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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Oh, my dear new Chengdu woman! I just had a heart attack and went to heaven. I've been looking for these all my life!

The only thing better than your proposed logo is this one that says:

my lobotomy did wonders for my morale... no more crazy feminist talk from me!

Casserole vs. Lobotomy - it's a no brainer, hah!


I am a new EFM (My husband just finished A-100, 163rd class and started training on Monday) and the idea of a collaborative EFM cookbook sounds awesome! I know I would certainly share many of my own recipes.

I really appreciate your blog and have been creeping for the past 4-5 months or so since we got the offer and A-100 date. Thank you for all the great information on life as an EFM and tips on persistence when dealing with getting into FSI classes and such!


Funny, funny Kolbi. :)

Prior to our move to Kenya I began following a blog called "Africa Expat Wives Club". I have to admit that it was the logo at the top if her page that I found the most entertaining. (sorry no link...on an iPod that's just one too many steps). Go look at it.

And, don't berate me for this, but over the years I've heard this type of chatter about being 'just an EFM' come around a lot. Though I fully grasp the frustration of being attached to that nauseating title & the possible resentment that could come from putting life in hold (for decades) while significant other pursues career,etc, etc, etc - I have to say that being 'just an EFM' has afforded me some privileges I never would have had otherwise. Personally speaking, as I weigh an EFM life vs. A non-EFM life I think I'd choose the role I'm in. Over time & as this crazy journey goes on I may balk a little more. For now, hiring someone to make casseroles for me ain't so bad.


Well, Julia Child was "just" an EFM. I remember a part from that movie, Julie and Julia, where she was complaining that all the other wives wanted to do nothing but shop and have dresses made. I think that might count as being "just" an EFM.


Hey, I am a very important part of my husband's career. Why, just this week I had the highly esteemed honor of decorating his office door for Halloween with famous paintings turned zombie. Too bad I was hanging up the Obama Hope painting-turned-zombie right as the ambassador walked by. This is why I am an EFM FAIL.


I still want to know what happened (this time)... as in rubbed the "JUST AN EFM" stud in you face. I am with Naoma, I love having the ability to stay home and do what ever I want all day....BUT if I had had to leave a job that I loved behind, a job I had trained for and excelled at I would be PISSED at this role. Instead it make being a "just housewife" almost socially acceptable.

k @ there is fun to be done

I'm totally behind the EFM cookbook!!! Being just an EFM I have been entertaining myself by experimenting with local (and cheap!) ingredients, this past week it was nopal (cactus). In gumbo and fritter form - yum!


Ok, this one was TOOO good to not share!

BEFORE you click on it know that i use my curse words sparingly. Yet, when I do use them, they most often have to do with the crazy lifestyle which we all 'enjoy'.

Also, isn't there a logo for the Stepford Wives' out there somewhere that we can borrow? Because i swear i've had a few of them for neighbors here and there around the world....



I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately, so I'm delighted to see you made it to China! Welcome! And can I just say that the magnets definitely work for those of us who are non-EFMs but of a similar variety - the expat "trailing spouses." Hey, at least you EFMs have the advantage of getting actual non-ESL teacher work at your posts if you want it!

Heather Dray

I actually heard someone refer to my job as 'just an EFM job'.

Dude. I save lives.

Never mind that it was a position advertised mission-community-wide. But really! If 'just an EFM job' isn't worthwhile, then why even offer them??!! So unfair to refer to ANY position with 'just' in it. GRRR.

But then I remember that most people don't mean to be snotty and most say some things and it comes out wrong. I've done it. So I try to cut them some slack.

Especially if I'm saving their life.

Mrs. Valdysses

I love the idea of a cook book! I need to know how to make cookies without brown sugar, and cornbread from scratch.

I am a new EFM (in the throws of pack-out for the 164th) and I will be "just an EFM." I have made grand plans to become domestic, that I know will deteriorate quickly and leave me eating bonbons and catching up on the Guiding Light if I don't find something to do.

In the meantime, I guess this will be my guide...


See, Heather Dray (love your name), that's what I'm talking about. You're an EFM, and you get to save lives. In my book there's no such thing as a "just an EFM job." Us non-Embassy affiliated trailing spouses can only dream about that EFM job. Trust me, I'm jealous. Maybe also upset because an EFM came along and got the embassy RN job I wanted here in Beijing. :)

Nomads By Nature

Kolbi, sorry to hear that you are all under the weather there. When we had 'the cough' in Beijing, the ayi brought us a glass bottle of Asian pear syrup. It worked wonders!!! Could somebody there help you score a bottle? That and hot toddies!! Hope you are feeling better soon.


OK I had to come back and comment again. Some days I am so glad to be "JUST an EFM" Like today when David's off at a representational event wearing a suit outside in the hottest part of the year while I am at home sipping a glass of wine and waiting for the brownies to finish baking. I couldn't be happier to NOT be standing around making nice-nice while wearing something horribly uncomfortable and feeling my make up slowly run down my face from sweat.

Jessica (Lindsey Mae's Blog)

Love them all!

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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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