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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Okay, I'm absolutely HYSTERICALLY laughing about this ... because seriously, I love little tushies as much as the next person. But those open crotched pants? Oh My! Just thanking my lucky stars that the adults aren't wearing them too!


Thank you for a truly candid, instructive, and hilarious post! If you are considering a portable career, you might want to think about... travel/humor writer!


I don't... I mean... WHAT???? Oh god I need to go take a xanax to deal with this post.

So my next question, upon being medicated, is whether adults do this too?


Yup, that's where my crunchiness ends. I can do just about anything else, but I tried EC (what these folks are doing) for about two days (with Nick, once I figured out what it was) and I realized I was going to be crunchy enough with cloth diapers.

You know, that was my other question about it...where DO the kids go (cause I know it's much bigger overseas) and voila, you answered it for me: everywhere! Yep, loved my BumGeniuses...good enough for me and my LG!

Canned pineapple juice...ha!

A Daring Adventure

hannah my dearest darling, the answer is NO. Thank GOD, adults do not wear split pants. They also do not poo on the sidewalks/airports/etc. I have seen one grown man urinating on the sidewalk, but I'm pretty sure he would be in the same parallel grouping as a homeless person in the US. It's certainly not done by 99.9% of the regular Chinese adults.

Once you are potty trained, you are expected to use the squatty potties, glorious as they are.

Bubba - thank you!

And Jill & Jen - as always - love you guys!


I hurt myself laughing! Kolbi, I would suggest that FSI/OBC hire you to write a real guide to China, but then you'll probably write real stuff like the consequences of split pants and all that may turn off people heading there.

I'd also propose a detached mudroom by the entryway for all houses where all shoes live and socialize after exploring those er glorious streets.


AHA! Always wondered why Eastern people tend to remove their shoes before entering their homes. Even if it is religious in nature, it's also utilitarian. Now it all makes sense.

Wonder if that has anything to do with the one-child law? It's self-imposed because they can only stand to potty train once?


So. . . who cleans it up? Do people just wait until the rain washes it away?

In Ukraine, the buildings/cities hired old babushkas to keep the sidewalks clean, etc... (not that Ukrainian kids have split pants -- and they wouldn't go just anywhere -- usually only near a building wall a bit more discreetly and out of people's way.) So, are little old Chinese ladies hired to clean this up? Or. . . is it just left out there?

(I already do NOT have China on my short list. . . but this verifies it is not a good fit for me!)


On the other hand, it's really handy (culturally) if you're potty training your toddler. I mean, the one or two (or more) times Penny had an accident in public, I don't think anyone even blinked. She did it once in McDonald's, and the lady at the counter just gave me some napkins and then called the lady with the mop. There was absolutely no freaking out. It's kind of nice.... like the one time we get less attention than we would in the US. ;) Great post!


Just when you think you can't be surprised, you learn about something like this. Wow. Speechless. =)


I no longer feel bad about my housekeeper sending my two year-old outside to play with just underwear on. At least there wasn't a SPLIT in it!

And now China is DEFINITELY off the list.


I am laughing so hard I am literally crying and David is looking at me like I have lost my mind. We are SO not bidding China.

Why do I have the feeling I have just sealed my fate and better start brushing up on my (nonexistent) Chinese?


I've led such a sheltered life that I've never heard of this. Many thanks for the, uh, enlightenment.


you just totally blew my mind right there.


Ha, loved the post! Here in India, perhaps because it's warm/hot almost year round many poor/homeless parents don't even bother putting pants on their little ones. So you often see babies/toddlers/children running around with no pants on. They may have a shirt on but not always. In India, unfortunately, adults do that kinda stuff in the street too. I have seen several men pee in public already and there's plenty of evidence as you walk around that they go #2 in public too. It's quite disturbing at first...

iphone spy

When the Chinese chldren is very small, their parents pay much attention to them, they treat them as their god, maybe it is different from America.


Um, WOW. That's all I can say. I totally thought I *knew* Asia after 3 years in Japan BUT I HAD NO IDEA.


Surely this is a health hazard? It makes the fact that I pick up my dog's poo in little sanitary bags even more ridiculous. Perhaps they should sell poo bags for toddlers there? With signs, like "Please pick up your child's poo!" and maybe a picture of a squatty baby?

Wow. Japanese people are super clean and super OCD - they wear different shoes just to walk into a restroom, and NEVER wear them out around the house, and usually wash their hands twice (they have nifty little water spouts above the toilets where clean water flows before it refills the tank). I knew China was different but I didn't know HOW MUCH different.

Holy crap on a cracker, I don't know if I could handle that.

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