the "if you want to eat next week you can't spend more than this" number.  And it feels wonderful to have my own bed, to not sleep in my sleeping bag or use someone else's stuff.  I am no longer travelling and wandering.  I live here.  In Berlin.  I have a home.

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