RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Sharla Moore saw the job posting on USAJOBS; it was a promotion for her, as well as an adventure to Saudi Arabia. The hard part would be leaving her 9 and 10-year-old daughters.
Moore arrived in Saudi Arabia for work as a budget analyst at the Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG) in August 2016. Her decision to leave her daughters in the care of her mother "was definitely the hardest part of taking the job," she said. Moore explains "We Skyped a lot. If I could bring them here, I would stay another year or longer."
"I took this assignment not only for the promotion, but to live in a country that most people don't even get the chance to visit," she said.
Moore's job as a budget analyst is to track and analyze the way OPM-SANG spends its money. "I also close out old Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases and give the money back to Ministry National Guard (MNG)," Moore adds.
Moore was also the lead in a foreign national compensation plan that will be coming in the near future. "I believe that is my greatest accomplishment since I have been with OPM-SANG," she says.
Moore's job was always busy, but she managed to find time to explore Saudi Arabia by making use of what the Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) had to offer. "I took advantage of all the MWR trips; you get to experience the culture--MWR was a life saver," Moore explains. "The Saudi culture was enjoyable and the trips disputed a lot of assumptions I had about Saudi Arabia; I was able to get an up close view of what the country is like," she adds.
Travelling from Saudi Arabia to other countries in the region is relatively cheap. "I was able to visit Egypt, Jeddah and Dubai--I swam with dolphins and even sharks while I was in Dubai, and Jeddah was beautiful," she said. The ability to travel, even for a weekend getaway is definitely one of the benefits of living on Eskan. Moore even started a blog so friends and family could keep up with her experiences.
When asked what advice she would give to someone who receives an assignment to OPM-SANG, Moore says, "Be open-minded and try something new." "Don't write things off--and don't be afraid to try new things either; that's also what I am hoping my daughters learned from me."
Moore will be returning to her daughters and her job back at Langley Virginia, but not before a few quick trips to India, Jordan and Israel, and on her way out, a stop in England.