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Morgan documents special playing experience in China with USA Development Team

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Alexandra Morgan competed for Team USA in China back in June (Barry Westerman, UK Athletics). Alexandra Morgan competed for the USA Development Team in China in June (Barry Westerman, UK Athletics).
Rarely does a student-athlete have the opportunity to represent her country and travel overseas to compete against some of the top talent in the world. In June, Rising senior Alexandra Morgan of the UK volleyball team got to do just that.

Thanks to Bring It Promotions, a program that helps create a connection between the United States and other countries across the globe through the game of volleyball, Morgan was chosen for the BIP/USA Development Program, a team of 12 players that would travel to China to play "top professional teams in and around Shanghai and Beijing," according to bringitusa.com.

This would not be Morgan's first trip overseas for the sport of volleyball, however. Morgan took a foreign trip with her UK teammates in the summer of 2009 to Europe for two weeks. But despite that, little could prepare her for the experience in China.

Morgan was gracious enough to journal during her time in China to share with the Big Blue Nation. Here is Morgan's experience in her own words:

Monday - June 17

Today was mostly traveling. We got out and explored some in Shanghai. I was surprised by how desperate they were to get you to buy their items. A lady followed one of my teammates down the street and waited for her for 15 minutes while she looked in another store. She yelled at her, "You give me money!!!"

The food was as expected: very different. I've eaten mostly rice and bread. A lot of things are vinegar-based. A lot of things sound familiar but aren't even close to what we have in the U.S., like pancakes. We arrived in Huaian City and are staying at the Huaian State Government House. We've gotten a lot of pictures. It's very hot and it not uncommon to see men with their shirts off and their pants undone.

Tuesday - June 18

Today we explored Huaian City. It seems like a poorer city. We walked around looking for supermarkets for water and snack bars. Some odd customs: the babies wear clothes with slits in the front and back instead of diapers.

We had practice in an un-air-conditioned gym and it as terrible. For dinner, we had a banquet with some members of the Chinese Government. They like to drink and they really wanted us to dance... So we did! We did "The Wobble" and the "Cha-Cha Slide" and they loved it! They served a table full of food and turtle was one of the dishes. Also, the eel was pretty good.
Team USA with members of the Chinese government.
Team USA with members of the Chinese government.

Wednesday - June 19

Today I tried pig tongue. It wasn't too bad. We went to Wal-Mart, which was similar to Wal-Mart in the U.S., but they didn't have as much. The scores of the games we played tonight: 21-25, 20-25, 13-25. We played OK, except for the third set.

Morgan with Team USA in Huaian City.
Morgan with Team USA in Huaian City.

Thursday - June 20

Today we went sightseeing. We saw a famous lake as well as a famous garden (Qingyan Garden). We traveled with the same government members that we ate with Tuesday night. We had a police escort everywhere and soldiers to keep us safe. Everyone was very excited to see us and they wanted a lot of pictures with us.
Qingyan Garden
Qingyan Garden

Friday - June 21

Today wasn't very eventful. We woke up, ate, had serve and pass, ate, played, then ate again. We did go to a mall (accidentally) because the cab/cart driver couldn't understand where we wanted to go. We ate at Pizza Hut, which is a very nice sit-down restaurant in China! We almost got kidnapped on the way back, though (Taken 3)!!!

Saturday - June 22

Today we traveled from Shanghai to Beijing. We had a quick practice and American food for lunch! The banquet was tonight. There was great food. We are now staying at the Aloft Hotel in Beijing. It is very nice and has many more people that speak English here! Our first game here is tomorrow night.
Some Chinese delicacies Morgan experienced.
Some Chinese delicacies Morgan experienced.

Sunday - June 23

Today we went to the pool. The cold water felt GREAT!

Monday - June 24

Today was our last game. We lost in three like we did every other game. We all went to this dance club called Vix. There was no one there when we got there, but they loved us and soon after, it was PACKED!!! We hung out with the PAC-12 girls too.

Wednesday - June 26

Today we woke up early to go to the Great Wall. There were about 1,000 steps we had to go up, then we walked awhile through the wall. It was very pretty and I signed a wall in one of the towers. We rode toboggans down the wall which was very fun. After the wall, we went to The Forbidden City. It was very big, pretty and old. The guide told us a lot of cool facts. Last, we visited Tiananmen Square which was very cool also. We ate dinner at some restaurant that was famous for their roasted duck. It was very good!
Morgan strikes a pose in front of a building in the Forbidden City. Morgan strikes a pose in front of a building in the Forbidden City.

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