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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Sara Roy

good luck!


Ummm, what are those two cities (so I can avoid bidding on them)? I'm hoping that because I haven't come across them in my post report scouring means they aren't cities we're interested in anyway. Oh the anxiety! This whole traditional bidding process is not my fave. I'll take the now list any day, even if it means another garden spot like Conakry. Good luck to you (and me)!


We still haven't done "traditional" bidding. First post was Drunken-Monkey Flag Day. (And he showed us favor!)

Second post was the CNL-language-brownie-points "bid early, bid often" and bid on EVERY SINGLE POST that has your language. Only had to do that once, and thankfully we were assigned our top choice. (It helped that there was only ONE post with adequate high schools and with three boys in high school by the time we get there? Yeah. Important.)

So. . . Maybe in a year or so we'll get a "real" bid list and I'll remember to make sure Hubby has a black slashy marker.

(I told him that I want that post to either be warm and by the ocean or a world class city or have insanely affordable household help or mamoncillo trees. I'm not picky. Doesn't need all of those. Just, prettyplease, let me have ONE of those daydreams!)


Hmmm...wonder where i can get a drunken monkey? Never mind I hate monkeys even when they are sober. I can tape the list to the dart board and let the 7 year old throe darts. Should be approximately the same results. Anyway it's got to be easier than the all this research and worry.

When ever I get too frustrated Dave reminds me it could be worse. He could be DS. Sorry Kolbi. I feel for y'all.


I am thinking that the drunken monkeys aren't throwing "darts." Just sayin'.


Oh boy! Good luck with this process - it's certainly a bear!


I can't say for DS, specifically, but I do know in Vienna it is amazing how many people fetched up at post by total accident. Sometimes there just wasn't anywhere else to put them! So I wouldn't cross those "nice" places off. Toss a bid out there and see what happens. You never know.

Carla Runs The World

Not to throw another curve ball, but I know a few non-AIP that got Europe, such as the couple going from India to Paris, or the guy going from one of the -stans to London (and another to Buenos Aires, even if that's not Europe, Argentinians certainly think they are). And lots of people going to Turkey (from Manila, from India...). So don't NOT bid just bc you don't think you'll get it, don't keep your hopes up, but you really never know. Timing plays such a big part on this.

Sarah Green

I concur with the advice to not mark off the sweet spots in Europe, because, well, you just don't know. Better to have it on your list and let someone else say no than to not even weigh it. There are a surprising number of people who have ZERO interest in a place like London or Paris, because it doesn't fit with career goals, doesn't pay enough, etc.


A great DS friend told me, the bid list is for people who don't have friends.

As your fellow DS bidder ... and one who you know is going to tell it like it is. The absolute reality is that with so many people bidding on these overseas posts, there are few and far between for those folks NOT in AIP to get something considered "good".

Sure, you can keep those pretty ones on your list. BUT as someone who is now on their 8th time bidding out, if you haven't "paid your dues", you aint getting sh*t.

It IS a game. And unlike the "regular" FS, DS does it differently. Some may call it crappy. Especially as there are FAR more domestic posts than overseas posts available ... and so many people WANTING to go overseas, yet not enough places to go.

Best of luck to you and James this cycle. Let's hope that monkey doesn't wear a blindfold this time!

Katy @ Adventures in Serendipity

Take those Real Post Reports with a grain of salt! Literally (almost) all of them say the entire world is a terrible place for single women, and while it's certainly true of a lot of places, it can't be true for all. Or else all single women are just doomed. Perhaps we are anyway? :) Either way, I say read between the lines.


I have to chime in with those that say don't not bid just because you think it will automatically go to an AIP bidder. Particularly Frankfurt is often not heavily bid on. I say if it is a post your interested in, go for it. The worst you'll hear is "not this time." Good luck and fingers crossed for a good post.


Bidding is totally nutty and crazy-making. Make sure you check with OBC on the intranet, too. LOTS of great information there.

My favorite post reports sayings are, "It is what you make of it," and "lots of upper respiratory infections and digestive ailments." Granted, I've written a report or two and probably used both of those phrases, but I grown out loud when I read them now. I've enjoyed the garden spots, but I hope one day to make it to a potable water post. That's my goal, and I'm sticking to it!

Good luck!!!


good luck, can't wait to hear, i remember when you packed up in like 24 hrs to head to DC! It will work out for you!

Heather Dray

We haven't even looked at the bidlist yet. NO KIDDING. We're waiting until the AIP slots are tucked in and put to bed. It's gonna be a long next few months...

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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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