I could really go for a Dr. Pepper right now.
Were I still living in Quito, satisfaction would have been just a bus ride away at a store called El Griego, where gringos can satisfy their hunger for a taste of home with products ranging from grape soda to 3 Musketeers. The likelihood of my patronizing this establishment was directly proportional to my stress level, workload or number of relationship problems. There was never a day too frustrating for a Dr. Pepper or a Mounds Bar to brighten up; something about consuming such familiar junk food brought me a surprising amount of comfort. Not everything could be wrong with the world if my favorite pop was still in it.
The problem is that I have no idea where to get it in Santiago. I don't know how this city's foreign population compares to that of Ecuador's capital, but gringos seem to be much more catered to in Quito, where hostels, English-language books and overpriced gringo goodies abound. I'm sure this has to do with the importance of foreign tourism as a source of revenue in Ecuador.
Whatever the reason, the concrete implication for me is that I became accustomed to a luxury -- Dr. Pepper therapy -- that is no longer available to me. I suppose the best thing to do would be to find a way of dealing with problems that doesn't involve high-fructose corn syrup. In the absence of the necessary will power, however, I've turned to a few substitutes for those days when expat life gets me down:
1. Peanut butter. This is expensive therapy indeed, so I only give in to temptation once every several weeks.
2. Commercial movie theaters. There's nothing like popcorn and plush stadium seats to take you back to the days when your most pressing concern was what time to tell your mom to pick you up.
3. Books in English. There was a time when I thought living in Chile meant I had the duty to read almost exclusively in Spanish -- not the most effective relaxation technique for a non-native speaker.
4. Watching pirated U.S. T.V. episodes online. This deserves an entry in itself.
Obviously, there's nothing like spending time with friends or receiving an e-mail from home to raise my spirits. But these little things help.
So if anyone knows where I can buy Dr. Pepper in Santiago (or anywhere in Regions Metropolitana, V or VI), please let me know.