>> 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.
>> 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. Since August 2016, we’ve been in Beijing, China.
I hope you’ll come visit someday!
>> 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 (more on him, here) 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 John Kerry. Those who join the Foreign Service are Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), or more glamorously known as 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, coordinate 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 humble little 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 >>>>>>
>> Tell me more about this “DiploMan” >>
My husband is the DiploMan. He’s shy (only online), plus he works for a pretty public figure, hence the semi-anonymity. You can read more about the whole privacy issue here.
What I can tell you, briefly, 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 (I’ll blog about that story….someday…). If you traveled back in time and told me I would move to China for him, and proceed to marry him, I’d call you crazy and proceed being an angry teenager. 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.
>> What is this blog about, anyway? >>
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.
>> Do you like living overseas? >>
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I miss my good friends a lot, but also cherish the new friendships I’ve made these last few years. Freelancing is tough work, but I’m getting better every day. I write about these issues. A lot.
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 still do, on occassion).
Being back in DC for a year in 2012 was great. I got to work with lots of food-centric blogs, like Girl Meets Food and the Righteous Cheese Blog, and publish my photographs over at EaterDC. If you were in town, you could also see me in action as I sold and cut, (but also ate a lot of) cheese part-time at Union Market. One of my favorite jobs, ever (I was also blonde during this time, which also improved my quality of life).
>> What Camera do you use? >>
One need not have a super-expensive camera to take good photos. Most of the images on this blog were shot with a Canon EOS Kiss Digital X,with a Tamron 62mm telephoto lens, and sometimes a cheap yet effective Canon 50mm f1.4 lens for more concentrated food shots. Every once in awhile you’ll see the Sigma 30mm lens make an appearance, though not frequently. And starting in 2012 I began using a wide angle Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, which has become my weapon of choice, both indoors and outdoors. update Sept 2014: I’m now in possession of a new Mark II 5D, with two nifty high-end lenses. Once I start including them in my regular rotation, I’ll let you know how they are…but I can already tell you, they are awesome.
>> Can I ask you something personal? >>
Sure. I am, probably unwisely, pretty open on the internet. Shoot.