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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Ohmygosh - you guys are in DC now! (Yeah, I've been out of touch for a while, completely losing myself in the joy of home leave.) If you like that BBQ joint, there are 2 even better meat-eatin' options just up the street from there. Ray's Hellburgers is a mere 100 yards or so away, and Ray's the Steaks is right next to the Courthouse metro. Both should not be missed (and both have some pretty tasty non-meat items for you too)!


aw thanks for the memories! Great Falls was a childhood hangout. Your photos are gorgeous. That one of you and your husband- exquisite. And yes, you and your eldest sure do look alike! I too hadn't noticed it until that pic, but wow.
Good to hear from you've been quiet since moving to VA!

rich kolker

Actually, I'll be in town in a couple of weeks for training, if you want to get together.

Oh...the possibilities!

I love the pictures! Your boys are very handsome! And the last one of you and your hubby is a terrific pic! Way to go Zachary!


Kolbi - thank you so much for this post and sharing the pictures of the family! You are so blessed! I definitely agree that the photo by Zachary is definitely frame-worthy!


Oh, K, you continue to flatter me :)

Another wonderful post. You have a beautiful, exciting family, and I can't tell you how much I look forward to seeing you all travel the world together. Your posts and adventures are truly inspiring, and I'll take all the inspiration I can get.

Thanks again,

FSO Hopeful

The 5th picture is amazing. The contrast of the different blues and greens is breathtaking! And I literally said, "Awww!" out loud at the pictures of you and your husband. So cute!


Oh, amazing photos! Truly amazing. And I love the ones of you and Mr. Daring, the wonder-hubby. Those two pics deserve a post all of their own.

I love the pics of the park! So pretty. We'll have to check it out next time we're back there. We hope your house sells quickly and you can just enjoy your time in DC without worrying about it. I hope training goes well too. Good luck! -Becky W.


We "heart" Red, Hot & Blue as half of we grew up in Memphis and lived and breathed barbecue for years and years. In fact, we over-indulged in a bit from the Annapolis location not too long ago....glad you guys are having fun!


That park looks amazing! And I love the pictures of you and James together. So cute! I will have to come back and reread this when the jet lag where off.


Great pics, we love Great Falls too... beautiful. Nice seeing your family pics! Ooo, and we have a gift certificate for that bbq joint and waiting for family coming into town to go. Now can't wait!

Happy 4th!


I'm glad you liked the park. Hiking the Billy Goat Trail is one of mine and Nick's favorite DC actvities. If you didn't do the trail this time, I suggest a return visit! :-)


Fabulous pictures of the park and your fam! I especially love the B/W ones of you with your hubby and then your son. One of the things I am most excited about doing while in the US of A is visiting National Parks. You go.


What fabulous pictures! I love the ones of your family together. What handsome guys in your life.
I love the one of you and James in such a cute "gushy" moment.
Definitely an "A" for photography!

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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