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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OK put a pin in Lilongwe Malawi please.

A Daring Adventure

Done, Shannon! I dropped the pin in a Lilongwe river! :) Thanks for participating!!

SugarMama TulipGirl

Can you change the colors of the pins? Like, red pins being current locations and blue pins be previous locations?

A Daring Adventure

Done, SugarMama Tulip Girl! I put active posts in purple, and former posts in yellow! And thank you for thinking of that- I never thought to look to see if those pin things were customizable! Duh...

Lauren Geraghty

Can you add a pin for me/us please? We leave for our first post on Thursday (Oslo, Norway). I'm very excited. And by the way, I was visiting a mutual friend and ate some of your chess bars!!!! They are to die for! Could you post the recipe on your blog?

A Daring Adventure

Hey Lauren! Your pin has been added! Good luck at your first post! Also, I've put the recipe in my comments section before, but I'll do it again!

Here's the totally awesome recipe for:


First you're going to make what is basically like a graham cracker crust, only you're making it out of:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg

Beat those together. Take this mixture and mush it along the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking pan. With your fingers- like a graham cracker crust.

On top of that, you're going to pour a beaten mixture of:

1 eight ounce package cream cheese (softened)
1 box powdered sugar
2 eggs

Beat all that together until it's smooth, then pour it over the crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the top is sort of evenly browning.

This is, without a doubt, hands down my guys' (yes, all of them) favorite dessert!


OK, pin me purple in Dhaka, Bangladesh

A Daring Adventure

Done, Lauren in Dhaka! Be sure to double check what I did to make sure it's correct!


It's me, and I am currently in Tijuana.


You can add me in Kabul, Afghanistan!


this is so awesome!

I love the different color pins, but doesn't that mean you'll be doing double work changing everyone's pin color all the time? People can certainly figure out where to find past post info or whatever when they pull up a blog. just a thought.

this is so great! wonder where my pin will go??!!


btw on Digger's Azerbaijan pin, it reads Azerbaijan, Armenia- should be Baku, Azerbaijan (I think).

A Daring Adventure

@ Emily & @ Liz - Done, ladies! And thank you both for taking part from two quite edgy posts! :)

@ Bridget - You're sweet to worry about my work load. Actually, it's easier to just put past-pins, current-pins and future-pins up for the same blogger all at once when I have their info/blog link all ready to go. And it's super easy to flip a pin's color when they come/go, so I'm actually totally happy to put up future pins, etc., and just flip the color!

And you know how you said you can't wait to see where your pins go? Girl, that makes two of us! Well, actually, you have a wicked blog following, so there are LOTS of folks who can't wait to see where your pins end up!! :)

A Daring Adventure

Oh, and @ Bridget - thank you for helping me catch errors. I've emailed Digger to make sure exactly where her past post pin's supposed to go! I'm sure you're right, though. I can't even tell you how geographically challenged I am. This pin thing is actually really, REALLY good for me. It's shocking how sucky my geography skillz are...

A Daring Adventure

Let the record reflect that I have no idea where anything is. Anywhere. We're reasonably safe if anyone is posted in, like, FLORIDA, but once we leave there, y'all's pins are seriously in jeopardy.

Double-check, people! I have now been caught creating entire cities/countries that don't even exist!


You can put a purple pin in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for me. (West coast of SA, near Mecca, on the Red Sea.)


Brilliant! Really, thanks for doing this. Great idea! I am still in Falls Church, but leaving for Brussels, Belgium in less than a month. I would love to be included... Many thanks for your brilliant idea and hard work to make it happen.


you are too funny Kolbi!
this is so terrific. thank you!


Not sure my last comment came through as I don't see it here in the list. I said: "This is brilliant and I would love to be included. I wish, as Eve said, that I had had this during the bidding stage! Thanks for the great idea and for the hard work that went into making it happen. Devonnaire is currently in Falls Church, but am anxious to arrive in Brussels, Belgium in less than a month! Brava!

A Daring Adventure

@ Sadie and @ Devon - You got it, ladies! Check your pins to make sure I got everything right, okay?

@ Bridget - :)


Super smart, as always. I'm in Recife, Brazil. Thanks!


All over it - awesome idea! Riyadh, KSA - former; Istanbul, Turkey - current.

A Daring Adventure

Hey @ hannah and @ Jan! I've got y'all up there! Just do me a favor and make sure everything is correct, okay? And thanks for letting me add you!


We are currently in DC, but have been in Lima, Peru, and Caracas, Venezuela, and are headed to Beijing, China, in the summer of 2012. You can put any and all of those pins on your map if you'd like. What a great idea!

Ashley Sherwood

We'd be happy to join the map. We're in Cairo, and going to Baku in 2012. Thanks for setting this up!

I love the map!!! Will you place me in Hermosillo, MX?

Spectrummy Mummy

Please can you add me to the map- currently blogging from Falls Church. Thanks!


You can put a current pin in London for me. :) This is a good idea...especially for bidding research. :)


Love the map! Can you put a pin in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for me.

Naoma have AMAZING ideas! The State Dept. needs you to do something very cool for them. They don't know about you yet and all the great stuff you do. But when they do, you'll be getting some knocks on your door. This is something that the FLO should know you're doing. As a newbie, sitting in those family preparedness classes at FSI, it would have made a WORLD of difference to know about all of these connections. You are just a natural "connector" (the CLO position is the only one I can think of that would PAY you to do what you already do so well).

All of that to say, please put me on the map! =) Kenya, Uganda & Macedonia (you win the prize if you can find MK without referring to google maps...) were all blogged about at LeesOnTheGo.

Thumbs up to Kolbi!


This is so great! Please add me - we're in Quito, Ecuador, and formerly in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Thanks!!

Spectrummy Mummy

Can you aqua me up in Johannesburg for summer 2010, please?


this is cool! can you add Tripoli, Libya for me (Fawda Munathema)?

Clare Orvis

This is unbelievable! What a brilliant idea. I'm a new junior officer in Jakarta, Indonesia. (


You can list our blog under Nogales Mexico - headed to post in 2 weeks!

Carla @ I Run, You Run

Can you add me to the map? I have a running blog that's turning into a State Dept blog as well (Flag Day was on Monday -- we're off to Manila in April!)


Sorry I haven't said anything earlier. We would love to be on the map. We were in the Philippines, now in Arlington, soon going to Brussels.

Sarah Novak

Gosh this is brilliant! You are such a phenom! :)

Can you kindly add

In Manila through July 1, 2011
Then training in DC through June 1, 2012
Then Lima, Peru through June 1, 2014

Sarah Novak

I see now that you have Minnesotagal listed. It has moved permanently to Novakistan now. Can you update the link and add us to the map? I can't wait to meet you in person someday, you cool cat!


This is a great idea. Put a pin in Dakar, Senegal.


What a great idea. Please add a pin for Prague and thank you for all you do to keep us straight.


a little late, but would you add me to Santo Domingo, DR? Thank you Kolbi!


Hi, can you put a pin in for Nogales, MX? Thanks! (

3rd Culture Children

This is really a great way to share information and track blogs on posts! Please add us: purple pin for Recife, PE, Brazil (2010-2012) and yellow to Maputo, Mozambique (2006-2008). thanks!


Kolbi, we are in DC now and headed to Brasilia, Brazil in July 2011. Thanks for doing this!


Where's my pin? Hmph :)


Hi, I'm currently writing from Vientiane, Laos. I love your map, and all the info you've provided in your blog :)!


Dear Great and Powerful State Department Map Maintainer, please add a pin for What were we thinking? in Tijuana, Mexico. You are awesome.

James and Sarah Talalay

great map, we'd be honored to be added as a current posting to chennai, india:

thanks, sarah and james talalay


Hi! I just realized I've been in Shenyang for 3 months but never asked to be put on the map. So... could you please? :)


Just arrived in Nepal for our 3rd tour, and just started a new blog...I don't see any purple pins in Kathmandu, so I'll represent! Thanks for doing this!!!


You are welcome to pop my pin in Nuevo Laredo now in case that will help someone down the road. Thanks Kolbi!


Can you put a "current" pin for St. Petersburg Russia and a "last post" pin for Malta? Thanks!

k @ there is fun to be done

Could you please add a pretty little current post pin for me in Guadalajara, Mexico. And a future post in Chengdu, China!

Spectrummy Mummy

Yay! We're here. Can you change my yellow South Africa flag to a pretty purple one, please?

Caroline Wright

Are you still doing this? Can you go ahead and add my blog? We've been in Manila, Philippines a while but don't know our next posting yet. Thanks so much. I've enjoyed reading yours. Caroline

Heather Dray

OkeeDokee, plop me down on Cairo, Egypt (current, of course!) and you can put me down on Ohio (yippee) for past. Awesome map!


Please add me to your bloggers' map. I am assigned by State as a forced teleworker, so put my pin on Falls Church, Virginia, 22046 for

Sara Roy

Can you put down Manila for future? We arrive there in July!!

Colleen O

Pin in my husband and I in purple for Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Love this feature. Do you mind if I link to it from my own blog?

Ana Gaby

This is awesome! Please add the Big Durian, also known as Jakarta Indonesia!


Wow, thanks for doing this!! Can you pin me in Bangkok? We'll be there in June/July, or is it too soon? Thank you so much!

A Facebook User

I am so excited to find this (these blogs!!) I don't even know where to start reading!


Not sure how I haven't seen this before as I have been following for some time now. Great idea! Please add a pin for us to Sri Lanka. Haven't blogged much lately but do have some photos up that might be of interest to those thinking of bidding Colombo.

Loren and Walter Braunohler

Hi! We are currently in Bangkok, Thailand. Would you please add us to the list? Many thanks!


This is great!


We are no longer in London. We are now in Accra, Ghana.


We're headed to Manila in June, my blog is at

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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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