A Delighted Person: Alli Quattlebaum


I met Alli because she offered me homemade chocolate chip cookies at an airport. To be a tad more specific (and to convince you that I don't always accept treats from strangers while traveling), we had both flown into town to attend the same job fair and started chatting as we waited for the shuttle bus to the event. The fact that we were the same person rapidly became evident and, despite moving to the opposite sides of the globe soon after meeting, our friendship has only flourished in the two years since. I recently visited Alli's home in Southeast Asia and had the enormous privilege to see a new place from her unique, lovely, local perspective. So, without further ado...

I am from Apex, North Carolina, and I love it because downtown is only three blocks.

My current phase of life looks like constant transition, and a new graphic design position in America.

My physical trademark is touching my nose when I think.

I want to be someone people come to for advice.

I am inspired by architecture, good cinematography, people who beat the odds.

I love organized spaces, Shakespeare, chicken & waffles, sequins.

I hate unnecessarily loud motorcycles, de-pilling sweaters, jello.

Disney cartoon movies make me cry.

Stupid puns and one-liners make me laugh.

The words I live by are “He who calls you is faithful; he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

My purpose is to know God and enjoy him forever.

I believe in Myers-Briggs. That thing is scary accurate sometimes.

I am most influenced by the people whom I wish to view me as competent.

I admire decisiveness in other people.

I escape by finding a place I’m alone among other people. Normally this means a coffee shop or more recently a large market or city street.

To me, perfection is a clean and house with no dirty laundry, finishing a book, unexpected cool weather.

My biggest challenge was leaving my home for a new culture.

My fondest memory (so far) is contra dancing at River Falls Lodge in South Carolina with the advanced dancers right after my college graduation: I felt invincible, twirl skirt and all.

My proudest moment was the first time I made a joke in another language to a native speaker and they just died laughing.

I wish I could have dinner with Jessica Hische and Anna Bond.

My favorite color is yellow because it’s the color of the sun, happiness and I only wear it when I’m feeling particularly joyful.

My favorite meal is breakfast, but at any time of day.

Your favorite songs of all time are anything from Mae or Nickel Creek. Especially Mae’s“A Melody, The Memory.” Also “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Bootstraps’s cover gives me chills.

The films I could watch on replay are The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, You’ve Got Mail, and anything with Michael Scott Steve Carell.

The books that have influenced me most are Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz (who hasn’t been floored by this?), Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer, and the Book of Ephesians.

My wildest dream is to one day travel in outer space. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger, even more so when my brother started studying aerospace engineering. Once I found out how much math and science education was required (not just guts and willpower), I gave up on that.

Emma Roberts would (probably) star as me in a movie about my (very polished) life.

If I could get on a plane right now I would travel to Prague.

My most recent purchase was a round trip-ticket to Bangkok.

My celebrity crush is Sam Claflin.

My pet peeves are smacking while eating, when people don’t make eye contact during conversations, straw-spoon combos, slamming doors.

My bucket list includes “go on a solo vacation,” “design a deck of cards,” “learn to ride a horse–fast.”

My childhood ambition was to live in another country for part of my life. I am now taking suggestions for a new ambition.

My website is allipq.com.

Something few people know about me is I swam competitively for five years.

I like that I have a crooked smile. The muscles in the right side of my mouth are weaker than the left, so my smile is naturally quirky.

I am lighthearted.

Al, you make things beautiful. You see life for exactly what it is: a chance to make art with the materials you've been handed. You notice the details in the big picture. You sift the gorgeous from the grime. You recognize and celebrate and document all the precious moments that so often go unnoticed when buried beneath the ordinary. I cherish your wit, wisdom, and levity. You make me laugh hard and think deep and crave adventure. You are organized and sharp, steadfast and honest, patient and gracious and invested. While we've only spent a total of about ten days together in real life, I just know that you are a forever friend. Keep chasing beauty, my Alli girl.