Merry Christmas From Live And Invest Overseas
‘Tis the season to remember
All the faces and the places that were home
‘Tis the season to remember
And to count up all the ports of call I’ve known…
—”Merry Christmas, Alabama” by Jimmy Buffett
Our seven Christmases in Ireland, we could never bring ourselves to participate in one of Ireland’s quirkiest festive traditions, what the Irish refer to as the “Christmas Day swim.”
On Christmas morning, from beaches, piers, and coves around the country, people of all ages gather to immerse themselves in waters of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (maximum).
“Swim” is a bit of a misnomer. There is no particular distance that you need to cover, nor any agreed-upon duration you must stay in the water. You simply join the crowd of people running toward and then into the water (cheered on by well-wrapped-up spectators), screaming as their bodies hit the ice-cold sea. A quick splash of the arms and legs, then back in to shore to dry off, wrap up, and enjoy a hot drink or a shot of whiskey.
Wetsuits have appeared on the scene in recent years, mostly among the kids, but it remains an unspoken rule among the hardy adults taking part: Traditional bathing suits only.
Our four Christmases in Paris were all about the lights. Each year, starting in November, Boulevard St. Germain, just a few blocks from our apartment in this city, is strung with tiny white lights. The trees and the building facades are covered with them. Each morning and again each evening as I’d walk Jackson, aged 4 through 8 at the time, to and from school, we’d linger at the intersection of Rue du Bac and Boulevard St. Germain as long as possible, looking up and down, up and down, slowly, working to fix that magical view in our memories. “It’s a fairy land,” 4-year-old Jack declared it one morning. I see it still.
Twinkling lights and decorated shop windows. This time of year, storefronts throughout Paris are draped with pine garland, and displays feature green trees flocked with white and trimmed with red and gold baubles. No one does shop windows like the French do shop windows, and no others anywhere compare with the shop windows of central Paris at Christmastime.
My favorite part of Christmas in Panama City, where we’ve been living for the past eight-and-a-half years, is the chance it gives us to enjoy the community we’ve built here.
At our office tree-trimming party earlier this month, the group assembled around our fresh-from-Canada live pine drinking egg nog and singing carols included Panamanians and Americans, as you might expect, but also German, French, Belgian, Irish, British, Russian, Jamaican, and Canadian friends and colleagues.
Merry Christmas, from Live and Invest Overseas!
These past 20 years that we’ve been moving around the world as we have been, it’s been this, the creation of like-minded communities, that has been perhaps the greatest source of pleasure for me everywhere we’ve spent time.
Getting to know people from all around the world, as friends, as business partners, as workmates, then focusing together on particular goals and objectives, helping each other to pursue opportunities as we identify them for both fun and profit… for me, that’s as good as it gets.
We’re spending Christmas Day this year with my family in Baltimore, my hometown. I appreciate the chance to return to the place from which I launched my adventures overseas some two decades ago at this time of year, the season for remembering and for taking stock.
Where will 2017 lead us? I can’t wait to find out.
On behalf of the entire far-flung staff of Live and Invest Overseas, please accept our warm and heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas, wherever you find yourself enjoying it this year, and our sincere hope that 2017 is the year your far-flung dreams of adventure overseas begin to come true.
All the best from our family to yours. We so appreciate you coming along with us for this ride.