Speaking Fluently. . .

Industry Observer CalBRE #01165532

Speaking Fluently

A Story 

Of Adaptation And Adjustment.  

A Continuing Journey.


Even though I am a native of this country as were my parents and each of my grandparents, I still struggle with many parts of the English language.  That said, I wish I could speak another language fluently but that has not been the case.  I digress. . .


I admire those who can connect with the greatest of ease as they segue smoothly from one language to another.  They understand concepts and master nuances speaking, reading and comprehending.   Such things can easily fly over my head. 


While this may seem non-related, stay with me.  I may specialize in non-sequiturs but I hope to tie together the concept in this personal story.  Recently, a friend asked me to accompany him on a visit to IKEA, the Scandinavian retailer.  Have you ever been? 


Even in pre-pandemic times, it is a bit of a maze and during this return-to-some-form-of-normal, the business continues to prove that it speaks its own special language.  The names of the products, for one, are a bit of mystery although most of the merchandise categories are fairly easy-to-translate.  Beyond the names of the products, the DIY-assembly angle of many of the pieces can certainly stretch my vocabulary as well as any skill level I hoped to possess. 

This particular visit proved that adaptation and

adjustment remain a part of life.  In many ways, communication may be in somewhat unfamiliar forms so I can understand those who say it is an involuntary adjustment. 


Hey, I’m just along for the ride. May the experiences flow.  I do what I can.  Adjust and adapt as necessary.  Observe.  Listen.  Learn(even when it seems futile). 


Originally, I didn’t think I would enter the May 2021 Contest.  Timing was my initial concern when I learned of its existence.  As was my photo-taking ability.  But that recent IKEA visit made me reminisce. A trip in Spring, 201w as they moved from one location to their present store prompted me to take some photos(which I did on occasion back then) and include them in a post. So the photo I am including is one taken four years ago.  And cut/paste skills - the basics of computer language which often fail me - returned.    Yes, I adapt.  Adjust too. 


That’s my personal story. . .for what it’s worth.


This is for the ActiveRain May 2021 contest Life Is A Story.  Thank you to our host,  Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP and the judges on her team, Jeff Dowler, CRS - Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker and Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!








Posted by

Michael Jacobs


CalBRE # 01165532

P. O. Box 587

Pasadena, CA 91102

Call/Text:  818.516.4393




Comments (38)

Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Michael... I have shopped at Ikea... mostly in Dubai when we living in the Emirates. We have an Ikea in Charlotte, but as it's in north Charlotte and I live in south Charlotte, I've only managed to get up there once in all these years. I'm one of those people who can shift from one language to another, but I can tell you it's harder all the time... you really need to use it and as each year goes by there are fewer people left in my life with whom I can speak Russian or German.

Jun 01, 2021 06:20 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


There was a competitor to IKEA in the very early days called STOR in Torrance.  They contacted our firm because they were in expansion mode, and were essentially a copy of IKEA.  We did buy leather director chairs from them, and they were great...IKEA sued them and won, so STOR ended.  Then we met the CEO of IKEA, and he wanted to expand...we showed him and took him to several locations and nothing came of it.  

As far as languages, my first was French, my second was Russian along with Arabic, and next was English, and Italian.  My proficiency is waning as like Nina Hollander, Broker there are very few to practice with, nor have I made the effort.  French remains my strongest and I practice when in France. I will occasionally read a French article or two.   I can swear a blue streak in Arabic. During the pandemic, we have watched many series made in France and Italy with subtitles. I have loved hearing the language and noting its evolution.  

Neither one of us is fond of big stores like IKEA, and we have not been in one since 2000.  I am sure they have evolved.  A


Jun 01, 2021 07:04 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Ikea is a most interesting place. Great Gravlox. I hate contests but I did enjoy reading your story.

Jun 01, 2021 07:04 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Kat Palmiotti - I am sure that must have been in New York state or thereabouts.  Just guessing.

Nina Hollander, Broker - there are so many ways we use "use it or lose it" and everyday language definitely sings that tune.


Ron and Alexandra Seigel - so much for imitation and flattery, huh?


Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty - thank you.  From following you over the years, I know your feelings on AR contests/challenges.  🙃


Jun 01, 2021 07:27 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Michael, for sharing your experience.

Take care, be safe an have a great day.

Jun 01, 2021 08:23 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning Michael. Now I know the next time a DIY project goes wrong, I will blame it on the translation. LOL

Jun 01, 2021 08:40 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Roy Kelley - thank you.

Rocky Dickerson - whatever "works" - right?  

Jun 01, 2021 08:56 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Michael Jacobs, the first and only time I've been to IKEA was when they opened a store in New Jersey, many years ago and left without a purchase. I am not a DIY person. My dad was born in Yugoslavia and speaks the language fluently, sadly, I used to speak it as a child but without practice for many years, I can no longer speak it. 

Jun 01, 2021 10:55 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Beth Atalay - the story you tell of learning to speak a language as a child but not using it continuously and "losing" it, seems to be a common one.  I wonder if it's like riding a bike and it can be re-learned.  I guess as we age, it becomes a bit more difficult.  Hmm...I am wondering.  

Jun 01, 2021 11:05 AM
Beth Atalay

Michael Jacobs, I'm sure some of it will come back if I was surrounded by people who spoke the language.

Jun 01, 2021 11:36 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I have been to IKEA once. While I can certainly appreciate its appeal, it's not for me. I took three years of French in high school and speak very little - well. At times, I can get the gist of a rudimentary conversation, but that's about it. Language is one of those things - I think you have to use it. It's a skill, much like writing. Speaking of writing,  I notice my handwriting has weakened because I spend so much time typing on computer screens. 🙄

Jun 01, 2021 03:32 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - don't get me started on my penmanship let alone printing.  

Jun 01, 2021 04:16 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Michael, an interesting tale.  My limited Swedish vocabulary consists of Ikea and meatballs, and I do like the latter.

Jun 02, 2021 05:45 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

As for language....I'm currently playing with Duolingo....app to learn Spanish. I wish I could say I was doing better than I am, but learning at my age is no simple task.

As for Ikea...almost impossible to comprehend but I have never been. I know...a home stager who has not been to Ikea is unheard of!

Jun 02, 2021 06:25 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Ed Silva - I'm not so different from you although I once owned a Volvo.  

Sharon Tara - are you learning along with any(or all) of your grandchildren?  I am sure one or all them could pick up Spanish and perhaps teach you through assimilation of sorts.  

Jun 02, 2021 06:37 AM
Sharon Tara

No, but that is a great idea. I'll have to see if any of them are interested.

Jun 03, 2021 07:07 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Michael, when IKEA opened here, I did not want to go.  Then one of my clients wanted a gift card as a closing gift.   It was so confusing and so big, never went back! 

Jun 03, 2021 07:34 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Joan Cox - I can imagine that is a feeling of many but judging from the crowds(even with social distancing) IKEA seems to have a business idea that works well for them.  At least - attendance-wise.  

Jun 04, 2021 06:33 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

It's like penmanship, Michael - the use of keyboards, whether it be on our phones, pads or computers, have resulted in poor penmanship across the board. I can't even imagine the next generation who won't be taught cursive handwriting in school. Makes you wonder how on earth they will ever have their own 'signature,' doesn't it?!


I have never stepped foot into an IKEA but, my sons have both purchased massive boxes of pieces that, if assembled correctly, result in a piece of furniture. Thankfully they are both great at puzzles! LOL

As for language - my French has all but, left me but, like you, I can still make out words well enough to adapt...and adjust.


Thank you for your participation in May's contest - loved your story (as always)!

Jun 06, 2021 07:38 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Debe Maxwell, CRS - when it comes to puzzle-solving of the furniture assembly variety, it's a spectator sport for me in that I can certainly admire the end result.  The actual mechanics of the operation goes way beyond my comprehension.  

Jun 06, 2021 07:50 AM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

I have an IKEA chair (2 as of matter of fact). They are unique and very comfortable to sit in with their bent wood. However, they are difficult to get out of low to the ground and need leverage with the arms to get out of. Still nice though. Easy IN and Not so East OUT. Jeff 😎

Jun 11, 2021 04:03 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI - the easy in/easy out appeal of a chair cannot be underestimated.  You're right.  

Jun 12, 2021 05:22 AM