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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I love your photography and MISS flowers soooo badly. I am in love with all your photos of "greenspace". Thanks for reminding me that the whole world is not a desert!!! I hope you are doing very well~


thank you for another beautiful flower post and for recognizing the beauty of the state of Virginia! I am from Maryland but often feel a little disappointed at the lack of love that FS folks express for my home area- it is gorgeous! (btw, it's Virginians.)

FSO Hopeful

Oh my gosh, the fire ants in Texas are awful. They had a picnic on my feet the other night when I took the dogs out.

I'm glad you're enjoying Virginia, Kolbi. Thanks for posting these great photos!


So glad you didn't disappear! Sorry I'm late with regard to all of the drama. Eek! Hope all is well. Thanks for pics of VA. :)


Yay! Okay, think the Daisy is an ox-eye daisy. Thank you, thank you, this will tide me over til we get there in 3 weeks!


Isn't it gorgeous there? The one summer we spent there in Warrenton, our house was less than ideal, but the saving grace was there was a rails to trails trail right in front of our house. We spent hours everyday riding bikes and walking on the trail and picking wild strawberries, wineberries, and blackberries. The wild roses were stunning. Especially after the baked brown that is a south Texas summer. Still love Texas though even if our grass is tough and prickly like Florida's, isn't that silky stuff grand? And fire ants are definitely one thing I DON"T miss about home!

I am NOT an expert on Virginia wildflowers and trees but here are my best guesses. 1st tree some sort of maple, leaves look like the Canadian flag to me. The second tree we call a sweet gum in Texas, my kids loved this one when they were kids because the leaves looked like tree-stars from The Land Before Time.

Now the flowers: The first one I agree looks like a daisy to me. Of course daisies wither and die in the Texas summer heat so what do I know? The pinkish daisy thing is echinacea. The other purple flowers is some sort salvia (flowering sage-NOT the type you eat), the yellow flower is a day lilly, and the white flower a type of hydrangea. I like this type of hydrangea so much better than the big round snowball flowers.

I will look later on for a wild flower site for you. Go enjoy the beauty.


The last two flowers are day lily (the yellow one), and hydrangea (the white one). Both come in amazing array of colors and last quite awhile. Enjoy the flowers!


Gorgeous photos, as always! I'm a Virginian, born and bred, and right about now as we're slipping into winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, I'm missing late spring/early summer in Virginia! Thanks for the lovely reminders of "home!"


I love, love, love Virginia in the Springtime. It is green, lush, and just full of lovelies.

flower Philippine

Well, I definitely agree with you there, Virginia is really beautiful, wish I can visit there some other time. Thanks for sharing.



Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing :)

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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