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, December 29, 2014


Q: My husband and I are a tandem couple and will both be assigned to Islamabad (an unaccompanied post) in the fall. Is our 19-year-old daughter eligible for ISMA (involuntary separate maintenance allowance) while she attends the University of Illinois?

A:  Yes, until she turns 21.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Memories from Home for the Holidays 2014

A fabulous time was had by all who attended the annual “Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays” reception. This year’s holiday reception included remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry. Children were entertained by Rudolph as they awaited to share the stage with the Secretary for a group photo.  This festive event concluded with all the assembled children of U.S. diplomats serving on unaccompanied tours receiving a tote bag filled with arts and crafts. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Urgent - new arrival time for Home for the Holidays - 4:00p.m.

See you at Home for the Holidays reception, Wednesday, December 17th at the new time of 4:00p.m. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Six Tips for Managing Holiday Stress - from MHN 

Why, when the holiday season is supposed to be such a special time of year, do the words "holiday" and "stress" seem to go hand in hand? Some holiday stresses are unavoidable -- shopping malls are crowded, traffic is slow, schedules are packed. We may bring on some holiday stress ourselves, though. We so want the holidays to be perfect that we can be too hard on ourselves, and lose sight of what's most important. Try the following suggestions to fill your holidays -- and the rest of the year -- with less stress and more joy.
  1. Let it go.
    It's great to be in control. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and do our best to make the right choices. Sometimes, though, life happens. Your sister's plans change at the last minute, your 6-year-old gets the flu, or the roast you marinated for two days ends up burned on the outside and raw in the center. Remember that sometimes all you can control is your own reaction. Take a breath and do your best to handle the unexpected with grace.
  2. Keep your sense of humor.
    Think back to that road trip gone wrong -- the one where traffic was insane and the gas station restrooms were, to put it politely, not well maintained. With luck, your strongest memories of that trip are of the ridiculous joke that surfaced in hour three and seemed to keep getting funnier with each hour of traffic. Humor helps us look at stressful situations in a more positive way. Besides, it's just more fun to laugh than to complain.
  3. Take care of yourself.
    In the midst of a busy schedule, healthy habits often seem like too much trouble. You know, though, that you'll enjoy your holidays more if you eat right and keep up your exercise routine. Balance holiday treats with plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, and make time for walks with friends or workouts at the gym. You need downtime more than ever, so let yourself hide away with a great book or just take a nap.
  4. Look for ways to help others.
    You need all the help you can get, right? Helping others, though, will make you feel better than focusing on your own worries. Volunteering for a community project or helping a friend in need will put your problems in perspective. Besides, the friendships you nurture will support you through your own good and bad times.
  5. Remember the importance of family.
    The most important people in your life deserve your attention more than anything else. Share your family traditions with your kids, and start some new ones with parents and grandparents. This is a great time to move past old hurts and conflicts. Pick up the phone and just let family members know you care.
  6. Practice gratitude.
    Gratitude makes us feel better about our lives, our relationships and ourselves. Although some people seem to come by a grateful spirit naturally, we can all get better at it. Try spending a few minutes before bed, or with your family at dinner, taking stock of the day's kindnesses and unexpected pleasures. Or, just make it a habit to say thank you for those good deeds that make you smile.
A special note for parents: Children hold a special place in our holiday planning. We imagine the look of pure joy when our child opens the perfect gift, and worry about the disappointment of a lean holiday celebration. It may be hard to remember when you're faced with a multi-page wish list, but you can give your children a valuable gift by helping them to focus on what's truly important about the season, too. Model the values of humor, generosity and gratitude and you'll help your kids truly enjoy the holidays.
We can't promise you shorter lines, a cleaner house or a lower credit card bill this holiday season. We hope, though, that these simple suggestions will make it a little easier to savor special moments with the people you love.
MHN Resources  www.members.mhn.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kids, Trying to Track Down Santa?
NORAD  Can Help!!

Every year NORAD  (North American Aerospace Defense Command) does a special mission of tracking Santa on December 24th.

Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site (in eight languages), over telephone lines, by e-mail, and through social media to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.  

Use the links below to track Santa:
Website: www.NORADSANTA.org 
YouTube: www.youtube.com/noradsanta
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/noradsanta
Twitter: www.twitter.com/noradsanta #NORADSANTA; @NORADSANTA
NTS Apps – available for Android, iPhone & Windows phones and tablets 
OnStar – available Dec. 24 to OnStar subscribers to ask Santa’s location

Monday, December 1, 2014

Home for the Holiday

If you are currently experiencing an Unaccompanied Tour

Keep an eye on your inbox for an
early December email invitation to
Home for the Holidays
Wednesday, December 17th
3:00 PM
Hosted by Protocol and FLO