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.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This week taught us something...

= to be prepared.  So, with a hurricane on the way to D.C. (maybe) take a second to review the tips in this article.

(My backyard in Florida after a CAT3 hurricane years ago...)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Check out this interesting website - D (our intern) found it for us, of course.  If you love photography- check out the inspiring collection of shots.  If you are looking for ways to design your new house, apartment, or hooch, check out their home and furniture section for unique ideas. 

Warning: you might spend way too much time mesmerized by this website.   

Monday, August 22, 2011

A great book for Foreign Service kids...

Three Little Kids and the State Department, an illustrated children's book by Foreign Service spouse Elaine Guihan, tells the story of her three boys growing up in a Foreign Service family, told from the children's perspective.   Perfect for eight to thirteen-year-olds it covers some of the problems and joys that children experience moving from post to post and culture to culture.  This book will give children a preview of what they might experience over the years.  Here are excerpts from the description in the November, 2008 issue of "Foreign Service Journal":

"Alex, Colin and Jim's dad is an FSO.  At an early age, they leave home with their parents and live in Mauritania, France, Cote d'Ivoire and Turkey with a surprising interlude in Washington, D.C.  Their life is not always easy but it's never dull.  Plunked down in the Sahara, the boys play in the desert, learn how to wear a headscarf and drink camel's milk.  After two years, they pack their suitcases and move to France, an amazingly beautiful place.  There they visit historic castles and roller skate at the Place de la Concorde.  More adventures follow in Turkey and Cote d'Ivoire.  Written in a light, wry tone the book is colorfully illustrated."  

The book is available on Amazon.com or Xlibris.com. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Invite to Diplomatic Reception Rooms Tour

As an unaccompanied tour family member, you are invited to a tour of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms on September 8th at 9:30AM.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP before September 1st to FLOaskUT@state.gov.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Home sweet home...

We've followed The Perlman Update blog for months now and we are happy to see that her husband has returned after a year in Baghdad.  Read her posting about his return here.  Enjoy VA and hope you keep blogging!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Foreign Service Officer Michael recently returned from serving one year in Monterrey, Mexico.  Shortly after Michael's family arrived in Monterrey, the post was declared unaccompanied.  Michael's family had to unexpectedly turn right back around and return to the United States while he remained at post for the next year.  Michael's son, Michael Jr., is seen in this video receiving his Medal and Certificate of Recognition on June 9, 2011 - in appreciation for the sacrifice asked of him while separated from his father.  Congratulations to Michael Jr.!

If you want information on how to nominate your child for a Medal and Certificate of Recognition, email us at: FLOaskUT@state.gov

Thanks for sharing this video with us! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why I Serve 
by Courtney Beale
Courtney Beale serves as Acting Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.  The following is from the Department's DipNote blog:

The insistent ringing penetrated my slumber. I woke up and looked at the clock. It was only 1:00 am, so it couldn't be the alarm. Then I realized it was the press phone, the one that all the journalists knew to call when they had questions for the U.S. Embassy. What now? My contact's questions shook me wide awake. An American official, he said, had been taken into custody at the airport trying to leave the country with sensitive military equipment. "Is it true?" he asked.

In a highly charged press environment leery of America and Americans, the last thing we needed was another inaccurate story to fuel further suspicions. I spent the next hour on the phone with the embassy's security office piecing together what had really happened, which was -- as usual -- much less newsworthy than the rumors. Just as the papers went to press, I was able to call back the journalist, tell him he had his facts wrong, and stop the non-incident from becoming front page news that morning.

In press work, especially in Pakistan, we often count our victories in what we prevent rather than what we create. 

I volunteered for a tour in Islamabad wanting to serve my country. The same motivations prompted my father to join the Navy 45 years ago. He flew F-4 Phantoms off aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War, putting his life on the line to defend our country. He also developed a lifelong passion for flying. I had always deeply respected him for having seen history in the making, and for helping make it himself. I grew up inspired by his service to America. Seeking an unaccompanied assignment and spending a year away from my husband was my own way of giving back to our nation.

While I can never compare squashing rumors during middle-of-the-night phone calls to flying a jet over a war zone, I feel honored to work in the press section at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. I was drawn to press work in this volatile region, because it is the great nexus of policy, public diplomacy, and national security. Pakistan has arguably the most intense and freewheeling media environment in the world, and conspiracy theories and misinformation about the United States run rampant. Having served in India and speaking Urdu, I felt called to use my skills and experience to tell America's story sensitively but honestly, and help create an environment of opinion conducive to U.S. policy goals.

From the massive U.S. relief effort after last summer's historic floods to the death of Osama bin Laden this spring, there has not been a dull moment since I arrived. I have certainly collected a few tales to tell my own children one day. But more than that, my service has also helped me discover new passions of my own -- the music, the people, the food, and the history of South Asia -- that I'll carry with me wherever I go in life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So you think it is hot....

At the start of Ramadan, a public holiday was declared Monday for Baghdad as the temperature hit 122 Fahrenheit!