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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Soap and water and be quick about it, no bleach. And seriously your only have streaks? Mine have chunks of poo. Chunks. Streaks sound nice right now.

Also ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS break the egg into a separate bowl. In the states this prevents egg shells from ending up in your brownies. Overseas it prevents rotten eggs/half grown chicks from ending up in your brow nines, or on a hot frying pan. Dave wouldn't listen to me, foolish foolish man, and continued to break his eggs right into the pan until one day he broke a seriously rotten egg onto a hot frying pan. That smell made him an instant convert, and took a really long time to get out of the house.

A Daring Adventure

Haha, Shannon- I was trying to be nice, LOL!

Yes, I could probably say that there were chunks sometimes. But it does sound like your eggs are even less American-y than mine are, LOL!

And the frying pan story!? Oh HOLY COW, GIRLFRIEND!


We have flecks and streaks of chicken excrement on our eggs, too. Now you can't say I didn't warn you if you some day get to what you think will be a cushy, chicken-backside-residue-free European post.


We NEVER bleached our food in Africa as we did not want to ingest bleach into our bodies. I knew people who not only bleached their food but also their plates. They were sick a lot. Instead, we used Hydrogen Peroxide, a naturally occuring chemical in our bodies that disinfects. In the two years in Africa I only got sick once. Hydrogen peroxide is also very cheap.

Austrian eggs are squeaky clean with the date stamped on each individual egg. But then I expect Austrian babies emerge the same way.


haha too funny, I know all about the icky eggs that we could buy in Baghdad. I would give them all sponge baths in the kitchen sink with warm soapy water to remove the chicken poo and feathers from them. I'm glad I didnt use bleach!


"Betty Crocker meets Julia Child meets Laura Ingalls Wilder." Love this!! I think there have been different times in my life where I've wanted to be each of these women (if Betty Crocker is real... which I'm remembering she is as real as a Krusteaz mix... so she's passable). Anyway... but isn't it soooo Foreign Service that whether you like it or not, you have to be all of these women most of the time?! Some days I love it. I think I'm awesome. Some days I wish I could just have some poop-free egs-- or you know, green grass that hasn't been spat upon or whatever. Loved this post!
And Laurie-- that's a great idea about Hydrogen peroxide! I'll have to remember that when we need to disinfect our food. :)

Shannon D.

We get creepy streaky , fluffy, feathery eggs here in Moscow as well. I've learned to look the other way and crack in a separate bowl. Sometimes they have a bumpy gravely outside texture. I pretend it's just uniqness. The yolks here are the strangest bit. They are NEON orange!


"Megadeath Ebola Asian SARS Bird Flu IV" - I'm dying! Thank you for the laugh this morning. I am an FSS hopeful (OA scheduled for Nov) and yours was the first FS blog I read from start to finish. I love your wit and style of writing. I'm sure your sense of humor has gotten you (and your family) through some rough patches while overseas and I hope if I make it to Specialist Orientation and beyond that I can display a similar mindset. Thanks for sharing your stories!


LOL! Seriously. . .

(And Laurie, glad to know I'm not the only one breaking the bleaching rule. . . We've always done hydrogen peroxide here and in Ukraine. . .)

Have you ever done that cool chemistry experiment with your boys that involved soaking eggs in vinegar? It dissolves the shell and makes the eggs rubbery. I remember doing it in high school. Not sure what it was supposed to teach (osmosis? acids dissolving stuff?), but I always thought it was fun.


Oh dear. It's still better than stumbling into Dongyang and buying some hard boiled eggs.


This brings up great memories from the Nebraska farm on which I grew up, we had free-range bantam chickens, before it was cool to have free-range! And if Mom needed eggs, she sent out a kid to hunt down a nest and gather eggs, which, coming straight from nature, as you have established, would be 'streaked' or sometimes even down-right 'painted"!! Yeah. Yuck. And sometimes, the eggs in the nest would not be fresh, and there would be a baby chick! Or the egg would be rotten! What an awful smell. My mom always cracked eggs into a separate dish. Ah, the good ol' days!
So, Kolbi, there's American, and then, there's American....


Oh, and let me add, we are holding all of you Foreign Service folks in our hearts and prayers. Talk about dirty eggs does seem trivial, as we try to absorb some of the horror of events in Libya and Egypt. Please know that you are all greatly appreciated, and not forgotten.


My favorite internet comic features egg origin today:

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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.)
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