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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Sara Roy

I have a feeling you're not going to be fond of FSI when you leave (or maybe you're already not fond of FSI).

A Daring Adventure


I'm quite fond of what they do well. I have blogged many times about how amazing my teachers are, how well the Chinese program is managed, and how excellent the program materials are. I have also blogged about how brilliant some of our classmates are, and how grateful I am to be able to be in the program alongside of James.

I am not fond of what they do not do well. In this, I feel that I am very honest and balaced.


I fully agree with your perspective. I understand booting cars that are illegally parked in handicapped spaces, or egregiously double-parked by the pedestrian gates. But for those poor souls who have PAID for parking and show up to find NO spaces... and who chose the best compromise by parallel parking on the lot periphery... FSI has failed to hold up its side of the parking "contract," if not legally at least morally.


So what have we learned from the "boot" incident?

1. Kolbi should always have her camera with her.

2. A man doing his job responsibly should not mind anyone watching or photographing him. Methinks there is something rotten going on here.


The parking at FSI is a disaster - there are far more students than there are spaces. That said, the cars parked parallel are a fire hazard, one for which the city of Arlington has cited more than once. I'd much rather have the firetrucks safely able to get to me (I've even had the opportunity to see a hook and ladder thwarted by the cars on the side) and have FSI promote better public transportation. Right now it's lose lose!


Oh boy don't get me started! This brings back so many bad memories. The booting started last spring while I was at FSI for language training. Same time they raised the daily rate to $5. The overflow lots are a pain, especially when you're late, and they've become so authoritarian about the main lots. I was so angry one day, and there were people out there guarding against the parallel parking, that I drove in circles for 75 minutes before someone left me their spot. I wasted time, gas, money, damaged the environment, and was late for class. But it made me feel a teensy bit better in a strange way. The whole situation is outrageous. I hear you. Completely.


I am glad you have blogged about this. The situation is ridiculous and there is absolutely NO reason someone who has paid for parking should be penalized for the lack of parking! Hopefully, someone higher up will see your post and decide some changes for the better need to be made! Maintenance man, yell away because there are a LOT of us standing next to Kolbi supporting her!


that's not right. I wonder if they are working on alternatives. I'm grateful my schedule gets me there early or I'd be tearing out my hair.

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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