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.
Blog powered by Typepad

« Triumph, with a Side of Gloating. | Main | Three of Us Went Out and Had a Ball! »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Oh wow. That is so much to be dealing with all at once. I'm especially sorry about your Grandmother. It is so hard to be away when stuff like that happens. I am glad you like Chengdu though. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Thinking of you.


I am so sorry that so much has jumped all over you at one! I have missed your blogging, but real life is more important, and I understand.. I just wish real life were being more gentle to you and your family right now. Condolences on the loss of your grandmother, and I am also sorry to hear of the loss of your children. I cannot fathom.
I am glad to hear that you like your new home city and hope your unhappy son comes around. Hopefully all the cooties will let up too. We didn't have a problem arriving in Cairo, but here in Jordan, we had about 4 months of constant illness upon arrival... not helped by our missing the flu shots that year... and yet, very little ever since! I believe that life it like a river that we are floating down, some patches are smooth and mild, most are, but some get dangerous, dark, deep, fast, and swirling. It seems you're going through one of those right now... hold on to your intertube, keep your head up, and keep paddling! You'll get through this! I'm looking forward to seeing photos of you and your family at your new post.. any squirrels or ducks?? ... and hearing more about the delicious food too. (((hugs!))))


Oh man, I don't even know what to say. This post made me cry. I'm so sorry that things have been difficult for you guys so far. I am glad though that there are good things to speak of in the midst of the bad, and I hope the list of bad shrinks as the good list increases. Big hugs from Guinea!


Glad to see you blogging again. I miss you and the sushi club!

Regarding what to be when you grow up: just take the d@mn test! The process takes a long time, and passing doesn't mean you have to take the job. Taking the job doesn't mean you have to stay in it.

And really, only the most insane really LIKE visits. Nobody wants any of those jobs!


So sorry about your Grandmother. And the sick. We are in the same boat with the sick. Six family members, pretty much at least one of us is sick at all times. We also did not bring enough medicine, but they are very generous in the med office. Here's to good health and peaceful holidays.

Sarah Green

You are dealing with so much! And all at one time... very difficult. We have had 4 miscarriages, and a daughter who died the day she was born. I know how hard that all is, especially away from whatever your usual coping mechanisms are (I like to visit her grave, and not being physically able to is difficult.)

I do hope you are able to return to good health soon and I imagine that everything will be easier once you're feeling good again. After all, it sure makes everything harder when you're sick.

Keep blogging! Maybe it will help to have us all listening!

And I'm glad you like your post. And having nice, supportive people is huge. The people here in Moscow have all been great as well, and it makes it nice on the drearier days that come.

Hugs to you!


Kolbi, you're in my thoughts and prayers. Adjusting to a new place is so very hard, especially the first time like this. The illness is all too common and so miserable. We were like that our first post in the Philippines. It took months before everyone was at work/school at the same time. Yes, you're in my thoughts. And I hope that Christmas brings joy for your WHOLE family.

Matt Keene

So glad to hear from you, so sad about your grandmother and myriad other issues. Just know you and James and the boys are in my heart and prayers. Keep the faith!


What a tough bunch of things all at once! Sending you hugs and hoping you get through the next days and weeks and morale does indeed improve. Many sympathies on the loss of your grandmother, and I am so sorry you haven't been able to be there with your family for the final goodbyes. That just sucks, there's no way to put a good spin on it. (And I am one of those strange people who actually really loves visits and thrives on even the mundane tasks and adrenaline of busy days and sleepless nights. For a few days, and then I crash.)

naoma lee

If you can survive the FIRST part of your post, you can survive ANYTHING!

And I honestly do believe that each and every one of us can claim at least one of our overseas posts as a pure 'survival' post...where making it through each day and all that comes with it is success in and of itself. (I 'surivived' Uganda...all else is downhill).

One year from now, things will look really different. And you'll be hosting the newcomers (who've cried over the insanity that is the first few months at a new post) at your home for a true American-style Thanksgiving. And they'll be so grateful for your warmth & hospitality.

I'm sorry for all of the BIG, BIG things you've had to shoulder on top of the basic culture shock/"Welcome to's your Cipro" type of stuff. I'm sure that the more serious issues have only made the culture shock feel worse.

May all settle down for you and smooth out shortly. It's good to hear from you again. Thanks for being so transparent. You've been missed.



Oh Kolbi, my heart goes out to you and your family. I'm so sorry for your losses. I'm so sorry you have all been so sick, and amazed that you are able to love Chengdu in spite of that. The pluses in your corner are many, and I believe like many others here that adjustment and healthiness are right around the corner. Big hugs from here.


I've been thinking about you guys and wondering how you are adjusting to life in Chengdu. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother and not being able to attend her funeral and about your health problems. I hope you all feel better really soon. Reading about the babies you have lost broke my heart. All of this is altogether too much to deal with on top of culture shock.

It is a blessing that you are surrounded by supportive people. That does make a difference. It's also terrific that you like China and Chengdu. Here's hoping that the boy that doesn't like warms up to it soon. Sending you good healthy vibes and big hugs...


So sorry to hear about your Grandmother!! Wish you could be closer to family right now. Hang in there!! Also, going to the States for R&R next week. Anything I can pick up and send to you? Favorite food? Meds?


Kolbi, my heart goes out to you for your losses, both past and present. I hope things get easier soon.

Just to throw this into the pot of ideas, my husband will soon be a trailing EFM (Jan 17th is my A-100!) and he is a website designer. He works entirely from home, makes a fine salary and can work anywhere in the world. With your design skills and obvious attention to detail, if you picked up some computer programming skills and started building websites to add to a portfolio, that would be a fine option.

I'm happy to put you in touch with him if you are curious about what he does or how he got into it.


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. 

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!
free counters
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