Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Friday, October 29, 2010


                  Have a fun, safe, and happy
                        Halloween weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, will host Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays, a reception for family members of unaccompanied tour employees on Tuesday, December 14th at the Department of State. This is a wonderful opportunity for family members in the Washington, DC area to get into the holiday spirit and to honor the work, service and sacrifice of State Department men and women that are currently on unaccompanied tours.

In order to receive an official invitation, please email CeremonialsRSVP@state.gov. Official invitations with more details on the reception will be sent out in the following weeks - at that time you will be able to provide your RSVP.

Please note that ‘Family’ is defined broadly to include spouse, partner, fiancĂ©, parent, sibling, and children of anyone under Chief of Mission at an unaccompanied tour posting.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't forget!

In the D.C. area?  Don't forget our first coffee club gathering today!  Please join us!  Email FLOaskUT@state.gov or give us a call at 202-627-1076 for more details.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This week!!!

           UT Coffee Club Inauguration Event

Are you separated from your loved one by an unaccompanied tour (UT)?

Do you live in the D.C. area? 
Want to meet some new people?

Join our UT Coffee Club!  We will meet monthly with fellow
UT family membersJoin us to chat and enjoy a cup of coffee.

     When: October 27th, 2:30pm

     Why:  To have fun!  Meet new people and
     relate to fellow UTers

     Who is invited:  UT families and friends

 Please email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov for the location of the event! 

  See you there!

  “Because a cup of coffee shared with a friend
    is happiness tasted and time well spent.”

   Please RSVP to FLOaskUT@state.gov

Some fun ocean quotes...

Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.”


“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.”

-- T. S. Eliot

“I dropped a tear in the ocean, and whenever they find it I'll stop loving you, only then.”


love builds up the broken wall
and straightens the crooked path.
love keeps the stars in the firmament
and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides
each of us is created of it
and i suspect
each of us was created for it”

--Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to score an upgrade while traveling...

...because traveling is definately not what it used to be. This article discusses how to score an upgrade, whether checking in at the airport or into a hotel.

One of the tips listed on the article: "Ask at the right time. The best day for upgrades is Saturdays; fewer elite travelers fly then, says Matt Daimler of SeatGuru.com. Go to the agent and say something like: 'If you need to bump people from coach to first, please consider me. I'm low maintenance -- and my back is killing me.'"  :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Skype connects the world...............

My grandfather is rolling over in his grave! An orthodox Jew, he wouldn’t even pick up a coin on the Sabbath much less use electricity. On Yom Kippur he prayed and prayed and made sure all 9 children did as well in the synagogue and at home. But our situation is different. Our situation requires creativity, forgiveness and acceptance. You are in Iraq and I am not. You are in a trailer and I’m in our home in Great Falls, Virginia and from those two distant points we try to come together to share and to find meaning that bridges the miles.
Welcome to Skype! With Skype I can see your face, hear your voice, feel connected to you. We discuss the minutiae of our lives on Skype. I take off my eyeglasses, fix my hair (as if it COULD be fixed) for Skype. I kiss the air near the computer screen, right on the projected image of your lips, my husband’s lips, my best friend’s lips when we are Skyping.
On Yom Kippur you and I have had our tradition of lighting the yahrzeit candles to honor our dead parents. My father and mother did it this exact same way, lighting candles not on the anniversary of their parents’ death, but on Yom Kippur. We’ve carried this forward into our generation and wherever we have been in the world, we’ve lit the candles and said what we needed to say about the year that passed and the year ahead.
Up until this year, for me the most memorable lighting took place in 1992, the year we went to Tibet with Ben, Gabe and a whole group from the U.S. Embassy. While in Llasa, the capital, we visited the holiest of holies for Tibetan Buddhists, the Jokund temple. In that sacred place within the temple, we were given permission to light our candles and place them on the altar there with hundreds of prayer scarves left by visitors and the statues and candles representing Tibetan Buddhism. At the time, we only needed two candles, one for my father and one for yours, both gone the same year, 1989. Lighting the candles at that time I remember our commenting how much our fathers would have “gotten a kick” out of this as they were both very adventurous and accepting. Indeed, leaving the lights for our fathers in the Jokund meant that in the farthest reaches of the world, we remembered them, and honored them, and showed our sons the importance of the tradition. I remember feeling that my heart was so full it might burst as the tears rolled down my face.
Fast forward. 2010. No! 5777 on the Jewish calendar! You are gone, but we haven’t lost communication. I got the yahrzeit candles ready – now numbering 4, including one for my mother and one for Noelle. And then you were on Skype and I saw you, felt your presence even though you were really countless of thousands of miles away. We talked for awhile, me sitting at my desk in the office, and we waited until the sun went down and the earth turned. I don’t remember who came up with the idea to bring the computer to the great room where the candles waited. I don’t remember who said to aim the camera so that you could see and share the moment of lighting. I put the computer on the coffee table and moved the lamps into your view. And then I lit them and you saw each flame come to life, saw them on the little screen! Then it was time for sharing thoughts. You asked for my forgiveness for going to Iraq; said that if it hurt me, you were sorry, and you loved me very much. Then it was my turn. I told you that I knew your leaving was not a reflection of how you felt about me, but rather your sense of duty that drove you to accept the assignment. See, sweetie, I DO understand. It isn’t a question of forgiveness; it is a question of acceptance. In that moment, we were together, watching the lights, feeling love and the sadness of being apart, but also the hopefulness that next year, not in Jerusalem, but in Great Falls, Virginia, we would be together again, lighting the yahrzeit lamps. God bless technology!

***Thanks to Lee-Alison Blum Sibley author of "Jordan's Jewish Drama Queen" ********

Friday, October 1, 2010

Planning a vacation?

I thought only James Bond movies had under the ocean hotel rooms.  If you need a vacation and want to get away from it all, or if you just want to dream, check out this article which highlights five of the world's most private hotels.

Which one would you choose?