China in Photos / Travel

Looking Forward and Back


I’m gonna pack my bags

And take that journey down the road

Cause over the mountain I see the bright sun shinning

And I want to live inside the glow

-India Arie “Beautiful”

I’ve loved those lines for years now; they still send shivers down my spine as I sit in our (messy, covered in laundry) apartment and imagine the piles of supplies and suitcases sitting in the next room.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but life always seems extra vibrant and stark in those days and weeks on either side of a big move to some place new.  The air feels crisper, the sun shines brighter, there’s that hum of misplaced adrenaline that infuses mundane chore like laundry and sorting papers with a silly amount of significance.

Before we leave, I walk around feeling like I’m standing at the edge of where the sidewalk ends.

As I responded to a fellow blogger in the comments on my last post, we’ve got 1 week, 6 days, and 7 hours until we leave.  That sounds a whole lot better than two weeks right?


I’m working on a little project that has me going through old bog posts from China and it’s been kind of fun reading how my perspective and coping mechanisms evolved over the course of two years.  I was such a baby when we arrived!

Its Laundry Day

Here are a few links (in teal-ish) from our time in China:

Running with the Hash 


Week 2 In Chengdu (surprising to read this and realize how many of my feelings towards China stayed consistent from beginning to end!)

A Bridge in Chengdu

Song Xian Qiao

Autumn Moon Festival


Dear Hong Kong


mahjong tiles

Hitting My Stride in Chengdu

Da shou mian

Where Graphic Design Meets the Language Barrier

Chinese New Year 

Travelers vs. Expats

A few more China photos here…

And a few more China posts here…

girl on iphone

Sausage vendor at Yulin


4 thoughts on “Looking Forward and Back

  1. Hi,

    I apologize if this seems strange or cheesy but I wanted to take an opportunity to say ‘thanks’. Several months ago I found your blog after my husband passed the OA and I found myself thinking “So whats it like to actually do this foreign service gig?” We found out that other day that my husband will be joining the September A-100 class. I am sure you can imagine the crazy whirlwind of emotions we now find ourselves in, but I feel better about the whole thing after following your blog. Thanks for taking the time to document these things and making it available on a forum where us newbies can access it and feel just a bit more prepared for all the changes up ahead.

    -A fellow Arlingtonian and future FSO spouse

    PS: My husband also thanks you for introducing us to Amsterdam Falafel. Despite five years in DC we seemed to have missed that one, an error which was quickly remedied.

    • Hey Sarah! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, not strange or cheesy at all! (Trust me, you start hanging out with foreign service people and you reach a whole new level of strange (in the nicest way!) connections and meetings and what-have-you. Speaking of which, do you read Tuk y Tam? ( She’s an EFM who just got her own offer and will be joining the same A-100 class as your husband! If you ever have any questions or anything just let me know! I’m probably not the most stellar resource ever but I can try my best! 🙂 Thanks again (and glad you like the falafel place!)

  2. Moves are exciting. I think it’s what I love the best about our lifestyle. Also what I hate the most. For me, someone who can easily get in a rut and get bored, picking up and moving is the best way to invigorate my creativity and make me feel alive again. It may be stressful but the idea that new adventures are ahead of us as a family makes it worth it.

    The best lesson that I’ve learned about it all is the idea that we can live anywhere as long as we are together. We can be a family anywhere in the world. When you can make it work in Africa…or China…you can do anything!

    • I totally agree with you and I love that line that you “can live anywhere as long as we’re together.” That’s so true. And I love all of the amazing little side trips and crafts you guys are documenting from Addis! So neat to see you guys take a hardship post and turn it into such an interesting place to live for 2 years.

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