Furniture Shopping at IKEA
Except Mukesh and I, none of the fellows had subscribed to the Elite Suits which meant they would not get a furnished apartment on their arrival. Instead, they were required to buy necessary furniture of their own choice. This obviously required a lot of efforts in terms of selecting furniture, transporting it to the Met Apartment and then assembling it.
After lunch, we assembled at the Met and left in two different vans for furniture shopping at IKEA, a big furniture store. The store was too large spread over a huge area. It sold almost everything one would require for decorating a new house. Everyone started choosing their favorite furniture on the basis of their needs to fill a full empty apartment. Since we had been provided with everything by the Elite Suits, I did not buy anything.
Everybody, including Dr. Bill and Ivy, came back to my apartment# 344 after doing the furniture shopping to grab some sandwiches. Dr. Bill had engaged some students from the Cronkite School to come over and assist us in fixing the furniture. These students included Michel Duarte, who would drive us to the furniture store and transport the items to the apartment. On our return, I also met another Cronkite student Nick Frnack and two of his friends. They seemed to be delighted to meet us. Meeting these young people, I was pleasantly surprised that young Americans are interested to know about rest of the world. The impression that Americans do not want to learn about others is a bit exaggerated. It is true that not many Americans get to travel outside their country to learn more, a lot of them wish to know about other countries and cultures.
I had a good time talking to these young people who wanted to know about my country and its problems. The journalist from Peshawar was almost offended when he heard me talk about the suicide bombings back home in Pakistan as he insisted that I present a ‘positive image’ of Pakistan by hiding the ‘internal shortcomings’ of Pakistan. I found it strange. I knew it was not possible to conceal the truth in the age of media.
” Siraj, why dont’ you say something positive about Pakistan,” he interrupted.
” Yes, the only positive thing about Pakistan is we continue to go to bazaars and shopping centers in spite of suicide bombings every other day,” I replied, ” we have not lost our commitment to battle extremism and terrorists. We are a people who are unwilling to surrender before religious fanatics.”
The furniture, after being transported from IKEA, took a longer time than we expected. Some people among our friends went to the supermarket to buy some grocery while we continued to wait for the stuff to arrive. As soon as the items were delivered, we began to move them to different fellows’ apartments. We had already started to work like a team. I was very touched with the level of assistance offered to us by our hosts. They were really very very kind to us. Not only did they physically drag different heavy items to various apartments, on the second or third floor at times, but they also brought us tools, such as hammer and screwdrivers, to fix the furniture.
At the night time we kept on working on assembling the furniture. We learned to work like a team and help each other.