宜家

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Lingering among the stacks of furniture on the 1st floor of IKEA lurk those offering a special service. Trained mercenaries? Sex workers? Possibly the latter, but even more useful when buying un-assembled Swedish furniture are those undercutting IKEA's delivery system and providing their 1980's van for immediate service. "Deliver goods?" She asked in flawless Chinese. "Sure" I said, in equally impressive English. She looked confused. I translated it to Chinese. I am a Mandarin Master. 4+ years in this country are finally paying off. She creeps behind me as I make my way through the checkout and wheels my boxes outside. A man on the other side of the gate, her husband, greets me with a cheerful smile and carefully guides my boxes over the wall onto a cart and into the back of his van. We have the usual "Chinese person + white foreigner" banter and we arrive at my place. He helps me get the stuff into my apartment, I pay him roughly $20, and he returns to IKEA to repeat the process. It's situations like this, among the smog and daily grind of this city, that makes me say, "I fucking love China".