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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hilarious post as usual! But by the moon cakes for her anyways!! Just make sure you aren't around when she is leaving for the night and it will be far less awkward! :)


Ha ha. I LOVE Mooncakes! Wish I had some...


So, is it "NO! Really don't buy them"? Or "NO! I have to say no for luck but really do buy them"? Or... Yikes! Might need to ask a local person who has their own employees what such a no might actually mean... but not a baker...


A lady at my kids' school was handing out cookies instead today. I could get on board with that. "Hey let's swap Oreos!"

(Though someone made me homemade moon cakes once that were amazing. Not sure how traditional they were though [no egg, tea, or hairy meat floss stuff]. And I'm pretty sure they were about 4000 calories each. They are the only kind I've ever liked and I actually like the sweet bean pastes overall. Most mooncakes though are just ugh.) Good luck! The gift giving culture can be so frustrating. I just don't get it sometimes. I try but I always feel like I messed up, no matter what I do. I hope you enjoy the time off.


go to Hagan Daaz or Starbucks (maybe) and they sell fakey foreigner moon cakes - made of stuff we all actually think is yummy....


Next year I am shipping in a case of Moon Pies.

Career Diplomat

She might be saving face, but mooncakes aren't the best. In Singapore, mooncakes are eaten with pommelos (like a giant grapefruit) - would it be foreigner gauche to buy the pommelo? Also, they get red envelopes with money in them. Even amounts - odd amounts are unlucky, and four means death or something. Eight is the luckiest of all. So, to sum up my advice, give her an even amount of money in a red envelope and a giant grapefruit thing and you should be able to slide on the yuckcakes. Speaking of mooncakes, they make a green-tea-flavored-lotus-paste one here with an apricot in the center. That one's pretty good.

Cracked me up as always! At the Chinese restaurants here they always bring us litchis for dessert. I am not impressed.


I recommend putting an American twist to it (being that you are American and still wanting to conform to CHinese customs out of respect) So instead of the nasty moonpie- substitute it with some kind of tasty American junk food like bake a real chocolate Moonpie with the vanilla filling. There. Respect and good flavor you can check off your list :0) Love ya!


You are a very funny lady indeed!!! I have been following your blog a bit now and i have to say, love me some sense of humor. If understood correctly your hubby is DS and I can so relate with "vacation time/holiday for everybody but oops, not for you DS. Something came up." yep. We'll try again next time.

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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:
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