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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Yay! Glad you and the boys were able to get out and explore Beijing that day on your own even though you were jetlagged and China can be so overwhelming! Cant wait to read about the rest of the adventure :)


I am so, so impressed with you! I am always terrified when I arrive in a new city and I am sure that China would bring that to a new level. You had an adventure! You did it! Sending you big hugs, can't wait to hear about Chengdu.

Wow, what a day! Great photos, too.

I think so many of us can identify with that ride from the airport. It can be SO overwhelming when you are already exhausted and stressed beyond belief.


Terrific pictures of the Forbidden City!

BTW, I looked up that weird-shaped building, and it's the China Central Television headquarters. The architectural concept is that it gives a different perspective from every angle. Nice, but I don't think it will get tourists 500 years from now.


You all simple amaze me!!!


I'm sorry for admitting this, but I laughed (a lot) about the cab drive story. That happened to us A LOT when we first got to Cairo. Sounds like your cab drivers knew where they were going, however... not the case in Cairo.


SO thrilled that I can live China sitting down. From my chair. With my feet up. While I'm watching the ocean out the sliding glass door, and feeling safe and smug that there are no cabbies within a couple of miles, and that I actually don't have to talk to anyone at all. Ah, the privilege of having a brave, traveling daughter with a stellar camera and the blessed gift of story telling with humor and hooks. Traveling doesn't get any better than that. It actually doesn't even make my chest hurt much.


Wonderful! I'm so glad you got a blue sky day. What a crazy adventure but props to you guys for taking advantage anyway. I love the rock garden area at the back of the Forbidden City too. I think I have a photo in about that same spot :) You are awesome to get out and see the city even when you were tired. I'm glad Chengdu is treating you well too. Can't wait to hear more!

Sara Roy

We had a similar taxi experience in Beijing. We were with a German though and she got into a fight with the driver. I thought there were going to be punches thrown, but there never were. I'm so glad to hear you liked Beijing, I hope you get to go back.

Mirella McCracken

Hi, I just found your blog and love it! Am an EFM too and a blogger, but I never had the courage to blog about our tough life. We are in Sudan now and I am filing an EFM job. The best part are the R&R lol lol
Good luck in China!


It's been so fun to catch up with you and your family over the last few posts - you are in China! I can't wait to read all about it :)


I love seeing your pics, hearing your adventures. . . when are we going to get more?!

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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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