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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Thank you this is most helpful! I am a newbie and don't know where I'll be going but started making preliminary lists of stuff and I think I am officially back to the state of "chuck it all" and aside from my soft toilet paper and sturdy paper towels--I'll just adapt and make do on the local economy! Perhaps the few things that are "must haves" I can split between my luggage and UAB??

Also, do you think what happened had to do with where you were going i.e. do all consumable shipments to China tend to "sit" somewhere unforgiving or is this a common thing with many consumable shipments.

Anyways, thank you so much for this info! It is much appreciated.

A Daring Adventure


Tracy, that's a good question. I mean, on one hand, shipments to China do end up taking a very long time.

On the other hand, China's climate can tend to be less hot that, you know, other places. So if my stuff did sit in, say, Chengdu or Shanghai or wherever for quite a while before it was sent on to us, well... if we had been assigned to a hotter-climate type of place, our stuff may have gotten even hotter still during the journey, I would think. But since this is our first overseas assignment, I have nothing with which to compare it.


How strange, it really does seem like your consumables did "pass thru the gates of hell"! I shipped alot of consumables in my HHE and everything survived, even the glass jars that the stupid movers didnt even bother to wrap up. They somehow survived intact! And all my stuff was shipped at the end of summer... I think China just sucks overall ;)


Wow, China really makes you work for your consumables! This post is great though. Everybody going to post needs to have an honest list like this from someone who knows.
Also - to respond to Tracy - it certainly makes a big difference where you go. My consumables shipment to Lagos came in a couple months and nothing at all was ruined. And Nigeria is way hotter than Chengdu (right?) It seems like a bit of a crap shoot in the end.


Thank you all for the feedback...does indeed sound like a crapshoot!


I decided to wait until I had been at post for a significant period of time before doing a consummables shipment. Thinking that I would do a better job--I was wrong. I did concentrate on liquids--since we are very limited on our liquids at a pouch post. I should have ordered fewer chips. I can get them through the pouch ( is great) and they do not last the two month travel time and then the months on my shelves. I feel your pain.


How, HOW did your stuff overheat on the way to China but all my crap came to Djibouti (you know, MORDOR) just fine?!?!

Mind. Blown.

A Daring Adventure


I don't know, Camille! I guess I'm... just... lucky?



OK. A couple of things are confusing here, so please bear with me while I work through them. So, you haven't actually wasted money until bugs come, and at that point it's OK to pitch the crawling food, right? And the reason you have Mt. Saint Raisins is because the little buggers haven't shown up yet, O.K? So, well, since you only have about a month before you leave, what happens if the petrified mountain is still not writhing with insects in August? Does that mean that in order not to squander James' paycheck you have to eat it? Or perhaps fashion a sculpture out of it? Turn it into a coffee table? OOOoooh, I know! You can make the boys consume it. WOW! We'd all pay money to see your 105 pounds forcing 6'4" Matthew to down shovels of brown Parmesan cheese. What a beautiful thing, and at that point, being subsidized by our admission tickets, you won't have wasted a dime. Ah. When you least expect it, children,friends and family can be so beneficial in the bigger picture. OK! Now I get it. However, let me make one suggestion if Plan A fails. Whatever is left, have a party the night before you depart. Really, nobody will be the wiser.


Tell James that your rancid food looks just like every "potluck" @ my Inlaws' Family Reunions! LOL!!!


Hey BTW, Did I somehow miss the announcement of your next Duty Station? Hope its a good one with lots of singing birds :0)

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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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