June 30, 2014
Rising junior Nicole Walch is back home in Florida after an incredible trip with the 2014 U.S. Collegiate National Team – China Tour. In her final blog post, she talks about her final days across the world and her trip back home.
“After beating the Beijing professional team, the next day we went to the Forbidden City and it was so cool! It was about two miles long and a mile wide and all the buildings were in great shape. It was incredible!
Nicole Walch poses in the Forbidden City.
Afterwards we squeezed in one more trip to the silk market for some final shopping and headed back to the hotel for some rest before the game!
Nicole Walch and Hannah Tapp show of some silk.
We beat the Chinese junior national team again for the third time and were gearing up for the championship the next night which we would be against same team again!! It would be the "best American team" against the "best Chinese team." Since our record was better than the PAC 12 team we were considered the best one and the junior national team for the best Chinese team.
The next day after solid night of sleep we spent the morning at the indoor pool relaxing. This hotel was awesome. Five stars was an understatement. It may have been one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. After the pool we relaxed all day and then were focusing for our last and final match.
Unfortunately, beating a team four times is pretty difficult, and we lost in the finals. It was a great game though and it was a bummer to lose that match, but we had a great trip. We were ready to get back to America!! We went to bed and then woke up nice and early at 5 am for another grueling travel day(s), but this time it meant to go home!! We flew four hours to Hong Kong, had a mini layover, then 13 hours to LA. I was in the middle of the plane (and in the middle seats), but luckily I got to sit next to Hannah and we had a great time watching about five different movies! I looked like a complete tourist styled in my "I climbed the Great Wall of China" shirt and hat I got.
Showing off the second place trophy while displaying her Seminole pride.
After landing in LA, we all said goodbye and went our separate ways. It's going to be so weird not seeing these girls every day, but getting back to Florida to see my incredible family was next up.
I was lucky enough to have my uncle live right by the LAX airport, and he picked me up and took me to In ‘n’ out burger (sorry again CP!) which never tasted so good after two weeks of rice and some suspect meat!!
In'n' Out Burger - a popular west coast fast food chain never looked so good to Nicole Walch.
After a shower and nap, we rode bikes down to the Venice boardwalk and sat and watched the sunset.
At around 10:30 p.m. he dropped me back off at the airport and I took the red eye back to West Palm Beach where my parents and sisters picked me up! Seeing them after a long trip away was great and I'm so happy to be home!!! I forced myself to stay up most of the day and then went to sleep at 9 p.m. in a bed for the first time in about 40 hours. Never felt so good!!
Looking back on my time in China, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I had an incredible trip. It's bittersweet leaving but it was an amazing once in a lifetime experience that I'm so grateful to be a part of it. I met some great people and saw some incredible places in China that I won’t ever forget.
Thank you USA Volleyball and FSU Volleyball for supporting me on this journey!
Go USA! Go Noles!