QAIS Staff Profile of the Week – Shannon Carney, Early Childhood Teacher

shannonmmprofile21nov201601What is your favorite travel experience and why?
It’s a tie! One of my favorite traveling experiences was a few years ago in Hue, Vietnam. We had met a Vietnamese friend, Hai, while living in Australia, who later introduced us over email to his friends in Hue. When we arrived there, Hai’s friends met up with us right away. They took us to all their favorite spots in the city, so we felt like we had our own personal local travel guides. We got to know the city so much better than if we had just tried to navigate it on our own. It was amazing and humbling to experience such hospitality from total strangers. I hope we are able to host these friends in our home somewhere in the world one day!
The other thing I want to share was a near-death experience, which is my favorite just because of the story. We had been warned in northeastern Australia to beware of cassowaries, but they’re quite rare to see, so we didn’t worry about it. One day on a hike in the Daintree Rainforest, we were lucky enough to encounter one at a distance. I stayed far back (as warned to do), but the ever-curious Mr. Brian went in closer for a photo. Usually these huge birds are frightened of people and will run away when approached, but this one didn’t seem the least bit scared. Instead of running away, this cassowary turned around and began to walk towards us! In this instance you are supposed to maintain eye contact and walk backwards, slowly. This is much harder than it sounds, when you’ve heard all about how cassowaries attack using a giant dagger-like claw under their foot… After what felt like a lifetime stare-down with this 5.5 ft. bird, she finally lost interest in us and walked away. We ran out of that rainforest trail as fast as we could and didn’t go on a hike again until we were out of cassowary territory. It was the scariest moment of my life, but I survived, so now I can laugh about it (a lot).
What is your favorite family occasion and why?
I am absolutely in love with Christmas. I love the music, Christmas trees, twinkle lights, holiday parties, cookies, and most importantly, family time. Every year, my family decorates the Christmas tree together while listening to holiday music, and we have lots of special tree ornaments that have been in our family for generations. I have loved tree decorating ever since I was a kid, and I never grew out of loving it! On Christmas Eve, we have a tradition of eating dinner together at our favorite Sichuan restaurant in Seattle (hot pot and dan dan noodles!). Afterwards, we watch ‘A Christmas Story’ (one of my favorite movies) and play cards until late in the night. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year because of the fun times with my family; I cherish it so much!
P.S. This photo is from a trip to Mt. Shasta, a very magical place in California.