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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« A Dire Warning (or: Is it Too Late to Say NO to the Whole Chengdu, China Thing?) | Main | I Have No CLUE what the Farmer is Saying (or: I Really Don't Heart You, Rosetta Stone) »



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I do all the cooking, well almost all the cooking Dave is a great cook he just doesn't have the time to cook very often. And I always wear an apron because I ruin my clothes otherwise. I love your Mommy made aprons, maybe that is what I will ask Mom for this year. Let's hear it for 1800's marriages!


I am glad that Matthew's brain is still intact, always a good thing.

I love the apron. I am not a huge fan of Halloween, but I LOVE all the fall colors and pumpkins and decorations. I love the idea of books as decorations, what a great idea.


I love the books as decor idea and will start going through bookshelves now! Sorry your son has mange, hope he gets better soon ;) , but awesome about the Chinese class. So good for him. Oh, and the weird costumes don't always wait for the teen years, my adorable 7yo chose to be cute kitty this year, but her other choice was to be a zombie... that girl can roll her eyes back so that all you can see are the whites. (I offered to buy her a cauliflower for a 'brain' prop).


I've never gone all out in decorating our house for various holidays. I do ooh and aah the homes of others that are tastefully decorated but it just seems like so much work. I like simplicity and don't have room to store seasonal decorations, so I really liked your library books idea. You use them and then you return them, so you don't have to worry about storage, how cool is that?

Also, cudos to your oldest for his serious brains. He is already writing in Chinese! After only three weeks in class! Unbelievable! He is wicked smart!

And yeah, I know kids costumes get wackier as they grow but I am so not ready to say buh-bye to the cuteness. Hopefully, our daughter will agree on cute costumes for a couple more years...


Love the library book idea! And aprons?! You impress me.

We'll probably do either yeoman or ninjas this year. (We have bamboo "quarter staffs" and wooden katanas. Add black clothes or brown/green clothes.)

C9 is convinced that this apartment building will be a treasure trove of trick-or-treating. I dunno. Wanna bring your son over and join us for getting candy (and then hot cider?)


Matthew's chinese is AMAZING!!! It is so awesome he gets to learn the language before you get there!! I am thinking I might steal your decorating idea for my house!


This week's State Department Blog RoundUp is posted - and you're on it!


Thank you, and have a great weekend!

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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:
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