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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Very wise observation, and thank you for the poignancy. Want to come over for dinner on Friday? I should have all the HHE squared away by then. =D


this applies to anything...I've been in our neck of NY for 3 years and am realizing that if we leave, I haven't been to the Adirondacks, which was always on my list, and I haven't been to this and that...
This is good advice for any stage of life- get out there and see the sights and make the friends etc.
sorry about your house. That's sad to put so much work and love into it and then leave it.

Sarah Green

Such wise words. Since we're waiting around to hear about our med and security clearance, I've had the same realization and have been trying to invite people over every week, clean house or not. Of course, the benefit is that I'm more inclined to make a spot for people to sit when I know they're coming over! Oh, and we have projects that haven't been completed for 10 YEARS! Hello! I am so wishing I had done all those things long long ago. Live and learn.

I'm sure you've realized this, but all you can do now is move ahead with your chin up and ready to follow your own advice.

Best wished to you all!


I have definitely done that. Except I don't have people over because I don't cook and I don't clean well. Usually if we want to get together with people, we go out.
Good luck with the pack-out.

rich kolker

Life is too go ahead and do it. "It" can be whatever it is for you.

If you're one of the folks reading this who is on their way to an FS career, take advantage of your time in Washington. Not only the obvious stuff -- but get out of town and see the Civil War battlefields, go whitewater rafting on the Yough or tubing past Harper's Ferry. Visit not only Mount Vernon but Monticello and Madison's home and the many other places to see.

Life's too short.


Wise words. . .


Good advice. And when you get to a new city and start thinking of the touristy things or local entertainment, don't put off that stuff either. Two years hasn't been long enough for me to do everything I want to do in any of our posts so far.


Thank you for that great reminder!


I am really bad about that too, there are laways things I want to see and people I wish we had had over when it is timet o leave. I am getting better at it, and it is easier at post because eveyone has the same housing issues and same ugly furniture. Do we need to send you occasional reminders to entertain? If I remember you have that cool colorul fiesta ware that is just needing to be used. :)


Hey Kolbi, It looks like I will be homeschooling one of our kids. What curriculum have you used with the boys? I would have e-mailed you but this stupid computer (not a mac) hates me. Sorry.

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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