About UAB

UAB is a collection of commentary about life in the U.S. Foreign Service. Contributors are members of the American diplomatic community. Officers, employees, retirees, spouses, partners, you name it. (Heck, if your well-traveled cat has an opinion, we’ll consider publishing it.) How to submit content to us.

UAB is managed by several State Department “Eligible Family Members.”

Amy Kennedy manages Unaccompanied Baggage. She is a life long expat, went to music school, became a Montessori teacher and is now living it up in Beijing.

Zoe Cabaniss Friloux’s family circus began its world tour in 2007. She enjoys reading, horses, photography, gardening and a good grammar debate (as all semi-retired journalists do). She blogs at somethingedited.blogspot.com.

Nicole Schaefer-McDaniel entered the craziness of Foreign Service life when her son was born so she had to learn two life-changing jobs at once—FS spouse and new mother. Several years and another kid later, she now speaks almost fluent “government lingo” which has helped her navigate posts in Brazil, Austria, and Mongolia. She blogs at kidswithdiplomaticimmunity.wordpress.com.

Jen Kirk Dinoia began globetrotting with her family when her 16 year old daughter was only three weeks old. Currently in Central America, tours have also taken them to South America, Europe, and several Stateside locales. With three children, and the constant moves, life is never dull. Jen enjoys reading, writing, running, and a good cup of coffee wherever her husband’s job takes her. She blogs about her family’s crazy lifestyle at dinoiafamily.typepad.com.

Kelly Bembry Midura is now a “retired” Foreign Service spouse after seven tours in Latin America, Africa, and Europe. She blogs at wellthatwasdifferent.com.

There are two ways to be featured on this blog.

1.) You may submit your commentary directly to the editors. We need to know who you are, but you may ask us to publish your piece without a byline if you like. By offering the option of anonymous publication, we aim to provide a forum for honest, unfiltered opinions about various aspects of life in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Your commentary can be on any topic relevant to Foreign Service life. We do ask that if you identify a problem, you also propose solutions. In other words, rant all you like, but leave us with something to chew on! And keep it “big picture” please. This is not a forum for slamming individuals, no matter how tempting that can be (trust us, we know!)

You must be associated with the Foreign Service in order to be featured on this blog. Submissions that do not include a clear explanation of your affiliation (if you are FS you know the drill) will be discarded. We are volunteers, and do not have time to figure out who you are. So, no being mysterious, please.

2.) We also reblog commentaries from other Foreign Service community authors. Feel free to send us a link to your commentary!

We assume that if you have put a commentary on your blog, you want people to read it. So, we will feel free to reblog it. However, if you see your post reblogged on our site and would like us to remove it, just email us.

In addition to the criteria above, we may refuse any submission that we believe presents a security risk in any way.

Needless to say (but we’re going to say it anyway) nothing on this blog is official or should be construed as in any way representing the State Department, the U.S. government, or anything other than the personal opinions of the writers.


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