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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Whoa, your Chinese training sounds crazy! My head would hurt so bad with all of that information being forced inside.

I just subscribed to the DS email group (thank you Emily!) and am looking forward to the meeting next week!

Oh, and you're welcome to include me in your awesome map. We'll be in Conakry, Guinea next August.


I love this post! It is fun to learn more about your past as a Type A career woman! I'm also struck with the fact that you LOVE the Chinese language which really gives me hope. I am so glad you are doing well and thriving on it, despite the intense schedule. Sounds like you are kicking some butt! good luck!


The fact that you said this:

"I want to OWN the Chinese language and make it my beeyotch."

makes you my hero.

SugarMama TulipGirl

Insane! And amazing! And, wow!


Grownups! Oooo. Totally relate to that, but I'll not be taking Chinese just to talk to people over 5 feet tall in a day. Best of luck to you!


Good for you for tackling Chinese with so much gusto. I will be in your same boat soon enough. Can't wait to hear about your successes!


Yey for you! You have the right attitude and I think that making Chinese your beeyotch is only a matter of time!


The map is a great idea. I would like to be added. We are in DC while my husband attends A100. We find out next Friday where we will be going.
Our blog is


On the blogger map, I think my Milan pin should be purple instead of yellow. But maybe I'm confusing things. That happens a lot these days.


You are awesome! (Also a type A person here. No idea how I ended up homeschooling but it is right for us and I am glad I did it. And being around big people sounds pretty nice some days.)

I am glad you are loving Chinese. It is such a cool langauge. You will totally own it. That sounds like a crazy schedule. Can't wait to see you in DC next year.

If we take you guys out for some awesome Chinese or Taiwanese food will James put those crazy files on our ipod for my husband too?

SugarMama TulipGirl

Wow, Erica! I didn't realize another Flag Day was coming up so soon!

Kitty Non Grata

I'm in Phnom Penh, Cambodia now! The map is really cool!


You are going to totally rock Chinese! I am glad you get to go hang out with grown-ups all day long and even eat lunch with them! What a treat! I can just picture your family sitting around the dinner table with your homework in front of you, practicing and sharing all sorts of information. PS - I didn't see our flag in Jerusalem but it may be afraid of showing its face :)

Sara Roy

I'm so jealous that you get to learn the language before you go to post - so. jealous.

I'm glad you have help, and I'm super glad you like the language. It would super suck if you didn't.

I'm done using the word super. :)

Amy Pratt

Map is so NOT COOL. NZ isn't even on there. Can we be added Palheeze?
Love that you're rockin the Mandarin. Keep it up.


Hello--I'm posted to Colombo, Sri Lanka at the moment. Could you add me, please? Thanks for this!

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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:
A Daring Adventure's items Go to A Daring Adventure's photostream