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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I love how completely honest you always are. You guys really took on a lot with Chengdu. And I really, truly, get how the constant illness can wear you down. I am sure that my family wouldn't last more six months in a place with air that bad. Even in DC and Vienna, we run air filters all the time in the bedrooms. That's AFTER years of constant ENT trouble in several posts. The problem is, you can't really know how it's going to affect you until you get there, and then you are stuck...


thinking of you...I know how it feels to go back to a place you don't love or that isn't great for you. I believe your 2nd year will be much better! hugs.


"Holy cow, Florida is beautiful" <--that, my friend, is an indication of a beautiful work in your life and soul. If you need a place to stay on your way to Indy, I know of a quaint A-frame in the woods north of Atlanta a bit but close to the Interstate you'd be welcome to stay at. :)


I wasn't worried because we are friends. I knew you'd email if someone had started harrassing you about blogging. I am glad R&R is helping you reprioritize. Our families are always more important than our careers.


Good to know. Thank god these posts aren't permanent! Hope the next place is more liveable-so far Bangkok is no where near as bad (as far as air quality goes) as I had expected. But then again, its only the rainy season...


I really appreciate your honesty. My husband is also in DS and I agree with your previous post on how different the bidding process is for DS vs. the rest of the State Department. We are also in a process of reevaluation and reprioritization and look forward to the next part of our life--sans FS. I'm surprised at how much lighter we both feel after making this decision. Good luck to you and your family and I hope the second year of your tour goes much better.


SO GLAD you and your family were able to take a break. To reevaluate and reconnect!! More people need to learn how to put boundaries around what is most important to them in this lifestyle and I am cheering you on in this next year! We are doing the same thing here! Here is to hoping the second year goes faster and smoother than the first!

Heather Dray

I'm sorry we missed you in Florida. As you know, it was a whirlwind! I think about you and your family all the time and keep hoping things go better for you in China. We're currently on R&R and it's been relaxing and a time for evaluation for us as well. (Although I'm in Colorado Springs right now for my annual Army Reserves training - just to keep things a little insane). Looking forward to, yet dreading at the time time, the bid list. XOXOXO

Sara Roy

I hope your second year is amazing.

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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.)
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