Jenny Lin

Jenny Lin

Jenny Lin is a writer and editor currently based in Columbus, Ohio, where she is adding a master's degree in public health to the one she already has in journalism. She is married to a Chinaman and spent the last three years immersing her three children in local life in Beijing. She has worked for a wide variety of media, from state TV to wire news to magazine.


Souvenir Shopping in Beijing: Tianyi or Yashow Market?

You probably won’t want to finish a trip to Beijing without an armload of souvenirs, especially silk products like scarves, bags, or decorative items. Local markets are plentiful and each has particular specialties but the main go-to markets for souvenirs are Tianyi and Yashow, and to a degree the Zoo Market. A friend took me to Tianyi for the first time shortly before I moved from China. We were shopping for kids’ birthday party supplies but when I asked about souvenirs she said she bought hers there too. So a few days later I went back to Tianyi with...

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Hong Kong’s Cheung Sha Beach: A Long Slice of Paradise

When visiting Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, be sure to check out a stretch of beach called Cheung Sha that is quiet and well kept. It’s a perfect place for the family to play and eat. The name can be translated to Long Beach, and it made my kids want to play endlessly. In fact so much so, that we had burns and tongue blisters to show for it. We were there on a holiday weekend and the beach was described as crowded, but coming from the mainland, it was still calm and peaceful. Cheung Sha is very family friendly...

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Tai O Fishing Village: A Different Side of Hong Kong

When on a family visit to Hong Kong, if you have the chance to go to the fishing village of Tai O, it’s worth seeing. We took the bus from Mui Wo (on a very windy road that made my 8 year old sick) and spent a few hours. Tai O is a very quaint little village that is pretty much what you imagine a fishing village to look like. Also sometimes called the Stilt Village, houses sit on stilts in the water and are very crowded and compact. Once you wander through the town, you will see plenty...

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A Kid-Free Stay at Sawmill Creek Resort in Northern Ohio

The Lake Erie mainland offers many lodging choices for your northern Ohio vacation. Along the Ohio coast in Huron just minutes from Sandusky, the Sawmill Creek Resort is a nice option for your family vacation when visiting the islands or Cedar Point. I stayed at Sawmill Creek with my husband to celebrate our 10th anniversary after three years living in China, and we enjoyed the quiet and full service amenities of the hotel. There were also many families staying at Sawmill Creek and enjoying the swimming pool. The Sawmill Creek Lodge is not directly on the water but the...

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Lake Erie Shores and Islands Getaway Without the Kids

The Lake Erie Shores and Islands along Ohio’s northern border is an amazing family getaway destination. There’s enough both on the mainland around Sandusky and in the Lake Erie islands to keep the whole family busy for days — if not weeks. Sandusky itself is the main passenger pier (along with Port Clinton) for getting to the Lake Erie islands of Put-in-Bay and Kelleys. There is one main attraction in Sandusky: Cedar Point. We didn’t get to explore that (yet) but got close enough to be impressed and enticed! There are a number of hotels and resorts from which...

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Do Disasters Influence Your Family Travel?

There are many concerns parents have when planning family travel overseas. The food, the language, the transportation, even the air. But whenever there is a disaster it brings to mind the problem of safety, especially when children are traveling. “It could have been me” are the words that any world traveler thinks when hearing of a disaster in a foreign country. Probably if that describes you, that was your thought when you heard of the fatal Egyptian air balloon crash. I’ve never been to Egypt, but I have taken a tourist plane around the Himalayas in Nepal. And I’ve...

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Beijing Aquarium and Zoo with Kids

The Beijing Aquarium on the zoo grounds is hailed as the largest inland aquarium in the world. It is impressive, and the family can easily spend hours inside, though I’m not sure it merits that title. You enter the Beijing Aquarium at the rainforest, a lush area filled with fish. This is a nice escape during the Beijing winter and my kids enjoyed feeding the fish, while spotting the “pout pout fishes” and “nemos” and the other cool fish. The path through the aquarium is fairly well marked and there are a couple impressive white dolphins. After Section 5...

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Get Cozy at Beijing’s Bookworm

Before the electronic age, international family travel to places like China usually involved lugging bags of books for the kids (and parents). Now our smart devices have lightened the load but there’s still nothing like reading a real book and being surrounded them. And at the Bookworm in Beijing, you can find a variety of books in English and European languages.  The Bookworm is both a library and bookstore. A small kids section has books for the young ones such as Where’s Wally (that’s Waldo to Americans). And on Sundays there is a reading time for children aged 4...

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China National Library for Kids

Beijing has limited choices if looking for kid-friendly bookstores or libraries. However, they do exist, such as the Bookworm, but don’t rule out the National Library of China, which has a special Children’s Library. There are no English books immediately obvious at the Children’s Library, but for a child learning Chinese and a parent wanting someplace different and quiet to take their kids, it’s worth exploring. And best of all, free. The typical library rules of being quiet are strictly enforced and there are no toys besides a massive globe, but kids can still run around and explore the...

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The Benefits of in-Country Language Immersion

The year was 2009. My twin boys were going on four, and that meant time to think about kindergarten. I visited Indianapolis’ international school as I wanted them to get foreign language immersion. It all looked good until we started talking about cost. I balked at what would have been minimum $1,000 a month – and that’s assuming very generous financial aid. Fast forward several months. My parents announced they were moving to Texas, much harder to get to than Ohio. My husband and I looked at each other and realized we could move too – back to China....

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