margaritas Time separation therapy: it's always time for a drink.

Gringo anxiety part of adapting to life in MX

Excessive exasperation used to require a lot of tequila

The process of adapting to life in Mexico is a cultural adventure, one of bewilderment yet discovery on a regular basis.


Early on I discovered I lived in a country where all the utility companies distrusted the national postal service to the extent that they hand-delivered their own monthly billings. This type of revelation generates trepidation in the average gringo.

“Should I trust that anything sent through the postal system will reach its destination in a timely manner?”

“How will I ever know when I win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes?”

Dilemmas such as these plagued my every waking moment before I received the help I needed. I got my life back by enrolling in the Acme Expat Immersion Therapy and Attitude Modification Program. I was diagnosed with a classic case of Gringo Anxiety Disorder.

Coping with the vagaries of the Mexican culture was taking its toll. But thanks to Acme I am able to deal with situations which in an earlier time produced excessive exasperation and required a significant quantity of tequila to assuage.

The Acme program taught me how to no longer be shocked by, but to appreciate the requirement of having to test light bulbs prior to purchase. I used to think to myself, “Do I look like the type who would attempt to return a burnt-out bulb?” Thanks to Acme, I am grateful for the opportunity to test the light bulbs I buy because it makes me confident that some pendejo has not exchanged a bad bulb for a good bulb.


Now when I shop for electronic devices and I’m told there is no guarantee past the front door, I fully understand that the same pendejo that would swap bulbs would want to return a cleverly disguised, non-working device which exudes a slight scent of burnt plastic.

Also, the cumbersome process of dealing with any government agency or large commercial institution in Mexico runs from terminal frustration to psychotic aggravation, both precursors to severe Gringo Anxiety Disorder. I used to be bothered by anxious thoughts: “Why doesn’t this line move? Why does it seem like time has stopped? It can’t be that hard.”

If the same convoluted process of registering a motor vehicle in Mexico existed anywhere in the States, there would be bloodshed. Gringos naturally expect all things in life to be properly expedited and professionally handled. If not checked, these types of cultural expectations can lead to acute Gringo Anxiety Disorder.

However, after completing Acme’s 12-step program, I am able to stand in a queue as well as any Mexican. It does, however, require a book, a snack, a water bottle and sometimes a lawn chair, but I can wait it out with the best of them and do it with a smile on my face.

Acme has helped me overcome the social stigmas deeply implanted by my previous culture and now I live a stress-free life in Mexico. A life without any complex social quandaries as to why things are they way they are.

A good life in Mexico requires an almost Zen-like level of cultural acceptance at any given moment. This is because in Mexico, anything or everything can change at any given moment without warning and it often does.

One of the most important steps in the Acme program is time separation therapy, which begins with disabling your wristwatch and permanently setting it at five o’clock. This helps to reprogram the mind to accept the notion that it is always time for an adult beverage. After a few weeks of this therapy, your anxiety is a thing of the past and then it’s time to lose the watch entirely.

So if your life in Mexico is plagued by insecurity, vexation or continuous mortification, you need to enroll today in the Acme Ex-pat Immersion Therapy and Attitude Modification Program. You will be glad you did.

Bodie Kellogg describes himself as a very middle-aged man who lives full-time in Mazatlán with a captured tourist woman and the ghost of a half wild dog. He can be reached at

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  • Mike S

    Bodie, Why are you Torturing yourself by living in Mexico? Are you a masochist? Get back north to your people…you are an unhappy man.

    • Interesado

      I disagree. He seems very happy and well adjusted.

      • ben

        yes & he is honest as well. that is lacking w/most expats.

    • cooncats

      Not at all. He has a lot of fun with the idiosycrasies of the place. He does a great job of seeing the lighter side of things.

    • ben

      hes right. they are backward. only those w/low self esteem think they deserve it.

  • Interesado

    The mail is certainly unreliable. I am waiting for tea since 2015 and there are 4 kilos in the system and no way to find them.

    • PatBorjeno

      4 kilos of….?

      • Interesado

        TEA ! That is what it says.

        • Huevos Fritos

          Sorry about! I read “…kilos lost in the system…” my train of thought derails and me think immediately black plastic packages with brown tape dumped on our shores from time to time. The ones reported, that is.

  • Vernon King

    Nah he is fine we just bitch for something to do. Although CFE (the power company) comes close to driving people insane.

  • frankania

    Good article. I had stomach ulcers from the stress of living and working in the USA. Then moved to Mexico, the land of MANIANA, and relaxed and was cured. The climate is great here in Cordoba, Ver. and life is busy, but good!

  • cooncats

    Bodie, you forgot the most important accessory of all, the Acme Little Wonder Instant Marguerita Maker!

  • kallen

    But you’re giving up by adapting to their system! George Bernard Shaw said it best: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Mexico needs to change (no, I’m not saying it needs to change like the US) and by adapting you’re short-circuiting that change.

    • Pat

      The system isn’t going to chance until MEXICANS decide it needs to change. It’s not up to us.

    • Garry Montgomery

      The hidalgos in control have the money and the suffering poor cannot fight that.

  • Garry Montgomery

    Yes, sadly Mexico has evolved from a state of slavery/semi-slavery since the Conquistadores whereby those at the lower levels of society had no control or say in anything. Some hijo d’algo (hidalgo) further up the chain made “it” the way it is and “he” is the only person who can change “it”. So, we just accept what is as “is”. 500 years of “is” takes a long time to remedy.

  • Mike S

    The difference between living in Mexico vs US is that in Mexico there are no rules but everything seems to work more or less. The US is all about rules and “standardization”. I would rather figure out which restaurants and street food are cheap, tasty ,and safe than eat in most franchise restaurants in the US. The board of health may give McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Shit in the Box, KFC, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Little Caesars- flying colors but the food is awful and will kill you in the long run. I prefer going to several small mom-and-pop specialty stores over Chinese retailer Walmart. The “great” US medical system kills 150,000 annually from “medical mistakes”. I usually order “items” shipped Fed Ex or similar with good luck. Internet and cell phones seem to work well in Mexico. Stress is much lower in Mexico. Weather, music, food, fishing, are all better in Mx. Small claims court works better in US. I don’t want the US to be like Mx and I certainly don’t want Mx to be like the US. Hard drugs are the biggest problem right now in both countries….one being a market of users with 60k overdose deaths last year and the other a violent organized crime supplier.

    • Dave Earle


    • ben

      you just admitted that mexico is a “violent organized crime supplier” thats waayssist!! how dare you.

  • Marcel Stierli

    The article, even I enjoyed it to read it, start as many other completely wrong: ‘Living in México…’ Every part of México have another kind of life style. If you live in the north, try to understand the Yucatecos and reverse. Somebody of veracruz have a completely other attitude as somebody from Chiapas.

  • Marco Leonardi

    Well, I enjoyed reading this article. I think it focuses on the main issues that make living in Mexico kind of hard for us, Americans. Nonetheless, Mexico has other good features that make life pleasant. I purchased a piece of land in the countryside and I don’t lack of anything. I do my shopping weekly and if I need to send or receive something I use FedEx. No hassle at all. Mexicans are friendly and helpful. Yes, waiting lines are slow and long, but that’s something I’m willing to accept. However, things in that regard are changing or perhaps I’m getting used to it? When I’m in Mexico, I celebrate my country’s holidays as always, but I also enjoy those mythical Mexican traditions. In that regard, my cultural world has expanded greatly. I love the United States with all my heart, but I’ve learned to appreciate other cultures’ values as well.

  • Dave Earle

    “Gringo anxiety part of adapting to life in MX” Are you kidding me? Maybe you should go back.
    And “Gringo” applies to US Americans.

    • Marco I Andraca

      I’m a US American from an Italian family. So, do I qualify in your eyes as a gringo?

      • Dave Earle

        That’s where you live.

        • Marco I Andraca

          I live in the US, but I bought a piece of property down the border. So, again, do I qualify as a gringo in your eyes?

          • Dave Earle

            “I live in the US”, then again, you are a Gringo. I don’t know where “down the border” is but it doesn’t matter.
            Not all foreigners living in Mexico are Gringos and if Mexicans ask I am happy to tell them I’m not.

  • Steve Galat

    Here in Puerto Aventuras, Q.R., the postman mounts his motorcycle and delivers mail (or claim receipts) daily. Estafeta delivers packages from distant Matamoros in just 4 – 6 days…..Bravo Jefazos!

  • Frothy Malt

    nicely done! enjoy gringo…..