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 am very thankful that I was given the gift of a good girlfriend (who *shock* is connected to State) almost as soon as we arrived. And, in spite of everything, we can be transparent about the sucky stuff as well as the good stuff. It really DOES help that this is a largish post and her husband and my Hubby will nevereverever work together.

But you are SO right. So much we have to hold our tongues about with most people. . .

Which isn't all bad. . .

Thankful you have a good girlfriend there.

naoma lee

So glad you've found a good friend. It really is so important, isn't it? Just to have someone who you can be for real with (& vice versa). Never realize how essential it is until you move to a new post and have to weather a bit of time without one & it taints my whole view of my new country. Donna (Email From the Embassy) had a good word for it when I was moaning on blog about it one day, "You haven't found your tribe yet...." That's what it is. A circle of friends (even if it's just one) is so important.


naoma lee

...wait a minute. I think the comment above mine from "TG" is TulipGirl, which means she and I were talking about eachother as we wrote this. =) That thar is one of my tribe mates and as she said *shocker* we are both with State. But those friendships are few and far between. I also tend to choose people who AREN'T with State on purpose because they stay in the country longer than we do. Selfish me. I want to move before they do.


I've struggled with this very thing. I am not with DOS (yet!) but am a military wife and our situations share many similarities. I really don't do the "military wife thing" i.e. attend FRG meetings or the coffees or girls night out. In fact, we strategically bought a house as far from the military base as comfortably possible. I struggled with my non-MIL friends b/c it was tough being constantly turned down to hang b/c well, their husbands were always home or them having a hard time understanding just how intense and insane my life was.

So I went and got me some MIL girlfriends and that backfired as well b/c 1) they only seemed interested in ****-measuring contests when it came to the careers of our husbands and 2) they ditched you the second their husband came home (I can remember asking a friend to coffee after getting a phone call about a fire fight my husband had been involved in and not being told his fate--she turned me down in my time of massive distress b/c her husband *might* return home from riding his bike with friends in a few hours). But the second their husbands were gone again they wanted to hang 24/7. I like my friends to be there regardless of deployments.

So I went BACK to trying to find non-MIL friends. What I have found for me, personally, is the MIL/non-MIL status doesn't mean a thing and it just plain comes down to the character of the person. I love my mix of those "in" and those "not in" the lifestyle LOL!

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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