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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Congrats! You rock.


We are all darn proud of you! PS, I outscored my husband on a language test once *cough* though it sure wasn't Chinese!


I never in my small little mind thought for one fraction of one second that you wouldn't pass. Moreover, I KNEW deep within the bottom of my heart that not only would you pass, but you'd pass with FLYING colors.

The reality is that I, and everybody else, believed in you. So happy. So PROUD that you did too... xx


Congrats on passing your language test!!!! And you'll love ConGen - it's great and the instructors are awesome!

I'll take mine...

Congratulations!!! You have earned every bragging right!


Awesome! When I heard your score I thought "Yeah! Time to burn some books!" Looks like you have plenty. Congrats, congrats, congrats. Chinese is no small feat. Your are awesome!


And I can't spell. You are still awesome! And thanks for the lead on Skritter. I have loved using it.


Yes, you awesomeness, you did it! Let the "happily ever after" begin. Enjoy ConGen! I apparently somehow did not make it into the class that starts on Wednesday but am now hoping to be able to get into the one that starts on 7/7.

Nomads By Nature

My Dear "Not Completely Stupid"
Congratulations on knocking your exam (and the haters that preceded said feat) out of the park. Your celebratory picture is inspiring to all under-rated EFMs and should be made into a subculture t-shirt within the FS. Rock on, NCS! Rock on!
Random EFM


Woohoo!! Big congratulations to you!


Well, I said this on Facebook, but congrats again!

Also, your reading level is now officially better than mine, so I'm going to send anything I need read to you. Wouldn't want you to get out of practice, or anything. Ahem.

*may not have used Skritter once since arriving in China, because she is phenomenally lazy*


GO YOU!!! That rocks!!!
Chengdu is our 2nd stop so I'm looking forward to reading y'all's adventures there!


Whoop-Whoop! Congrats!! It's fantastic when hard work pays off!


You rock. As I said on Facebook. I got the same reaction when I wanted to take Serbian and I rocked too. EFMs can do! Thanks for representing us so well!


Congratulations! You are awesome.

BTW, we are now in the DC area (I took a DoD job). Which means I kind of gave up on getting into State, but oh well. Those are da breaks.

I am overwhelmed by your awesome awesomeness with Chinese! Yay!!


I know Chinese is probably the last thing you want to hear right now, but gongxi gongxi!!! I don't know how you were able to drink from the firehose for so long, but you did it! The ninja squirrels on the sidebar also look quite awe-struck.

Heather Dray

Serious awesomeness! 'nuff said.


So happy for both you and your husband! Great job!!!

Nomads By Nature

You are on the weekly round up! You can find the post at If you have any objections or concerns please let me know! Have a great 4th of July weekend!


WOOHOO!!! I knew you could do it!! Way to kick some FSI butt!! Congratulations!!

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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