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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Are you sure you weren't at a waterpark in Brazil? You know, it's against the rules for guys to wear swim trunks at water parks here. Dudes MUST wear speedos because they think it's unsanitary if you don't. This is why my family has not nor will go to a Brazilian waterpark.


Agree with your sentiments completely but I have to admit my swimming pool attire innocence is now lost since I have lived abroad.

Prepare for the rest of the world here is a secret I have learned from both Asia and Europe (shhh): ALL MEN WEAR SPEEDOS! Not kidding, those who should and shouldn't all wear speedos. In fact, it is against the rules to wear swim trunks in most pools. So you may want to pick up a speedo or three for your boys before you hit China if it is anything like the few Korean, Hong Kong, and Filipino pools I have been to. And don't get me started on Europe.

Oh, and if you are at getting the speedos you should probably pick up swim caps as well, they are usually required outside the U.S.


Wow, just Wow. I have a mental picture now that has completely ruined my appetite for the delicious dinner I am currently cooking.

And Kate, that is so funny. In Belgium they have that same rule for "sanitary reasons". Do germs and uhm, whatever, is in your shorts not get through Speedos? Is it REALLY only those openings around the legs that let that out? Where in world did your Ministry of Health people get their medical information anyway?


Oh my goodness, I am still laughing out loud as I type this. Although the pre-teen daughter part is soooo not funny. Great post none-the-less!

Monica DeLaCruz

omg. hilarious. the age-old bathing suit advice. it never, never gets old does it?? someone always needs a lesson! so funny. love your post and advice. oh, and btw - got to you from my friend over at cyberbones. ;o)

Sarah Green

I don't know what's funnier, your blog or the comments! And I find myself having culture shock of multiple countries all at once!! Also, I'm thankful it's getting cold here and that I don't have to see any speedos for awhile.


Okay, wait -- you used to weigh a hundred pounds more than you do now? As someone struggling to lose 60 pounds I TOTALLY want this story!

Also: went to a waterpark here in Virginia and HOLY CRAP those "cannot comprehend acceptable waterpark attire" folks are here too! I may never see well again...


Yeah, it's true - overseas speedos and g-strings are more of a norm. I grew up among people wearing that type of stuff to the beach, so I am used to it and it doesn't bother me. Topless is also OK all over most of Europe. I know I sound like a crazy European here in the US but believe me the shock does wear off after seeing it a few times. If I don't like what I see, I just look the other way...



HILARIOUS. That's you.

We prudish Americans used to be appalled by the sheer number of Europeans who regularly changed their clothes at the kiddy pool in Beijing. You'd be sitting there, minding your own business, and when you looked up, there's be some guy's naked butt directly in front of you, or his wife would be taking off her bikini top. And they'd just be chatting casually. Like they weren't half naked. At the KIDDIE POOL. Where there were kids. MY kids. And horrified Puritanical me.


I can't wait to hear about China!! Happy travels :)


Post appreciated!


In Israel, there was similar attire. There are certain images that will forever be burned in my brain (against my wishes), such as the 400 pound man wearing a Speedo with the cell phone tucked in the waist. Speedos are bad enough when the abdomen completely covers it, but sticking a cell phone in there just adds insult to injury!

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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.)
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