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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Love the post. eQip is a complete pain, but what is really scarry is, it is easier than whay they had before. I think I found your tags funnier than your post. I never noticed the "Kill Me Now" and "People are Insane". I think I'm going to have to steal those.

Hang in there and tell 7 hi.

James V

LOL...ah, EQip! If it's any consolation, the process will be much easier the next time around since all your info. is saved...


When my friend was filling out EQip at my house, she was dealing with a lot of the same junk. (Seriously I don't get why there isn't an option for not working for a bit since there are loads of places where EFMs can't work. Lame.) We were making up all kinds of junk for those boxes. I hope you get the job you want when everything is said and done.

LOL, this was hilarious! And thank you for giving me yet another reason to never apply for an EFM job--I have a list going that I'll have to blog about some time--

Connie Reed

Oh MY! This is frustratingly hilarious! Seriously though... the programmers for eQuip need to link to this post ;D


Oh man, what a hilarious/frustrating story. I about threw the computer out the window a few times per minute when completing mine. That thing is the worst!


I guess they feel if they DON'T force an answer people will just leave a bunch of boxes blank. It's stupid, I know. I think your answers were quite fitting... in a backwards archaic way that fits the backwards archaic form.

Matt Keene

I can't stop laughing. That's about the funniest thing I've ever read!

Old Timer

Ehh... I think they're using the traditional definition for "self-employed." Theirs is more like actually working and receiving salary, W-2/1099, etc, which a house-person doesn't get. If you would have chosen "unemployed" instead of "self-employed," you'd only need to list a someone who could verify your means of support during the unemployed period. But then you wouldn't have had this story :)

A Daring Adventure

Hello, Old Timer,

I would imagine that you are a zillion times more familiar with e-Quip than I am... but I did want to come on and say that I looked and looked and looked (and my husband was right there with me) for some way to not have to fill out the Employment part (as in - for some way to say that I was unemployed), and I found no way to do that. Which isn't to say that it wasn't there... but I sure couldn't find it. I was forced to list my Employment for the last 10 years without any gaps, and I found no way to avoid having to do that.


love it!


Bear in mind that E-Quip is software indeeded for government-wide use, not something designed solely to torture Eligible Family Members.

There are lots of exceptional circumstances that don't ever quite fit into their little boxes, which is why it helps to not be too literal-minded when completing it.


Can't stop giggling at the "sexual harassment." That better not go on his EER!


Was there there an option for "saved the US Taxpayer approx. $100,000 YTD by teaching my children myself"?
That was a great story!

Sara Roy

I hated filling out eQuip for my clearance. Sorry you had to do that.

Jessica (Lindsey Mae's Blog)

Love it! Also love that this conversation will probably take place between me and my husband in the future. :) You can add me to the blogger map for Manila if you'd like. Our time here is from April 2010 to March 2012.


Hello from India! It's Karin from ConGen. I just stumbled across your blog (another blog had a link to it). I hope you are all doing well in China, and I hope the battle with E-Quip has been won.


I beg to differ with James V ... e-Quip ALWAYS sucks ... and our orders were kicked back 3 times this last year because it's antiquated and back-asswards.

No surprise you wanted to commit harry-carry afterwards!

The comments to this entry are closed.

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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