This is us.  The one showing lots of shoulder (in her Chengdu, China Marine Ball ball gown!) is the EFM who writes this blog. The one wearing a tux (James) is the employee who moves her (and their two sons) around all over the world. The red link, below, is how you can get in touch with me...

The time in Chengdu, China

Chengdu: city of fabulous food and beautiful Buddhist monasteries!
Yes, Beijing's Forbidden City (pictured, above) is really pretty and all, but I like Chengdu much better than Beijing!

In Our Same Boat (with State)

  • Beyond the Cornfields
    Brand-new State Department family in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Love their two little girls (she just recently had a baby while being posted in Dhaka), horticulture, traveling and adventure!
  • Email From The Embassy
    State Department family formerly in Beijing, China, and recently posted to Amman, Jordan. A trailing spouse, she's also a writer, and frequently publishes articles with major news sources. A very experienced State family, this new post is something like overseas post number six or seven for them.
  • Just US
    A beautiful family of seven - they have arrived at their new post: Jerusalem! They just finished off an unaccompanied tour to Iraq and are very much looking forward to sightseeing around the middle east.
  • Our Life
    State Department family on their second post...Tijuana, Mexico. It's their first overseas assignment and they have two little boys. They love Tijuana so far and post pictures frequently! They also get to enjoy the best of both worlds for they can sneak over the border into San Diego when they want to!
  • The Dinoia Family
    State Department family formerly in California, now in DC for a DC tour. Next, the husband will do a one year unaccompanied tour. A very experienced State family (formerly in Iceland and Caracas) with a blog that has been around quite a while and has great archives. Jen has a sweet heart and a lot to give!
  • The Perlman Update
    State Department family formerly in Chennai, India, who then did a year-long unaccompanied tour in Iraq. They are now on a DC tour and after that will do another unaccompanied tour (Afghanistan). She totally tells it like it is and doesn't sugar-coat what life is really like. Witty, snarky, funny and down-to-earth. Look elsewhere if you want fake. Read if you want REAL.
  • Where in the World Am I?
    State Department family formerly in Bujumbura, Burundi and now in Hyderabad, India. They just had their first baby this summer - a beautiful little girl- (there's a separate blog about this) and she also eats gluten-free (with a separate blog, also).
One of the most intriguing things about Chengdu is that it is a seamless blend of ancient and modern... all together, side by side.

Can't Live Without (non-State)

  • Crass-Pollination: An ER blog
    The best ER nurse blog EVER!
  • Doctor Grumpy in the House
    The best doctor blog EVER!
  • In Which...
    My IRL friend, a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama of seven. Her darling daughters are, goshdarnit, probably too young to be hoped for as my future daughters-in-law.
  • The Crib Chick
    My IRL friend, a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama of five. Hopefully two (Any two! I'm not picky!) of which are my future daughters-in-law.
  • the underwear drawer
    An anesthesiologist who is possibly the most talented & entertaining writer ever. I've read her blog ever since she started medical school. No, don't know her in real life. Wish I did.
  • The Bloggess
    This blog is both hysterically funny and hilariously irreverent. I actually let my 17 year old son read it (who loves it as much as I do!), but wouldn't even CONSIDER letting my 12 year old son read it. Which is about all the description it needs!
The grounds of Chengdu monasteries can be very, very peaceful...even though they are smack dab in the heart of a city of millions of people.
Yes, there are Starbucks in Chengdu! All over the place, in fact. So much so, Starbucks even crafted mugs for Chengdu stores!
Texan bluebonnets. Because I learned during our very first posting (Houston) that there's nothing prettier in the spring than the meadows of Texas.
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Long time no see!

I don't want to sound like I'm trying to discount how difficult this transition must be for you and your boys. But just remember that this is a completely new experience for all of you. And just as with any new experience -- a new job, visiting a new country or city, the first months of a new marriage -- things are bound to be bumpy. It's new territory, and it's going to take you all -- yes even YOU! :-) -- a little time to adjust.

My family moved from NY to upstate NY just before I started 4th grade. I'm not going to lie -- it was AWFUL at first. I didn't know the rules, the taboos, even the slang was different (that's what happens when you go from a school that's 95% black/latino to one that's 98% caucasian. But it got better as I learned my way around and figured out how to be part of the school community.

I just wanted to give you some positive encouragement. Give it time, hang tough, give your boys big hugs at the end of the day and remind them how proud you are of them.


Well the good news is they survived the first day! And you are blogging today so you must have too. The bad news is that public school still sounds pretty much like...well.... public school. Sigh. And people wonder why I quit teaching.

On a different note we have skype if you ever want to try calling. I will find out from Dave how this works.


A saying I grew up with and have never tired of: The Public Are A Slob.


It will take time. Hang in there. Hope you can find yourself a Chinese class, too.


Yikes! That sounds like truly character-building first days at school. Bright side is it 'has' to get better - right?
I start A-100 on Monday, and I feel like it will be my first day of school in a long time too. Hope it is not like that though. A-100 IS public school too, after all!


Hey Kolbi! Glad to hear the boys survived their first day of school! Tia has now been to her first public high school PEP Rally and she says, "Wow, Mom, I'm not in Private Christian School anymore! I became painfully aware of this fact by the skanky cheerleaders, even skankier and scantilly clad dancers, and an "ODD" looking balloon that was batted around the stands when suddenly it flew over my head and rumors swirled that it was really a CONDOM and NOT a Balloon!!! (gasp!)" Needless to say Tia was not batting at the "balloon" or cheering on the cheerleaders/dancers. Mya said all that "training" from weaving thru crowds at Disney has prepared her for dodging school crowds and bolted from the gym as fast as she could. Pet therapy seems to be helping!


Thinking of you lady as your boys transition into their new school, you transition into your new home, and your hubby transitions into his new class.

So much going on - so much to tell you - holy cow it's been forever!

I'll send you a personal e-mail hopefully tomorrow - have only been online briefly here and there to do quick posts.

BTW, Matt broke his foot while wearing his vibram 5 fingers... about 3 weeks ago. He's finally able to stand on it w/o serious pain. More later... xx


Oh no! I sure hope day #2 goes a bit smoother for both boys! It is probably below both boy's reading level but the book "schooled" is a great read of a boy coming out of a 70's community into the real-world and school. They might enjoy it as they adjust as well.


Oh, wow. . . Whadda day for you ALL!

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James loves me. And our sons. And his job. But not having his picture taken. In 2011 he finished up over a year and half of training, and in the fall of 2011 we got to our first overseas post - Chengdu, China!
Mao says hi! Because Chengdu is one of the only cities in China with a Mao statue.
Flowers are like friends. Each one is unique. Each one is beautiful. They brighten up everything around them. And you can never have too many. 

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2012 is the Year of the Dragon, y'all! Talk about the ultimate in good luck! This kinda party only comes around once every twelve years!
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Colorful! (Inside a Chengdu ancient Buddhist monastery.)
Have I mentioned that I absolutely adore taking pictures? Here are some that I've taken recently:
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