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A friend who now lives in Mexico and who was about to leave for a business trip back to the United States told me that he was feeling a bit anxious.

Since he had shared that feeling several times with me in the past, I asked him, “Anxious specifically about what? You’ve only been in Mexico for three months?”

Some background for context: After multiple years of visiting Mexico, vacationing here, getting to know people in Mexico, this friend made a very planned move to come to Mexico, lock, stock and barrel.

He had several successful businesses and a comfortable life in the United States.

Because he can work digitally, his work life has not changed, but he sold his home of 20 years and bought a place in Mexico.

In short, he is here for the long haul, knowing limited Spanish, and, from what I can see, doing just fine.

He is not wallowing in what used to be described as baptism-by-fire in the classical definition of culture shock, but is, in fact, actually thriving.

So I was naturally curious to get more info on from where his anxiety was stemming.

The established definition of reverse-culture shock, sometimes known as reentry transition stress, is real. Limited evidence suggests that this experience is even more severe and protracted than culture shock, according to studies from Marquette University, and it tends to set in more quickly than culture shock.

But after just three months? My friend has barely been here for a season.

So I asked him again, “What is it, specifically, that is making you stressed about your trip to the United States?”

I got an earful:

“Well, I’m not ready to leave the journey I’ve just started,” he said, to which I answered, “But you are only going for 10 days and you have a return ticket.”

“Those will be 10 days lost,” he said. “You don’t understand the chaos of what it is like to live in the United States these days.”

My friend went on to say that “the political climate in the United States is horrible.”

“Based on whatever you are for or against, people try to define who you are, and that stresses you, and you are inundated with it 24 hours a day, even if you set privacy limits on your phone,” he said.

“I’m not looking forward to the self-entitlement attitude from people who have nothing to be entitled about. It seems to be part of the current American psyche.”

He continued: “For example, I go to the Oxxo by my house here, similar to a Quick Trip in the Midwest, the cashier is always friendly, not overly friendly, but always says hello when I come in and thanks me for my purchase. But in the United States, I almost feel like they look at me with a ‘what do you want’ mentality, as if the cashier was doing me a favor. People seem to take pride in doing their job in Mexico.”

My friend said that he felt like some workers in the United States are disgruntled that some are “even downright mean.”

“Sure, you have the elements of life that you construct and have a degree of control over: family, interactions with friends, activities at work, and the like, but there is a whole gamut of activities in U.S. life where you are forced to interact with some highly  angry and sometimes violent people. That, over time, causes stress,” he said.

“I don’t experience that stress in Mexico. The inordinately toxic levels of what seems to be a politically constructed polarization in the United State has destroyed the country. It’s not my job to fix it. I’d rather live comfortably in Mexico.”

Just one person’s perspective…

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