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, May 27, 2011

Happy Friday!

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend!  Have fun and enjoy the warm weather and pool openings!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ideas for students...

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work as a summer hire in an Embassy overseas.  Not only did I really benefit and learn a lot from the experience, but I also had a really great time!  Are you the parent of a high school or college student interested in opportunities at the Department of State?  If so, encourage them to check out the newly revamped State website to find the program that best suits them!  Click here to see the list of the various programs to consider.

Opportunities like internships are available in Washington D.C...or...

...in cities all over the world!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"My family are the true heroes, I was just doing my job"...

All of us recognize the great contribution you and your families are making during the unaccompanied tour and the burdens and stresses this places on your children in particular.  To recognize the sacrifice that children make while their parent is serving a high-risk unaccompanied tour, our office distributes Medals and Certificates of Recognition to children age 0-21. 

Jason Banks recently returned from a one year assignment to Pakistan and ordered a Medal for his five year old son, Matthew.  Because Jason and his family are unable to attend the mid-July Washington D.C. award ceremony event, Jason thought of another creative way to honor his son:  he contacted his Mayor.  After speaking with Mayor Maher Maso of Frisco, Texas, Jason arranged for his son Matthew to be publically awarded his well-deserved medal.  Jason explained,  "I told my son it was for being so brave while I was gone and that the Secretary of State gave it to him.  I told the mayor that since we could not attend the ceremony in Washington, it would mean a lot to me, to have the Mayor present him with his award.  I personally emailed him and he responded in a couple hours saying he would love to do it and said that we should be at the city council meeting the following day."  Jason and his wife, Denise, were kind enough to share some adorable pictures of the ceremony with us to share on the blog.  We hope that this inspires UT families who have yet to request a medal for their children to do so! 

"I think the Mayor Maher Maso did a good thing...and wanted to show that the sacrifices made by the military and other federal government agencies are felt at the local level.  He went on to explain how proud he was about a Frisco resident for serving in such an austere environment and I told him that without the support of my family and a wife that was capable of “doing it all”, I never would have been able to mentally survive.  My family are the true heroes, I was just doing my job."

We hope the Medals and Certificates of Recognition will in some small way let UT children know their sacrifice is appreciated and reaffirm the proud tradition of the Foreign Service.  To request a medal for your child, please click here.  Please stay posted for details about the mid-July award ceremony at the Department.   

Thank you to Jason, Denise and Matthew Banks, Mayor Maher Maso and Kerri- UT Team's Medal specialist!

Jen's "Navigating Life's Unexpected Realities"

Jen, a UT spouse who was diagnosed with cancer during her husband’s tour to Iraq, wrote a moving article about her experience in this month’s Foreign Service Journal.  Take a moment to read her story:  Navigating Life's Unexpected Realities.  Also, follow her blog here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A blog for kids?

Well, kind of!  More like a family network.  Sesame Street has a fun way for families to stay connected while one parent is away.  It is kid-friendly and interactive, just like a blog.  All you have to do is create a free account, share the log-in information with each family member, and then you can share drawings, photos, messages, videos, and audio recordings on one website--- accessible to each family member.  Check it out here.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Food truck fiesta!

Use this real time food tracker to follow the location of the most popular trucks in the DC area.  If you need help choosing the best truck, check out this posting which links to the Washington Post's review of 13 of the District's food trucks.  Don't forget, if you have a favorite...most food trucks can also be followed on the Twitter.

Anyone in the DC area have a suggestion for a great food truck they have tried?  Anyone think it would be fun to open your own food truck?  What would you serve?  

I think I'd serve a to-go version of this...with a fresh mini baguette...(of course, along the coast of a beautiful beach)...and accompany it with fresh mango or passion fruit juice :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A small project to start...

Did you know that Ronald McDonald wants your soda/coke/cola/soft drink/pop (whatever you choose call it) tabs?  It is an easy, fun way to recycle.  It is a great idea to start in your office or school.  We have a tab collector in our kitchen and everyone in our office contributes.  It is a fun way to finish off your soda!  Collect the soda pop's tabs and when you have a sufficient amount, send them to participating Ronald McDonald houses and they will use them to raise money for their cause.  If you have questions, just email us or comment here and I can give you more details about how to get involved. 

Click here for more information. 

Does anyone else have any ideas to share?  Is anyone involved in charities or volunteer?  Tell us about it.