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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Build Resilience Every Day
monkeybusiness images via Getty images
Resilience is not just the ability to survive challenging times; it's the ability to thrive in them. Those who learn to build their own resilience can enjoy their work, their relationships, and the daily bustle more than someone who gets knocked down by stress over and over again.
Anyone can learn to do this. But it takes practice. And stress is the ultimate catch 22. The more stressed you are, the less able you are to make the changes that would alleviate it. That's why we view building resilience as a practice--something that you do daily, a little at a time, until the wellspring of resilience is part of you. That steady practice is what provides the big payoff.
Here are three ways to make resilience a practice in your life right now -- and reap the benefits of being able to ride out any storm (or surf through it).

1. Put resilience on the calendar. The late Steven Covey said, "don't prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities." When you want to make something consistent in your life, you want to build your life around it rather, than trying to shoehorn it in.

What activities make you feel good? Energized? Positive? A friend of mine loves taking her dog to the local park every Saturday and doing laps around the track, rain or shine. It helps her clear her mind and get a little movement in. A co-worker spends 10 minutes in the morning at a cafe journaling. Whatever activity loosens the grip of stress should be part of your weekly routine.

2. Practice tuning into your emotion radar. When something in your life goes badly, what emotion do you tend to feel first? For example, if you're in a long line at the grocery store at the end of the day, do you feel frustrated? Angry? Sad? Or guilty, thinking you're a bad parent because you're missing dinner time with your kid?

When you regularly feel a negative emotion, you likely have what we call an "emotion radar" for it. You've learned to scan for that emotion, even if there's not really a reason to feel it! The good news is that awareness breaks their chokehold. Ask yourself: Is this a habitual response I'm having, and is it making the situation worse? This will help you pause and see if it's truly warranted.

3. Use mistakes as a chance to practice resilience. Ironically, the very moments when you feel your resilience waning are the perfect times to practice it. The next time you lose your cool, snap at your spouse, stay up too late, or start emotional eating--resist spiraling into self-blame or disgust, and instead, choose to do something that will ease your stress and feed your resilience, such as talking a walk or calling a supportive friend.

Of course, there will be times when stress gets the best of you The key is to remember that practice makes perfect. Every single action your take towards feeling more resilient and positive, however small, is a win.

Huff Post Healthy Living Blog posted by meQuilibrium - Headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts, meQuilibrium was founded by CEO Jan Bruce, a successful publisher (Whole Living: body+soul, Dr. Weil’s Self Healing, Walking) in consumer health and wellness.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Family Liaison Office and MHN 
are offering an interactive webinar

“Parenting During Separations”
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 
9:00 to 10:00 a.m. ET

The October 21st session will discuss successful parenting during times of    separations.  A participant workbook accompanies the session and individuals are encouraged to request a copy before the session by writing FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Remote or In-Person Participation:                                          Participants may attend in-person or virtually. Virtual participants will need a  computer with a high-speed Internet connection and computer speakers. Only the presenter will be able to speak. The chat function will allow you to post questions during the presentation. To participate in the webinar visit:

Enter as a guest and type your first name and your post or future post. The
session will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET and will last one hour. It will be held in room 1239 of the Harry S Truman building. In-person participation: RSVP to FLOAskUT@state.gov. If you do not have a state badge or diplomatic passport, please let us know so someone will be available to escort you.

If you have questions: Please direct questions or in-person RSVPs to FLO's Unaccompanied Tours Team at 202-647-1076 or email FLOAskUT@state.gov 

Monday, September 21, 2015

MHN Member Pulse Updates and More

September is National Preparedness Month
If an emergency happened tomorrow, would you be ready?
In an emergency, every second counts. In support of National Preparedness Month, this month's Member Pulse digest includes tips on being ready for an emergency. Just click on the titles below to go directly to the articles.

  • Are you ready?
    Scan the news, and you're bound to see a story about a flood, fire or other crisis. When each second counts, can you quickly find your key documents?
  • Coping with a traumatic event
    After a crisis, it's normal to experience temporary changes in your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and body. Being in tune with these changes - and not trying to rush or deny them - can help you heal.
  • Disaster preparation checklist
    From the hurricane-prone gulf states to the wildfires of the West, we are often reminded that disasters can strike close to home, at any time. Fortunately, we can reduce our anxiety and possible loss with preparation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Employment Opportunity in FLO

The FLO Specialist (CLO, GS-11) is responsible for providing a wide range of program assistance to FLO’s CLO Program through CLO training, programmatic outreach to CLOs, administrative and technical support, and development and maintenance of resources to guide and support CLO staff at more than 200 missions overseas.

This position, located in Washington, D.C., is a full time, two-year limited appointment with benefits (FERS, TSP, FEGLI and FEHB) with the potential to be extended up to a maximum of five years, Excepted Service, Schedule A. This appointment is not in the Competitive Service.

The application deadline is September 23, 2015.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Basic Personal Defense

FSI Announces: MQ930: Basic Personal Defense
October 14, 2015 (9:00-11:30am)
November 13, 2015 (9:00-11:30am)

In today’s world, personal security is paramount. Learning how to defend your self can be empowering and essential to survival in the Foreign Service. Join us for an introduction of basic self-defense measures that anyone can learn and apply.

This course will include:
·         An overview of real life attacks
·         Basic body strikes and ground defense
·         How to defend against chokes and bear hugs

Who May Attend:
Open to all Foreign Affairs agency employees (FS and CS) and adult eligible family members (EFMs).

Where and When:
At the Foreign Service Institute, George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Arlington, VA. Room C3116. (On October 14, 2015 the course will be in room C3116)

How to Register:
Register online through the FSI Course Catalog at http://reg.fsi.state.gov/CourseCatalog.aspx?EventId=MQ930.    

Tuition: State: No charge. Non-State: $65.


For questions about this course please contact coordinators at FSISOS@state.gov.

For more information about other Transition Center programs and training classes for personnel, family members and members of household, see our website at http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September is National Personal Preparedness Month

During National Preparedness Month, the Family Liaison Office’s (FLO) Crisis Management and Support Services team wants to know: Are you prepared for the unexpected? Every day there is a possibility of a sudden departure from an overseas post due to political unrest, terrorist threats, natural disaster, a death in the family, divorce, a family member in crisis, or a medical emergency. There are many ways to prepare for the unexpected and a good place to start is by reading FLO’s Personal Preparedness Plan online for tips on how to create your plan.

FLO also provides a helpful checklist for preparing a Go Bag and a 72 Hour Emergency Kit. You need to be prepared to grab your Go Bag quickly should you leave post on a short notice so keep it in a location that is easily accessible. Make sure your Go Bag meets airline specifications for size and weight and that it is easy to handle, especially if you are traveling with small children. (Pack younger children’s necessities in your own bag and allow older children to have their own.) It might be impractical to have your Go Bag completely packed all the time as you may need to use some of the items on a daily basis. In this case, attach a checklist of important items, such as passports and important documents, phones and chargers, etc. that you can quickly pack when the time comes. Your 72 Hour Emergency Kit should include supplies you would need to survive for 3-4 days when you are asked to shelter-in-place such as non-perishable foods, water, medications, etc.

The theme for the 2015 National Preparedness Month is Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make your Emergency Plan Today. Visit http://www.ready.gov/septemberfor information, including tips for creating a family communication plan. Take 60 seconds to watch the Don’t Wait video and take action today!

Visit FLO’s Crisis Management webpage for more information or email FLOAskSupportServices@state.gov.

Friday, September 4, 2015

FSYF Upcoming Events for Youth and Families!

FSYF Meet-Up Events Continue in the Fall

These events are an opportunity for FSYF members in the DC Metro area to connect with each other. If your family has recently returned from overseas, is new to the FS, or just wants to enjoy a casual FS social opportunity, please join us:

Pizza Party for High School Students on Saturday, September 12, from 6 to 7:30pm: High School students please join us in the party room of the Lost Dog Cafe on Columbia Pike in Arlington for free pizza and soda.  Lost Dog Cafe makes fabulous pizza and sponsors a rescue foundation that saved the lives of over 16,000 dogs and cats. Parents and younger siblings are welcome to enjoy a meal in the main dining room (paying their own tab). The cafe is at 2920 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204 (near the intersection of S. Walter Reed Dr. and Columbia Pike). Metered on-street parking is usually available behind the building along S. 11th Street.

Registration for this FSYF Meet - Up event is required for all teens attending and space is limited.      Register Here

Alexandria Ghost Tour on Saturday, October 3, at 7:30pm: Join FSYF on Saturday, October 3, as we are led by an 18th Century costumed guide by lantern light through the streets of Alexandria's historic Old Town. We will hear ghost stories, legends, and unsolved mysteries. The tour starts at 7:30pm at the Ramsay House Visitors Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, and is appropriate for ages 9 and up (no pets please). Cost is $13 per adult and $7 per child. Advance registration and payment to FSYF is required.  Register and Pay Here

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FLO Website Feature: Foreign Service Life and Crisis Management

The Family Liaison Office (FLO) can provide guidance and assistance to employees and families navigating the challenges and opportunities of the Foreign Service lifestyle. FLO’s Foreign Service Life webpage provides information on a variety of topics including eldercare, adding a family member to your orders, members of household, foreign-born spouses, long–distance relationships, and more.

The Crisis Management Services webpage also has useful information about personal preparedness (is your Go Bag ready?) and post evacuations.

 Email FLOAskSupportServices@state.gov with questions.