Jenny Lin / News TMOM

Photo credit:  Jenny Lin / News TMOM

Living in China with small children isn’t the same today as it used to be. It’s much easier these days to have all the creature comforts of home. And thanks to online shopping sites like and upscale supermarkets in easy reach of most neighborhoods, almost anything can be had for a price. But there are still things the children and I missed while in China — from food to facilities.

  1. Coffee and coffee cream (and coffee makers) – available but sparsely and expensive.
  2. Macaroni and cheese.
  3. Real cheese.
  4. Microwave popcorn — available but expensive. And often in strange flavors like strawberry. I resorted to popping on the stove, which actually isn’t bad.
  5. Certain sodas like Dr. Pepper and Root Beer.
  6. Granola bars.
  7. My own car. Getting around by taxi or bus is liberating in a way, but a pain with small children. And owning a car comes with its own hassles.
  8. Free and uncrowded public playgrounds. Here’s why
  9. Let’s face it – I missed not having to check the air quality every day.
  10. Thrift stores – haggling at the local markets is a poor substitute. And not to mention clothes fitting more Western shapes are hard to come by.