The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2022

44 JULY-AUGUST 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Donna Scaramastra Gorman’s articles have appeared in Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post , the Christian Science Monitor and the FSJ . A Foreign Service spouse, she has lived in Amman, Moscow, Yerevan, Almaty, Beijing and Northern Virginia. Formerly an associate editor for the Journal , she recently returned to the D.C. area with her family after her husband, who had been serving as deputy chief of mission at Embassy Moscow, was expelled by the Russian government. Jessica Hayden, who wrote “What We Left Behind” and also contributed to the research for this article, is a lawyer, writer and Foreign Service spouse. She has lived in Kyiv, Ankara, Baku, Almaty and North- ern Virginia. She recently returned to Falls Church, Virginia, after being evacuated from Kyiv. Nobody wants to do it. But there’s a good chance it’ll happen to you. Here’s what you need to know. BY DONNA SCARAMASTRA GORMAN I t wasn’t really a surprise when it happened. People have been getting expelled left and right from Moscow for the past few years, after all. Still, when we got the diplomatic notice telling us we had a little over a week to get out of the country, the stress hormones kicked in as we swung into action. Over the course of a 24-year career, we’ve had to leave in a hurry three times. We were expelled from our first post, Moscow, in 2001. While at our third post, Kazakhstan, we left for a medevac and never returned. And now this—our second expulsion fromMoscow. You could say we’re something of experts by now. For my friend Jessica Hayden, however, this was the first evacuation in a nearly 20-year career. She was on the other side of the Russian invasion, in Kyiv, with three kids and a puppy who had to get out in a hurry while her spouse stayed behind. The two of us met up for coffee in Arlington (okay, there are some good sides to a sudden evacuation) and mapped out what you need to know if—when—this happens to you. “We knew it was coming …” “Try to have a plan,” says retired Diplomatic Security Agent John Rendeiro, now a senior adviser at SOS International, which handled more than 1,000 air ambulance evacuations in 2021, FOCUS ON FS TRANSITIONS WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE ... Evacuating JEFFMOORES