QAIS Staff Profile of the Week – Brian Quist, Grade 7 Humanities and Language Teacher
Where is your favorite place to have fun in Qingdao and what makes it really fun?
My favorite place to have fun in Qingdao is at the Family Mart on Shenzhen Lu and Tongan Lu where my wife and I go shopping every weekend. We like to practice our Chinese language skills with the vendors there. In our time in Qingdao we have developed a special relationship with a wine salesman who we have spent countless hours with in his shop drinking tea and practicing Chinese. His name is Mr. Song and he has even cooked for us in his shop and given us a lesson on how to make dumplings. We have met his family and been out to dinner with him a few times. His good nature and generosity never fail to amaze us! He doesn’t like it when I say this, but he is my adopted Chinese father and I love him very much.
What is your favorite family occasion and why?
My favorite family occasion is Thanksgiving because it involves food and family and it isn’t over commercialized. Our family tradition on my mother’s side is to every year meet at a roller skating rink in Everett, Washington, USA, where young and old skate for a couple hours before meeting altogether for a giant Thanksgiving feast. I haven’t participated in this tradition in quite a while but it is a tradition that has existed for nearly 50 years in my family!
What is your favorite traveling experience and why?
This is the most difficult question to answer as I have had many beautiful and enlightening travel experiences throughout America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Yet the one that consistently sticks out in my mind is a small mountain village in the Philippines. This place is nestled among rice terraces high in the hills far from bustling Manila. It is a place caught between the newer Christian traditions imported from the Spanish and Americans and the native Igorot animistic traditions. Among the hills the bodies of the dead are hung high in caskets suspended from ropes. Coffee is grown in the valleys where cows roam. There are caves inside the hills that hold waterfalls and pools where you can swim. There is a pottery shed where I took lessons from local potters who sourced most of their clay from that area. I still need to go back to pick up my bowls and mugs! They also have a basketball court where many local villagers get together every evening to play a friendly match. While I was there we played foreigners versus locals and it was a special experience.