Shared Joy is Twice the Joy, Shared Pain is Half the Pain

Shampoo and Toothpaste

They tell you that you’re going to miss some things when you study abroad. Usually, people talk about missing people – your friends, your family – or places – your home, your school. Less often but no less important, people tell you you’re going to miss the food. Your favorite snack (the one that smiles back?) isn’t available in Central Europe, nor are Cheez-its. And I’m not going to lie. I miss my rare, but always amazing In’n’Out burger with grilled onions. During finals, I missed my customary giant box of Cheez-its. And when Rabbi Ron came back from a visit to the States and brought us bags of Goldfish, I was just as excited as everyone else.

But all things being equal, I don’t really miss American foods that much. I miss my home, and my school. I miss my friends and my family dearly. Luckily, though, I can get around these issues. I’ve spent months away from home before (you know, while I was at school), and while I miss certain buildings at Tufts, the reality is that I’m not as attached to the location as the people there. And, with the wonders of the internet, I can email and facebook and generally communicate with all my friends and family just as fast as I could if I were back at home, or at school.

I’ve been here for just over 4 months. And I’m going to put it out there. Right now, I’m desperately missing Crest and Pantene and Herbal Essences. It only takes about 2 months for me to go through the giant bottles of conditioner I buy, which means that 2 months ago, I bought myself new conditioner. I couldn’t find my normal Pantene conditioner, so I bought a different type of Pantene conditioner. Because Pantene is Pantene, right? Wrong. It was weird, and my hair did not like it. But there’s not much to do except use it up and do better the next time. Well, next time is now. And, in a weird twist of fate that almost never happens to anyone anywhere, I used up my shampoo (I had also not been able to find my shampoo brand of choice – Herbal Essences) and conditioner at the same time. And, strangely enough, at the same time that I ran out of toothpaste.

So I went to the store today to buy shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste. And then another one, when the first one didn’t have any of my favorites. And then a third. And then a fourth. I gave up at the fourth. Not one of these stores (all different stores, not just different branches) carries normal Pantene conditioner, Herbal Essences of any flavor, or Crest toothpaste.

So now I’ve got Colgate toothpaste, because it was the only brand I knew. Normally, I don’t espouse the brand name obsession, but there are a few products that I tend to stick to tradition. Toothpastes have very distinct tastes, and while I don’t mind the taste of Colgate, I don’t particularly like it either. But Colgate toothpastes are sold primarily in English-speaking countries, which means the boxes say fluoride toothpaste, and since I don’t think the water here is fluorinated, I’m going to bite the bullet, so to speak, and use Colgate. I could certainly have chosen to be more immersed and pick the Czech brand everyone in this family uses, but I’ll stick to my American tendencies instead.

When it comes to hair products, though, I’m even more frustrated. I went with Dove shampoo, because I’ve used it before and I know that it is not dissimilar to Pantene shampoo. Even though I like Herbal Essences shampoo. And for conditioner, I’m trying out an entirely new brand that I’ve never used but that I recognized from my Aunt Laura’s toiletries from Christmases past. We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

Maybe I’m just in a complaining mood, or I’m tired from a long day of shopping for toiletries that could be easily purchased at home with a five minute drive to Target. Maybe I’m your typical, self-centered American student living abroad that everyone claims not to be. Regardless, my rant is concluded, and I hope my parents will have stocked my bathroom with these brands of choice when I get home in 5 months. Or we could take a trip to Target after the In’n’Out burgers we’re getting for lunch the day I set foot back in the states.


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