Though I don’t do it often, I love to shop; the words ‘retail therapy’ resonate with me in same way ‘comfort food’ does. Both can offer a brief vacation from whatever ails your spirits.

It was therefore with a light heart that I set out with my Light Rail buddy for a little bit of therapy.

photo courtesy of evliving.com

Look familiar? Do they ALL look like this? My friend A. and I visit Ikea in Genova when we need furnishings or other items for the house, and they seldom disappoint. For clean design and reasonable workmanship, materials and price, it’s hard to beat Ikea. (Note – in Italy we call it Ee-kay-ah, here in the US it is called Eye-key-ah.)

Once inside I was transported immediately back to the familiar territory of the Genova store – it was all identical, except for the language of the signs.

Our first stop, because we got a late start, was the cafeteria, which serves the same Swedishy dishes we eat in Italy – smoked salmon, shrimps on a boiled egg with mayo, meatballs. We opted for the shrimp salad and something that I’ve not seen in Italy, a thick cream of mushroom soup – all yummy, as usual, and a good lunch for just over $5.

After we picked up the few odds and ends we ‘needed’ we made a stop at the food store, which looked almost identical to the one in Genova, though perhaps not quite as large.

But wait – there’s something missing!  Where’s the coffee bar??  It’s not there!  Instead there is this:

No doubt you can get coffee there, perhaps not cappucino though.  And I dare you to try to find the hot dog at the coffee bar in Genova!

So they do make some accommodation to location, evidently.  But the stores are enough alike that I suffered a moment’s complete disorientation when we emerged into the bright Arizona sun.  Where was our car?  We always park underneath the store… and why does the parking lot look so different?  Oh yeah, that’s right, we’re not in Italy, are we.  But it’s nice to know that whenever I get really homesick for ‘over there’ I can just drive down the I-10, walk into the Phoenix Ikea and become confused enough to think I’m a continent away.