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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Hmm. I've never seen a leaf vacuum and we're from Seattle, where there are quite a few(albeit damp) leaves. However, after my first NoVA fall, I really want my own leaf vacuum.


I haven't seen a leaf vacuum in years, and my neighborhood could really use one. I'm green with envy.

Sara Roy

I didn't get to see the leaf vacuum while we lived at Oakwood, thanks for showing pictures. :)Also, I look forward to hearing about your experiences in Mandarin, because I have every intention of learning Mandarin or Arabic with John when he learns.


That leaf vacuum is pretty cool. (And are the boys playing Killer Bunnies?) So good to hear from you all again!


Oh how I can't wait to live in a place that has 4 seasons! Those leaves? Oh how I miss them!

A Daring Adventure

@ Becky: Yes! The boys ARE playing Killer Bunnies! It was the first time my boys had ever seen this card game, and they *really* liked it. We'd never even heard of it before!

@ Jill: And we cannot wait for you to live in a place with four seasons, either! ;)

@ Sara: Spouse language training blog post is imminent...

@ TSB and Kate: Thank you! I feel better now about feeling like those leaf vacuum things are such a curiosity!


SO GLAD Chinese has not killed your sense of humor! I always enjoy reading your blogs! I love the leaf vacuum thing! I am glad you caught a picture of it. I don't think I ever saw one in NH when we lived there so maybe it is an NoVA thing.


I missed your blog posts. Glad to hear you are doing well, though very busy. Looking forward to the language blog post as I am now working on Hindi with Rosetta Stone but hoping to get into a class at FSI next year.

I had never seem the leaves vacuums until we moved to Falls Church. They are pretty neat actually.


you are so entertaining Kolbi...thanks.
Glad your move is over, hope you can relax for a while. Right...


We missed you! You were gone FOREVER! But you shared ninja squirrel photos, plus, posted all those adorable animal photos in your sidebar, including the "awwwwwwwpaandaaaaas!" for us (Honor and I) to enjoy, and then it was like you were never gone. Sorry the move was a headache, but it's done. Tadaa! Welcome back :)


So glad that you are alive and well(?). . . was starting to wonder. . .


YOu know, I have never seen a leaf vacuum, and I lived in NoVA for a few years. I feel deprived.
Yes, you were missed. I am glad you guys are still alive. I love the picture with James and the little girl. It is amazing how much kids can make people smile. I love it!

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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