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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Jessica (Lindsey Mae's Blog)

Can I just say that I am SO JEALOUS! I ACHE for snow. Meanwhile, it's a balmy 88 degrees outside, with a slight breeze here and there...

Nice for the Philippines, but it doesn't really feel like January!


Watch out for those falling branches! I've had a few around my house tonight. They can take down power lines.


I have no idea if this will work for you or not, but when I parked outside in Georgia a long time ago, I would put one of those cardboard sunshades on the outside of my windows. They were held in place by the windshield wipers stopped halfway up. Then I got really crazy (or smart) and hung a blanket on the driver's side window held in place by the window rolled up on it. Looked completely ridiculous, but I must admit to smugness when I didn't have to scrape windows in the morning. There might be a less ridiculous way to accomplish this, or maybe you don't even want to, but I wanted to let you know there are options.


OMG - LOOK at that snow!!! Beautiful ...

... and holy cow lady. No covered parking? Oh I can't even imagine what getting your car out tomorrow may be like...


Great shots, Kolbi!!! Enjoy the snow and hope everyone is stying safe~


Beautiful! I have so many pictures of tree branches lined with snow from Germany. There is something just magical about snow, especially if you grew up in Texas or Florida. Enjoy!


Thank you so much for sharing :) I LOVE (love love love) fresh snow on branches. So delicate and pretty.. and yes, I can easily ignore the damage this can wreak... I know that ice and snow can break branches, which take down power lines, block roads, etc. but it's such pretty havoc! Enjoy, and may you be blessed with either enough snow to stay home, or significantly better conditions to make driving safe tomorrow!


@Jeni -- I grew up in Idaho, and cardboard on the windshield is a good one. You can also just throw an old quilt over the whole front of the car at night, using the wipers to hold it down, and it keep the windows from frosting. If you have trouble with your engine freezing up, you can also put cardboard in front of your radiator -- helps keep the engine warm.

Another good thing to do (albeit a bit wasteful on fuel, although it's helpful in the long run) is to start your car about 20 minutes before you leave and let it run. Yes, idling wastes gas, but warming up the car engine is good for long-term care, as running a cold engine is hard on it. I used to start my car before doing my hair/makeup, and it's nice to get in a warm car with defrosted windows. Of course, I suppose someone could drive off in it, but that wasn't such a problem in rural Idaho...

Jean in Wisconsin

We in Wisconsin often have snow all winter long, but I fully understand your enchantment of the snow. There is nothing like a snowfall that sticks to everything and makes it a winter wonderland, is there? Enjoy!

Jean from "Shades of White"--named for my snow-covered landscape


Thank you for the beautiful pictures. It almost made me miss the snow - almost :) At least your hubby will be home to shovel you out but then maybe OPM will tighten that screw and just tell everyone to have a day to "study" and play. Enjoy the snow and please, whatever you do, please don't send it to the Middle East!


I think my favorite thing about a snowstorm is the hush that that it brings. You know what I mean? How all of the neighborhood suddenly seems somehow wrapped in bubble wrap? I can hear that hushfulness in your pictures. And yes, the snow making creaky branch noises....LOVE IT!!! Pour another cup of tea and savor it!


Sara Roy Intro blog for this week.


Gorgeous! It's much prettier than the view from our city apartment 10 flights down :)

Thanks for sharing!

Sara Roy

The Weekly State Department Roundup is out and you're on it! Check it out here:

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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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