Crystal Duan

Crystal Duan is a West Coast-raised, Midwest-bred writer based in Los Angeles. She's been published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Indianapoils Star and Bustle. You can find her on Twitter @duancrys posting about politics, Pad Se Ew or Nickelback. 

March Nonfiction: "23 Days Through Europe: What I Learned on the Chinese Tour Bus" by Crystal Duan

The adults on the tour bus interrogated me about American politics and culture: Could I explain the Black Lives Matter movement? What was my opinion on economic opportunities for Asians in Silicon Valley? Did I think Americans were fake because they were always smiling? Who was this Justin Bieber person?


Forty minutes into a cable car ride up the side of the mountain, my eyelids were fluttering. My jet-lagged body couldn’t stay awake, even while I was suspended thousands of feet in the air above the lush landscape of the Swiss Alps. When we stopped, I blinked and glanced lazily out the window. The fog had parted, revealing cliffs with their large, majestic shapes poking out of the whiteness surrounding them. One loomed in front of me, while to my right, the space between them revealed a steep drop.