Member Highlight May 2022
This month we meet Martina Dietrich Bonzom
(by Joy Davenport)
Martina and I chatted over coffee in her lovely home in the Murches area of Cascais. She is full of positive energy and hospitality. Born in Germany, Martina later studied business administration in Heidelberg and Cologne. She spent several months at a university outside of Paris for part of her studies with the “Program for International Management,” an exchange program. In her last year of studies, she met Pierre Bonzom. When she finished college, she worked in marketing in Paris and not long after, she and Pierre married. They have been together for 34 years (married 30 years) and have three grown children; two daughters and a son.
Pierre worked in banking as an inspector/auditor and in 1991 was offered an assignment in New Caledonia, a French territory east of Australia. This assignment led to Martina and Pierre traveling around the globe for five months. This around the world adventure was the beginning of the desire for them to become expats.
Sao Paulo Brazil was their first expat position, and along with her Portuguese lessons, she found watching children’s tv with her young daughter helped her learn Portuguese. Besides being a wife and mother, while in Sao Paulo Martina worked as a relocation consultant. Their assignment in Brazil lasted six years.
After Brazil their next business assignment was in Athens, Greece for seven years. Then Cairo, Egypt for two years, followed by Beijing, China for five years.
In 2012, she and Pierre moved to Casablanca, Morocco. It was during this time that Pierre decided to leave banking and become an independent consultant. For the first few years in Casablanca, Martina continued to work with her relocation business but then decided to renovate a villa and start a B&B. She then left her relocation business and dove full time into her B&B,
Martina loved her B&B as she received guests from around the world. Casa Océane was also popular with businesses and organizations for holding retreats and seminars. She especially enjoyed planning events and excursions. She continued with her B&B until COVID struck and it became impossible to continue the business. Martina and Pierre left Morocco in 2021 and relocated to the Cascais area.
Everywhere Martina has lived she has volunteered in the French and English speaking communities, but since relocating to Portugal, she is still in her “discovery phase” enjoying her new life, socializing and attending events.
Some of her favorite activities are travel and walking/hiking. Martina is fluent in German, French, English, Portuguese, basic Chinese and can hold her own in Greek.