Interviews

12 Questions for an Expat in Jamaica – Spaniard Marta Lamolla

Written by Xavier Murphy

We are continuing our Expatriates living in Jamaica series with a conversation with Spaniard, Marta Lamolla who moved there 9 years ago. Marta tells us about her experience living in Jamaica, including advice to other expats who may consider moving to the island. What is the funniest thing that happened to Marta while living in Jamaica? What are Marta ’s likes and dislikes about Jamaica? Find out in our conversation with Marta Lamolla.

Your name, title, how long you have lived in Jamaica and what you do?
My name is Marta Lamolla. All happened 9 years ago while I was working as a Spanish teacher in Barcelona. I saw a job offer on internet looking for a tour guide/translator for Spanish people in Jamaica for 6/7 months. I fell in love with this island immediately and I decided to stay. After 5 years in the island I met my husband, Nick Davis, a British journalist with family in Jamaica. Because of his work we had to go back to London where I trained as a Pilates instructor. After a year in London we both decided that the Caribbean life was calling us and we came back to Jamaica. Living in Kingston for the last 3 years where I teach Pilates full time.  We have also a tour company who offers personalized tours off the beaten track around the Caribbean.

Where are you from originally?
I’m from Barcelona, Spain

Why did you end up living in Jamaica?
I came as a tour guide for Spanish people and I fell in love with the island so I decided to stay. I retrained as a Pilates instructor while in London for a year because of my husband’s work

What do you like the most about Jamaica?
The view of the mountains every morning enjoying a delicious blue mountain coffee is breathtaking.

What you like the least about Jamaica?
I’ll have to use a cliche… The roads and the crazy driving!!

What is your funniest experiences in Jamaica?
Driving in the country side with some friends from New York who came to visit, we ended up getting lost. We asked a couple of farmers on a field for directions and also what they were were growing. The farmers reply: ‘tings’. And our american friend quite curious about Jamaican ‘agriculture’ asked ‘what kinda things?’ To which they reply ‘all sort of tings’! Our friend’s face when he understood what they meant was priceless! Aaaahhhh!! That type of things! It was very funny. And they sent us in the right direction

What was the biggest adjustment you had to make living Jamaica?
You require bags and bags full of patience when you deal with bureaucracy like going to the bank, official documents… And it’s a very, very expensive country!

Your favorite Jamaican food is…
Ackee with no saltfish please! Loads of onions, sweet pepper and some scotch bonnet pepper! Delicious!

Your favorite Jamaican attraction is…
Might not be an attraction per se but the Blue Mountains!!! But if I have to pick a listed attraction… Reach Falls in Portland

What is the thing you miss the most when you leave Jamaica?
The Jamaican swagger and properly done Jamaican food

What advice would you offer to an expat moving to Jamaica?
You have to be open minded as things can move very slow in terms of bureaucracy. I see loads of expats coming to Jamaica and they start comparing Jamaica with other countries… Well, other countries are not Jamaica right? Things are very expensive (very expensive), and also as a woman you can be treated differently than the males (it took me a while to accept this!)

Thanks for your time.
Totally Pilates

About the author

Xavier Murphy