We made it out of Burundi for three weeks of scheduled leave on December 12, only 24 hours delayed in spite of about 15 hours of violent fighting in Bujumbura on December 11. After considerable drama and several ridiculous interactions with RwandAir ground crew (including "we issued you boarding passes on unpurchased tickets in good faith, you can't change your itinerary now!" and "I won't deliver the carseat you gate-checked on Ethiopian Airlines (out of Bujumbura) because it's too heavy and you can't use it on the KLM flight"), we arrived in Portland with no bags but otherwise intact (and with the carseat that the KLM flight attendants were happy to see).
The day after Christmas, we flew to Chicago for an all-Zaur holiday!
In early January, I came to Washington for a week of training (the course that used to be called "Crash and Bang" but is now (boring!) called the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat course (FACT)). We learned to identify various guns by sound, we did a good amount of crisis first aid, and we smashed up cars.
Ian and Bertie stayed in Aurora, and I returned to Burundi alone to collect the animals, close up shop, pack us out, and get an onward assignment. I finally flew away on February 14, arriving in DC just before the "wintry mix" turned nasty. We are so relieved to be all together again.