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.
Blog powered by Typepad

« Homeschoolers in Public School: Day the Oneth | Main | In Which Matthew Isn't Stabbed and Other Interesting News (or: Boys & Guns) »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Love the coffee photos...awesome! And good for you for knowing what is a good fit for your family and what isn't!


I am so sorry public school and Zachary didn't click and that you can't take the finally available spot in Chinese class! Such a bummer!

I'm glad public school is working for Matthew though. The coffee thing is strange. Perhaps, it's just the adjustment from being home to going to school. Adjusting to new things can be exhausting!

Sending good vibes your way!


whew. Never a dull moment in the ADA household. Sorry things did not work out with school/Zachary and Chinese. But you know what's best for your family. Hope you find your groove soon. How great that Matthew is in a challenging Chinese class, too! That will be wonderful for him when you get there! All the best.


LOL! Matthew looks remarkably like Dakota in the morning. I think it is just teenagers. i have never understood why if all the research shows teens don't function well in the morning they insist on high school starting BEFORE elementary. Seems a little sadistic.

Sorry about chinese. maybe you and Zachary could work your way through rosetta stone this year. Something is better than nothing. Glad you are there for Zachary when the school didn't work out.


I am sorry that elementary and chinese did not work out as planned... but it worked out, and you sound relieved to be settling in and figuring out what's going on. It may not be what was planned, but it's progress. Love the sleepy teen photos :D ... I'm going to go read your note to MY coffee now. (btw, I am totally with Matthew about breakfast.. I hate eating in the morning and always have.)


Oh, wow. . . Lots of changes. . . what a rollercoaster ride!

(And, btw, we have that EXACT same dining room table/chairs in our oakwoody place. Are you renting furnished?)


My coffee does that to me, too. I keep trying, though - at least 3 or 4 times every morning, these days.

Glad you found a solution that works. This will be better, anyway. If you don't take Chinese now, you will have loads of opportunities to torture your husband at post ("Ask the lady if she sells arugula. What do you mean, you can't say 'arugula'?What were you doing in class all year, anyway?").


It is too bad you can't enroll in the FSI course with your husband. I am in China and have been using old FSI course modules to study Mandarin on my own. It is not ideal to do without a teacher, but the resource modules are great for listening and will give you a great head start for when you get to China. In Chengdu you should be able to hire a tutor very easily. The FSI materials can be found at and are available to the public through the public domain. They must have been made in the early 1980s as they make constant references to "comrades" and "street committees" that are not used in the Mainland anymore. So it is actually a great history lesson as well as language practice!


A big thumbs up to you for being such a "with it" mom to know & act upon what works for your boys. Even when what works for one kid doesn't work for the other & doesn't entirely work with the plan you had for yourself. Way to sift things through and make it work.



I've heard, but I've yet to confirm, that "they" want all bad drivers, aka high school students showing off for friends, parked and in school before the extra moving targets, aka elementary students waiting for buses, are out in force. Who knows, but I agree that it's evil to force teens to awaken before 9.

So impressed with your sacrifice for the sake of your son. May God reward you with the opportunity to learn Chinese later, and the ability to pick it up quickly.


I am sorry about the Chinese, but I know that it is important to make sure that your kids are taken care of.
The coffee pictures make me laugh.

Good luck with everything!


I know the feeling! I awake at 5:30am (Yawn!) to find Tia still asleep and Mya walking in her "Zombie mode" and for an hour I sit on my hands while they bump into each other making their own breakfast (ie: 1 choc chip waffle or poptart) and packing lunches. Arent they tired of me saying "Why dont you pack it the night before?" and "Dont forget to pack your lunch tonight" Somehow it takes Tia 30 min to get dressed and Mya like 2 seconds. Today we left earlier so Mya could get to the school store for Photography supplies. We just about had to CARRY Tia out! So frustrating. She is such a Diva in the morning! So then its me and the dog driving them to school while Sarah, Sophie and Parker sleep. When I get back I may get a nap for an hour before its time to school Sarah and Sophie (who is amazing at Math! She's catching on so fast!) and then onto Bunny time! and yardwork! 4 acres means it is never done. But we do love it. It is just soo ungodly HOT! Cant wait for cooler weather! Love your updates! Hang in there! ~Sam


Did you tell me Matthew will read MacBeth this year? I just saw that the ASC's touring company will perform MacBeth and Measure for Measure in Alexandria during January, so you can catch them without driving all the way to Staunton.



Ooooh! We love the ASC! Saw them in Florida last year (twice) and they are AMAZING.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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. 

Become a Fan

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!
free counters
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