I am enjoying my first day off work for illness in well over a year. I noticed a twinge in the shoulder two days ago. I had not picked up anything particularly heavy, not started a new exercise routine, so I figured it was just a twinge. Not so. Yesterday, by the afternoon, I was visibly grimacing each time the twinge reared its ugly head and bit me savagely when I moved in what it considered an inconsiderate way. Two Tylenol blunted it enough to finish the day and drive home. Sleeping, however, was not fun. If I shifted during the night in bed, it bit me hard enough to wake me up countless times. I did not know how many times I normally shift in bed during sleep, but I now know it is far too many times. OUCH!! OUCH!! YE-OUCH!! ad nauseam. More Tylenol. So, I called in sick to give the pain time to subside somewhat.
If I had earned this annoying pain by picking up something I should have known was too heavy for me, I would figure this was just desserts for my hard-headedness for going ahead and picking up something that I should have known was too heavy for me to lift by myself, and I would not now be feeling sorry for myself. However, I didn’t do that – I swear!! Sheesh. I guess I have to do more sit-ups and crunches to strengthen my abdominals. I hate sit-ups with a veritable passion. Might explain the back pain.
Anyway, during the day, I finished the student’s read check questions on one of the novels we are reading in class at school: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Interesting novel. Coming from the American South, it is refreshing to see someone from another culture admit that prejudice is a universal human trait. I’d grown used to hearing that my own culture has copyrights on prejudice, ya know, what with the slave thing and all. It is as if slavery were invented there and ended there for the entire human race once it was eradicated from there – as if.
Anyhoo, while I sat gingerly in one place and processed literature, my husband went and purchased 200 dirhams worth of additional firewood to get us through the last few days in this month before payday, toted it bagful by bagful up to our third-floor apartment, put in away in the wood bin. I sat in one place and felt guilty for not helping, but helping was OUT of the question, even though I normally would have helped, and hubby was very nice to me (as he usually is). Then he headed off to a downtown cafe to meet a dude about seeing some property. He saw a piece of building land that actually might do for our retirement plans. We have been looking for, and at, property for a few months now, since we got the bright idea to stay and retire here in Morocco, and give ourselves a little retirement income in the process.
The university I work for hires foreign faculty frequently. These people get a housing package with their contract of employment: usually a furnished apartment in University-supplied housing. Lately, though, as the university has grown, they have out-grown their available housing for both students AND faculty. So, to tempt people to move out of University housing and obtain their own apartment, they recently upped the housing allowance. Problem is, in the small ski resort town where the University is located, what the University pays towards housing will not begin to pay for an apartment’s rent, much less all the stuff that you must provide for an apartment here in Morocco, since apartments here generally come with four bare walls and a roof, nothing else – not even a water heater.
As a consequence, my husband and I figured we could cash in some stuff in the US, buy a building lot, and put up an apartment building. We plan to occupy one apartment ourselves, and rent out the other, furnished apartments to University personnel, who we know have the funds to pay their rent regularly (lots of regular Moroccans don’t do such a good job with that, according to our current landlord). I still have at least ten more years I can teach, so if it takes us ten years to do this, we’ll be just about on time for retirement. The little town where we currently live is 10 kilometers down the mountain from the ski resort town, with a resultant drop in housing and living costs and a rise in winter temperatures – both of which are good things. Plus, I go to work every day anyway, so I can drive a shuttle van and offer free shuttle service to our future tenants. We can also offer the free use of washers and dryers in our building to our tenants, which is something else the University charges its residents for.
It gives us a part-time job, and a business, AND a place to live in our “golden years.” If it works, and we are consistently pretty full of happy tenants and make money – we might even consider building a second one – maybe putting in an indoor pool and a workout room, where I can do sit-ups and crunches to keep from having nagging back pain like today. Just one problem: what will my daughter think when she discovers her inheritance is in MOROCCO?? Well- maybe she will love it here as much as we do!