Moving to China I did not realize a few things: my clothing size is not available in any store, and skincare is very different than where I used to live. Magazines have always been a guilty pleasure for me so this is something that I miss here in China. Even though I work for a magazine now, this does not satisfy my need for English and Dutch magazines. Slowly the expat community of Beijing is leaving for the summer or moving on to better and wilder things, and the talk has turned to what people plan to bring back. The list can be endless, according to your personal preferences and the country you are from. Parmesan cheese, anyone?
Almost all the mothers will understand that finding fitting bras in Beijing is really hard, M&S has left the scene so now we are stuck here without undies. Get measured and stocked up on your favorite underwear while back home.
Make Up and Skincare Products
Asia has different beauty ideals to Western countries, and the amount of bleach I have found in products is shocking. I even bought a deodorant with bleach by accident once. Get plenty of your favorite face creams and make up.
Milk powder is a real hassle in Beijing so families tend to stock up when home. Other baby products like creams and snacks are also so much cheaper and better quality. Or at least you can read the ingredient list, so you can make sure there is no sugar added.
I asked around and it seems like all the expats get their wardrobes from Target or Primark, or anything in between. Funnily enough all these clothes were made in China but are nowhere to be found here, so we all import them back here.
Nothing is more confusing going into a pharmacy asking for medication in China if you don’t speak good Mandarin. There is something utterly comforting in taking medication where you can read the label and instructions. Don’t forget the bottles of Tylenol or Calpol for the kids.
It’s been the subject of some debate on WeChat, but clearly Chinese glue is not the best in the world. So if you have some space left over stuff it with Elmer glue, the best glue according to many mothers.
I have tried many times over the last year to buy shoes in a normal store here, but nobody sells anything above size 39 for woman. And if they do it’s a lie and they don’t fit. The only places I found fitting shoes were in the Pearl Market and the Silk Market. But I’d rather travel to the other side of the world than return there again
Many people take advantage of the customs exemption for personal use and bring food products back into China, from cheese to pate. These are products we’ve missed, and which just taste better coming out of a suitcase after a 15 hour flight.