Nina Roper Yearwood, Köln

Who are you?

My name is Nina Roper Yearwood. I’m an expat building a home in Germany.I’m Filipino and my husband is half-German and half-Panamanian… which makes raising our daughter an interesting journey.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Germany December of 2016 to be with the love of my life.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The visa process, to begin with. There was a mountain of paperwork to complete and so much time required for the process.

Are there many other expats in your area?

I reckon there are a lot of expats in the city where I live. Köln is a vibrant city that is the HQ to many media and advertising companies.

What do you like about life where you are?

The entire country is connected by an efficient transport system which makes travelling a lot easier and more convenient. It never fails to impress me seeing how common it is to see retirees on trains with their luggage.

Another would be the neighborhood bakeries that are within walking distance to any block of houses here.

And finally, NATURE NATURE NATURE. And more nature. There are greeneries within a few train stops within the city where you can do sports or decompress.

Other than that, I am a huge fan of the skincare and cosmetic products here which contain primarily natural ingredients.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Being away from my family and friends and consequently missing out on the milestones of their lives. The language is also quite a challenge.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest I’ve noticed is the emphasis on being self-reliant. For example, raising babies or taking care of the elderly in my home country (the Philippines) is a family affair there. And by family, I mean not only the nuclear but also the extended one. It is not uncommon to see a relative in the house of the new parents to help take care of the babies.

Here in Germany, since everybody is busy, the care for a newborn is solely the responsiblity of the parents with the occasional assistance of the grandparents and siblings.

The elderly here also take care of their own necessities (i.e. doing the grocery shopping), taxes, and other affairs while in the Philippines, it is usually undertaken by the next of kin living with the elderly.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I think it is an injustice that the stereotypical German food the world knows about is beer and sausages. In my more than a year of being here, I’ve come to enjoy the plethora of bread, pastries, and cakes here.

In Aachen, where I used to live, I particularly enjoyed Printen and Poshweck. I also love Malz Bier which is basically what you get when you start making beer but you don’t add yeast. The local beer in Köln, Sünner, is my current favorite. Other favorites are Spätzle and Reibekuchen.

My dislikes are dishes that use brussel sprouts and the red cabbage salads and soups. I’m also not a huge fan of Knödel and Currywurst.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Roll with the punches. Learn German, explore their drugstores (DM is my favorite) for affordable but good quality products, and enjoy the summer (meaning: head out the door as soon as you see the sun) because it’s over in the blink of an eye.

What are your plans for the future?

Establish my digital marketing career in Germany, get my masters, and travel more with my small family.

You can keep up to date with Nina's adventures on her blog, Neenaland.

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