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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Oreos?! BTW, remind me to tell you the worst story ever the next time we know, cuz you haven't heard enough!

Heather Dray

But you must feel oh so good knowing your clothes will be Downy fresh. And the Universe has been kind - we got to meet this week! :p

So, yeah. Bring it on!

If you do (inevitably) realize you forgot something, can it be pouched to you? Fingers crossed that's a yes.

Love the ice bag face diaper! Hope that lack of teeth is going well!

And of course... Good luck with pack out.


You're lucky you had a friend to sit with in that 1001 Ways to die overseas class. I thought I was going to pass out a few times. Could have used a little comic relief! Congrats on finishing everything and best wishes for your move!

A Daring Adventure

@ Kate - Oh, yes... I made light of it, but the 1001 Ways to Die class was most frightening.

@ Heather - I'm also so thrilled that we got to meet this week! And I don't know what can and cannot be pouched, but I'm pretty sure that if I forget something liquid or even liquidISH it's all over and I get no second chances.

And thank you - the teeth are healed! Had they not been healed and done and over with, I don't think I could have been lighthearted about it all, because at the time it was way wicked awful.

@ Jen - YES, OREOS, DON'T JUDGE ME!!! VELVEETA, TOO!!! **YOU** try to get my children to go to China without there being any certain junk food there!! :)

Can't wait to hear your story! <3


First thing I noticed in the pics was Oreo's also. It may not have been wise to post that as now I may end up begging you for some if I start having junk food withdrawals. :P

Sara Roy

After you hear about the stories of why the American's are in jail you won't feel bad or want to cry. You'll roll your eyes and call them a dumb ass for breaking the law (she says from experience).


Wow no doubt you have been insanely busy! Good luck with the pack out and the actual move! Cant wait to hear about the experience after arriving in China :)


Congrats on your Con-Gen graduation!

I totally feel your pain when it comes to consumables. We can have a supplemental shipment, but I STILL spent 3000. It hurt. A lot. One thing to keep in mind, do you have DPO there? If so, you can order from netgrocer. They'll ship pretty much everything except glass, perishables and I think liquids. The shipping is kind of high, but when you have a craving for Nutty Bars that just won't go away (my husband, not me), it's totally worth it.

Good luck with pack out and all that jazz!


Bring cereal, dude. It's, like, ten to twenty dollars a box here. No exaggeration. Though granted, most other things are so cheap, it kind of doesn't matter. Still, though....


One thing I wish I'd brought from home is dental floss. I found some here, but it wasn't very good.
My favorite appliance I brought was my breadmaker. I'm not a fan of Chinese bread. Something about it just tastes a little weird. And they don't believe in whole wheat here, btw. Everything is white.


congrats on finishing congen! Love the picture. Good luck w packout- I will expect photos! hugs.


Congrats on surviving Chinese, ConGen and 1001 ways to die overseas. You are now officially ready to go overseas, right? After, you pack out that is. Keep your fingers crossed for James and I at the American Citizens Services exam tomorrow! We were on the same team for our Emergency Management exercise today. He was the head of our landslide task force and did great!


I hate to throw a damper on things, given that you're doing so well with shopping and all, but I have to wonder, "Where does one store a 2-year wall of toilet paper while each roll is awaiting its turn at immortality?"

I'm looking around, and I'm not seeing anyplace to put it here, and I'm thinking you said your apartment wasn't all that big?

No doubt there must be room in one of those State Department Toilet Paper Closets we've heard so much about?


congrats on completing ConGen ... and will be crossing all fingers/toes that pack out goes super smooth for ya'all. Safe travels.. (and I know I owe you another long email .. which is coming, I promise)...

thinking about consular adjudicator

Hi there, I stumbled across your blog because I was looking for more info on Consular Adjudicator positions as I'm thinking about applying for one. (I was in China for 5 years, and seeing that there's nothing for me here, I'm ready to go back!) I agree with what you say in that post about that, that it doesn't make sense for State to not consider hiring you when you're going to be there anyway.

Anyway -- I wanted to say that you guys didn't need to buy and send over so much Quaker oatmeal; they now have oatmeal in the supermarkets! (And yes even oatmeal with the Quaker brand!) Maybe not with the flavorings added. It might be easier just to ship the flavors / condiments you like and buy regular oatmeal there. But seeing as you've already bought all that... just head to your local supermarket for more when you run out!

thinking about consular adjudicator

They have Oreos and Pringles too -- but the Velveeta is a smart move!

Nomads By Nature

I am giggling at your tweets! I too have spoken Chinese to someone in the U.S. with no conscious thought at what I was doing (poor checkout lady at the register) And I have had the consumable packing joys where 4 carts over flowing with TP (after family usage calculations including anticipated GI issues, company, and parties). People just parted the ways in total disbelief as we tried not to take out any displays or fellow customers on the way to check out. God willing everything arrives without drama (personally speaking drama is not fun when mega bucks and hours shopping during homeleave/R&R may have been wasted -- happy ending so no freaking out). When you are finally all on the flight: luggage checked in, plane wheeling away from the gate, everything shipped or posted.... it is a WONDERFUL feeling of bliss. Hang in there! You are totally rocking 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. 

Become a Fan

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