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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

AAFSW “Happy Hour” at Oakwood Apartments Falls Church

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 7 – 9 p.m.
For new diplomatic spouses (whose partners are in A-100, BSAC or other training), current AAFSW members and any local foreign affairs agency spouses who may be interested in joining AAFSW. Newcomers can meet others in the same situation, talk to experienced spouses and learn about helpful resources and groups. Snacks and drinks, including wine, will be provided (bring a finger food if you like, not required).
Please RSVP with your name, contact information and affiliation by Friday, Sept. 30 to office@aafsw.org , or send questions to the same address. If you are in the DC area, we hope to see you there!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just a small note...

The other day I found this article about five important things to remember to avoid when attempting to build stronger relationships and thought I'd share.

Happy Monday!  Can't believe September is almost over...didn't it go by so fast?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If you are a visual person, you will appreciate this...

Are you working on your resume?  The website Vizualize.me automatically connects to your LinkedIn account and creates a visual resume all about youIn a world where plain old resumes are becoming obsolete...this might be something to consider to stand out.  Of course, some industries and sectors will be more receptive to this kind of resume than others, but no matter what, it will definitely make a statement and will be hard to forget.  What does YOUR infographic resume look like?

(Also, don't forget, if you are researching job opportunities and need guidance, FLO has an Employment Team dedicated to helping you!  Just email FLOaskEmployment@state.gov.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do you know about our new program...

..."Ask A Returnee"?

Whether you are posted to an unaccompanied tour, getting ready to go, or just thinking of bidding, you may have questions about life before, during, and after an unaccompanied tour.  We have assembled a group of people that are either serving or have served at an unaccompanied post.  They are ready to answer your questions and make suggestions about rules, regulations, and everyday life.  This is a great opportunity to ask real people, FSOs, EFMs, contractors, and others what life at these posts is really like.  Remember “to know the road ahead, ask those coming back”.

We have provided our volunteers with pseudonyms so they will feel comfortable responding honestly to your questions.  If the pseudonyms look familiar; good for you, they were first made popular by Ben Franklin.

We just launched this program and we are starting with Monterray.  Read Polly Baker's responses here.  Have a question about Monterrey?  Email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov and we will direct your question to Polly and post the response here

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some light reading...

It's Friday!

10 Coolest Small Towns in the U.S.A. - are any of our readers from these cool towns?

Top Fall Getaways - guess what city is first?

Lazy Mammals Live Longer  - another excuse to sleep in this weekend...

Ten Ways to Live Longer - keep your head up!

Qualities of The Highest Earning Women - from now on, just call me Deborah.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Update on Kabul

Many of you have been contacting FLO to ask if we have more information on the recent incident in Kabul.  First of all, we are happy to report that all Embassy personnel are safe and accounted for.   So far, all we know is on Tuesday afternoon (Kabul time), September 13, 2011, suicide bombers and gunmen launched a coordinated attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul.  Again, the U.S. Embassy is reporting no causalities among Embassy personnel.  Please refer to the U.S. Embassy website for further information.   FLO continues to follow the events taking place in Afghanistan. 

This might be a good time to remind you that FLO’s Unaccompanied Tours staff (and all of FLO) are here to support you at all times.  I encourage you to email FLOaskUT@state.gov, or call us at the numbers listed below if you would like to know more about our program.  
We would also like to remind you of the many services designed for individuals looking for counseling or life style coaching are available through MHN.  MHN is a free, anonymous, confidential service trained in telephonic counseling skills.  Access the website here at https://members.mhn.com/ and use the company code ‘unaccompaniedtour’  to login.  If you would like to call them, their number is 1 800 213 5811.  Let the telephone operator know you are associated with an unaccompanied tour through the State Department.   If you experience problems accessing the service, please contact us at 202 647 1076, FLOaskUT@state.gov

We remain committed to our motto:  Unaccompanied, but not alone.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Monday! 

Some activities for younger children while mom or dad is serving at a UT post...

The Counting Chain

Unlike most chains this one actually counts how many days daddy/mommy has been away, the perfect thing about this is it can be used as decoration.  This is the same type of chain that a child would make in school to count down until Christmas.  As every day passes, write something you did that day or remember. It' a great way to remember everything they want to tell the loved one that isn't there. Once daddy/mommy is due home, use the counting chain as a welcome home gift...it'll definitely be long enough to decorate the living room.

The Keepsake Box

Get a shoebox and have your child decorate it.  Inside the box they get to add something every day or week (depending on what you want to try) and once daddy/mommy comes back they can tell them all about the items.

These ideas are courtesy of this website.  

Also, remember to stick to routines.  Routines will help your child feel secure.  As time goes on and she/he feels more comfortable, ask your child to help you create new family routines, such as Backward Day (try eggs for lunch, sandwiches for breakfast).  Take care of yourself by including physical activity in your routines: a family walk, a game of tag, or dancing to favorite tunes. Also, eat (and serve) good foods to feel your best and get plenty of sleep. By keeping yourself physically healthy, you’ll keep yourself emotionally healthy, too.

More resources can be found at this website.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Returning to D.C.?

On September 18th the Foreign Service Youth Foundation is hosting a welcome-back picnic for Foreign Service families that recently returned to the D.C. area from overseas. Whether or not your family falls into that category, we hope you’ll attend—to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and welcome home your colleagues. The picnic offers food and fun for the entire family.

If you would like more details about the event, please email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov.