Ni hao. Si Jambo! I’m Jessie. Welcome to my blog about my adventures around the globe.
Whats with the title of the blog?
This online mind-burp started when I moved to China in November 2010, serving as a place to document my writings and photographic sights of living in Asia. As for the name? Around the time I started college, different groups of friends started to call me Jess-bo, or sometimes just “Jbo”. I found it endearing but puzzling at the same time. It’s really beyond me– before I was married, no part of my name had the letters “B” or “O”. Anyway, I figured if Little Bo could peep, why couldn’t I?
Before you read further, no, this blog was never about marshmallows.
But then, we moved back to the states. And calling the blog “Peeps from Abroad” was no longer relevant, so I searched high and low for a new title to my blog. I settled on “Here and There” for a bit, because this blog is all over the place, it’s both here AND there, conceptually and geographically, so it summed up my life quite nicely. But in my heart of hearts, in the peeps of all peeps, it’s Peeps From Abroad. In May 2013 we’ll be moving to Africa, so being a blog about being abroad will be relevant once again.
Why are you living overseas?
The DiploMan’s job placed him in Guangzhou in July of 2010. Originally, I was fairly reluctant to move with. But temptations of food and travels were baited, and I found it hard to resist. I moved to Guangzhou in the Fall of 2010 and decided to take up photography again as a way to document the sights and tastes I would be experiencing in my new surroundings. I blogged about my travels around Asia, exciting new eats, and getting an American fix every now and again. After two years in China, we settled back in the DC area (quite easily, in fact) — but only enough to get our fix of Mexican Food and gourmet salads. In May 2013, we packed up our bags yet again for another 2-year adventure: to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania!
What’s this Foreign Service Business?
Growing up in California, none of my friends or family friends worked for the government. So when my DiploMan got his job, there were many questions– not only from friends and family, but from myself as well.
The Foreign Service is part of the State Department, which is headed by Secretary
Hillary Clinton Kerry. Those who join the Foreign Service are Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), or diplomats. They serve in posts all around the world, at Embassies and Consulates abroad (embassies are in Capital cities only, consulates are located in all other cities). Diplomats have jobs processing visas and offering consular services, handle management affairs such as procurement, shipping, housing, and motorpool, coördinate VIP visits, engage in public diplomacy with people of the resident country, and research and write back to DC about political and economic affairs around the world. I’ve met diplomats who have, in their past lives, been Marines, lawyers, nurses, train conductors, teachers, police officers, and like my very own diplomat– a Grad school student.
There are many things to learn about life in the Foreign Service. If you’re interested, or have a few hours to kill, check out all the blogs by my fellow foreign servants around the world, at AAFSW.
Naturally, there should be some sort of disclaimer following all this information– this is my own personal blog, documenting my own personal experiences and thoughts. No part of this blog is affiliated with, representative of, nor endorsed by the State Department.
More about this “DiploMan”
My husband is the DiploMan. I used his name on this blog at first, and even posted pictures of him. But he’s shy (online), so I no longer do that.
What I can tell you is that we went to high school together, and that we may or may not have had non-overlapping crushes on each other. So, we’ve known each other for awhile, and it makes going home for the holidays a helluva lot easier! I’ll blog about that story.…someday…If you traveled back in time and told anyone what we know now (that he would be working for the U.S. Government), people would probably fall over laughing. They would probably stay on the ground if you told them I would move to China for him, and proceed to marry him. That’s right, we got married in China in June 2012, and had a stateside wedding in May 2013. It’s been a thrilling ride so far, and I can’t wait for what’s ahead.
Are you one of those crazy “foodies” I read about?
So, you might notice that there’s a lot of talk about food on my blog. I initially started this as a food-focused blog where I wanted to explore markets and different dishes while living in China. But it quickly (as in, within the first three entries) turned into just a blog about what I was seeing and doing and thinking every day, and the travels we were so fortunate to take.
But at the heart of it, my writing and my thinking is still very focused on food, on and off this blog. So uh, yeah, I’m pretty much a “foodie”. But it’s not all my fault. First of all, I was raised in California, so I can’t quite grasp what it means to live in a place without sushi or avocados. Second, thanks to my mother’s views on eating, we were shopping at farmer’s markets way before “locavore” was even a word. It was inexcusable to skip dinner with the family, although that was never really a problem thanks to my inner fat-kid. Third, I grew up eating bi-culturally, and from a young age pigs’ ears, chicken feet, bitter greens and fruit-only desserts were common at meals. On the flip side, so was spaghetti, mac’n’cheese, and turkey sandwiches. Aside from a mild “I’m a vegetarian now” stint in middle school, I have always had open views on food and eating.
Thanks to working various restaurant gigs, I adapted a more superior taste for food, wine, and whiskeys. After moving to NYC in 2005 for a “real” job, my world soon became enlightened with the culture of dining. Food was elevated to a level that I had never before experienced, and though one can easily become distracted with other things in a bustling metropolis like NYC, I decided to venture deeper into the world of food. By the time I was ready to leave in 2010, my views on eating and cooking had greatly expanded to accomodate issues of sustainability and community, in addition to my ever-lasting views on eating well.
In China I found it difficult to keep tabs on the constantly changing world of food and culture, but I tried my best. I dreamed of a beautiful hydroponic garden, and shopped at the local market as much as I could. In between freelancing as a writer and copyeditor, I frequently contributed to sites such as RecipeRelay and HonestCooking (and I still do!). Now that I’m exploring the DC scene, you can also find my musings over at Girl Meets Food and the Righteous Cheese Blog, and my photographs over at EaterDC.
I am using a Canon EOS Kiss Digital X, with a Sigma 30mm lens and a Tamron 62mm telephoto lens, and sometimes a cheap yet effective Canon 50mm f1.8 lens for more concentrated food shots. Once I started shooting some indoor photography, I invested in a nice wide angle Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5–4.5 lens, which has become my weapon of choice, both indoors and outdoors.
I was an art major in college and took some photo classes, so combined with the powers of a digital SLR, I would say that the photos here are not bad at all. I’m always yearning for more glass, though.
Visit my Picasa page for more great snaps of China, food, and travels!
Finally, thanks for reading!!