The events in the Middle East over the last month has highlighted one of the things that I fear the most about the foreign service. An unplanned evacuation. As a foreign service family there are a lot of hardships and difficulties that we deal with on a day to day basis. Most of them are minor and can be dealt with, or ignored. You know, not understanding the local language, frustrations over local customs that you might not understand, not being able to find a peanut butter that you like, etc. Not a big deal. But as the events in Libya have shown sometimes things can go from unpleasant to serious in a matter of weeks, if not days. Or they can go from bad to worse in a matter of hours.
Since they evacuated the embassy in Egypt I've been trying to figure out what we would do in such a situation. We have an emergency bag packed. It's got a change of clothes, our passports, toothbrushes, Honey's rabies certificate, etc. But, like in Libya, what if we have to evacuate quickly. What would happen to Honey? What about all the pictures and the little things that I've collected over the years that have some sort of emotional significance (like Babes' first pair of shoes)? Would that stuff get packed up if things stabilize? Will it get torched by the locals? And poor Honey, the thought of having to leave her behind breaks my heart. DH claims it's my fault for wanting a dog, but she has added so much to our lives, I can't imagine leaving her to her fate.
There are so many things to be thankful for while we live overseas, but there is also danger, frustration, and loneliness. And yes, we signed up for it, and yes, we know it's a possibility that the country we are living in could destabilize under your feet, but it's a price we are willing to accept because we think the work the Embassies and consulates do overseas is very important.