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A new Spanish student’s worst nightmare…but no longer mine!

I have to share a couple brief anecdotes from my new employee orientation these past two days in Aguascalientes. But first, I must comment on how friendly everyone that I have met was. Everyone has been extremely kind, helpful, and patient with mi espanol. One highlight was the tour they gave me of the innards of our semiconductor assembly site, where I got to see the fastest machines ever connecting **real gold** bond wires that are thinner than hair from our semiconductors to bond pads. (And while I realize that many of you might not put that on your highlights list, you will just have to trust me that watching pick-and-place machines is wicked cool.) Needless to say, I had many opportunities to practice/improve my “technical Spanish”…

The main highlight was how I almost had to laugh several times when I found myself in the following scenarios that probably would have given me a panic attack/heart palpitations, had you told me 6 months ago that I might ever experience them:

  1. My second appointment after I arrived on Monday was with the site doctor for a simple medical history discussion. In reality, though, it was basically a test of my medical Spanish, an area which I have not studied extensively (shock). I was quite proud of myself because I managed to answer all of the questions except one or two without needing her to rephrase them (just into different Spanish, mind you). Anyway, you have to appreciate kicking off your new job with the relaxing process of talking about your sexual history and, uh, “women’s stuff”…in a different language…with a stranger…who happens to work for your employer. Sweet.
  2. This morning, I had a meeting with a really nice engineer who described to me the role of the mold compound in the packaging process. In Spanish. And then another meeting with an engineer who told me about how we put the labels on the semiconductor packages & separate their pins. In Spanish. And then another meeting about Environment, Safety, & Health with another engineer who was really passionate about his work and told me all about what his job entails–ranging from making sure people are not using chemicals that could kill everyone in the immediate vicinity to teaching people why it’s worth recycling. In Spanish. 
    BUT the weird thing was– a) I actually found all of the meetings really interesting (VERIFCATION: I’m a dork), and b) I actually understood the majority of them & was able to ask semi-relevant questions (VERIFICATION: maybe I am actually making progress learning Spanish)!!!

Of course, if you asked the all the people I met with, they may beg to differ regarding my Spanish skill level, but that’s ok. For at least today, instead of a common Mexican second-grader, I am feeling like maybe a Mexican third grader who attends the technology-focused elementary school. And that, mis amigos, is muy bien.

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  1. Marcella (Carmann) Young says:

    Julie & John, your Mom shared this website with me after I inquired about your travels and adventures. I just got on it & am thoroughly enjoying reading it. My friend, Don Klingeloefer, from Amherst originally also lives in Mexico City. He’s here visiting me now for a few weeks doing some legal things with his Mom’s estate. He’ll be going home next week.
    You write about your adventures so nicely and great pictures!! Keep up the good work and I’ll comment more if you don’t mind. I love to travel but Europe’s as far as I’ve been when my son was stationed there with the Army 20 yrs ago. You keep up the good work with the Spanish. Everyone needs it in this world today. Wish I wasn’t so old, I’d try to learn too. Take Care. Marcella

  2. Larry Lambert says:


    My son Greg is a T-Bird. We live in Mazatlan now but he’s working in Guam for SAB Miller. I passed your site along to him. Hope you don’t mind. This really is quite a wonderful place, isn’t it.


    Larry Lambert

    p.s. I’m sure your Spanish is much more advanced than mine, even though we’ve been here over two years. We live in an all Mexican colonia but the neighbors all want to practice their English. Not a help.

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