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Courtesy: WMU

Brazil Blog Day 10: Ali Gossen

Courtesy: WMU
Release: 05/11/2012
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May 19, 2012

Hello from Buzios!

Today, everyone woke up around 9 a.m. and headed out to the local beaches for the day. One group walked about a mile up the road to a beautiful beach and laid in the warm sun. Some of the girls even climbed a small cliff and jumped into the water. It was a really neat experience. The rest of the team took a shuttle to a beach that is not in walking distance of the hotel. They too really enjoyed their time in the sun.

We all met back at the hotel at 2:30 for lunch. We went to a cute buffet style restaurant that had delicious food. They even had chicken nuggets which reminded us of the American food we've been missing. Another popular item at the buffet was a Brazilian food called Pastel. They are cheese-filled fried pockets that are to die for! The restaurant made us some extras to take back to the hotel with us.

After lunch, some of the team headed back to the beach while the others returned to the hotel to hangout by the pool and take a nap. The girls at the beach were surprised when horses ran down the beach within feet of where they were sitting; they came out of nowhere and were extremely friendly. There are a ton of animals around Buzios, including cats, dogs, birds, horses, and lots of bugs. Surprisingly, all of the animals are super friendly and run around the town freely.

Around 8 p.m., the team and all the coaches went to a pizza and pasta restaurant name Pavarti for dinner. We had pineapple and pepperoni pizza, cheese pizza, and a variety of pastas. The food, as usual, was outstanding and we toasted to our last night in Brazil.

Following dinner we walked around the shops and markets of downtown Buzios. The main feature of the night was a local man who hand painted tiles with breathtaking images. The tiles had sunsets, horses, trees, sailboats, mountains, and much more on them. A lot of us bought some to take home for the cheap price of five dollars! It was a great end to our last night in town before we head back to Kalamazoo.

We are off to bed and have a full day planned for tomorrow. In the morning we are planning on either going to the beaches or relaxing by the hotel pool. We will get lunch around 1 p.m. and check out of the hotel at 3 p.m. Then we have a three hour drive back to Rio where we will catch our first flight of the long journey home. After we land in Sao Paulo, we will fly through the night to Orlando, Florida where we have a long layover and will then head to North Carolina for our final flight to Detroit. In Detroit, we hop on a bus and drive back to Kalamazoo, getting in around 12 a.m. Monday morning. It will be a long day of travel!

Our trip has been absolutely amazing and we are all so grateful for the experience of a lifetime with such amazing people, coaches, and teammates. Thank you all so much for reading about our travels to Brazil. I hope we were able to give you a glimpse into the spectacular trip we had the privilege of taking. See you all around Kalamazoo this summer and at our matches in the fall!

Goodnight and farewell from Brazil!


May 18, 2012

Hey everyone,

This morning we drove to Buzios early in the morning.  It was about a three hour drive from Rio. It is beautiful here, and more secluded and calm. When we first got here it was raining  and cloudy, but fortunately it cleared up and turned into a nice, sunny day.

For lunch we went to a steak and fish restaurant. The fish was an entire fried  fish, including the head, tail and bones. Steve and Cesar (for what reason I couldn't tell you) decided to try the fish eyes. Both soon realized it was not  such a great idea after all. Everyone who had the steak said it was very good and cooked well.

After we finished lunch we went in small groups to shop around. While we were shopping some of the coaches went to the beach. At the beach the coaches found that we can take boat taxis to other larger beaches near by.

For dinner we met back at the hotel at eight and walked to a great pizza restaurant. We had pepperoni, cheese, and pineapple pizza that was delicious!  Following dinner we went as a team to look at the jewelry market. There were a lot of unique vendors there selling hand made items.

After the market we walked around the Buzios area and some of the team watched the men's Brazil and Poland volleyball match on TV at one of the local restaurants while everyone else went back to the hotel.

Well that is about it for today!

Tomorrow looks like good weather, so most of us are planning on going to the




May 17, 2012

Hi everyone!

This is Claire, blogging on our last day in Rio de Janeiro. Today, the team woke up on their own and had the morning free to go to the beach or do a little shopping. Most of the team planned to head to the beach around 10am. The weather was perfect with sun and a few clouds in the sky. We decided we would visit Copacabana Beach today for a different view of the mountains. At Copacabana Beach, many vendors kept coming up to us asking us to buy, buy, buy. We turned down about every one, except for the bathing suit man and the jewelry man. Richelle and Terin bought necklaces from the jewelry man and Lena, Kaycee, and I bargained down the price with the bathing suit man for three bathing suit tops. We enjoyed the day floating in the ocean over the waves and body surfing into shore for a little excitement. The water was very clear and definitely refreshing. Kaycee, Lena, Gill, and I walked down the beach for a little exercise and ran into professional sand castle makers. They made extremely detailed images and famous locations of Rio out of sand.

At 12:30 we decided to leave the beach so we could grab a snack at a local spot and then get some rest before we played tonight. Gill, Richelle, Lena, and I went to a local BBQ spot and got fresh fruit juice.  It was the most delicious juice I have ever tasted! Terin, Chelsea, Kaycee, and Cesar did a little shopping after the beach to get a few last minute souvenirs with the spare time.

We met in the lobby and headed out for our game at 3:30. It was so nice to get to the playing facility in under 20 minutes with the lighter traffic in Rio compared to Sao Paulo. We arrived at the facility and got a nice tour of the Vasco complex before we started our practice. The facility has a huge soccer field that they we repairing from the previous night's game, a swimming pool with huge diving boards at different heights, and many cement courts filled with kids playing soccer and volleyball. We changed into our practice clothes and were brought to one of the cement courts to practice on. Struggling through difficult lighting, we had a good practice that got everyone moving and ready to go after four days of not playing.

Around 6 p.m., we headed back to the main volleyball gym to begin our official warm up for the game. We played an automatic five games. We won the first three games to 25 and the other team won the last two games to 25 and 15 points. After the games we shook hands and traded jerseys and T-shirts with the team, much like we did on the four other nights we played.

After we finished trading, we hopped on the bus and got ready for round two at a Brazilian steak house. The food was delicious at the restaurant! There was lots of beef and a buffet style salad bar that was all you can eat. Like before, they brought out all different kinds of beef, sausage, and chicken. The meat was extremely tender and juicy.

Finally, when we were finished with dinner we got on the bus to head back to the hotel. We had a brief team meeting and then everyone headed up to their rooms to prepare for tomorrow's trip to Buzios on the last leg of our Brazil trip. More tomorrow!

Goodnight and thanks for reading our blog on Rio de Janeiro,



May 16, 2012

Hello there!

This is Richelle, blogging from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Well I don't even know where to start! Today the team woke up, ate breakfast, and hopped on a bus to start the day of touring. Our tour guide, Matilda, was full of energy and informed us of all kinds of facts about the places we drove by and the monuments we visited. The first tour began with the statue of Christ the Redeemer. We rode a red trolley train up to the top, where we got off to one of the most amazing experiences that I know I will ever experience. After a set of long stairs was the statue of Christ that stood 100 feet tall and overlooked the city of Rio and then some. No words can describe the beautiful moments we had....but a ton of pictures can help! Everybody was taking pictures like there was no tomorrow and many of our cameras ran out of batteries!

Afterwards, we hopped on a bus and rode around some cool parts of Rio and headed to a famous stairway that was magnificently decorated with tiles of all kinds! We even got to meet and take a picture with the artist who built it! After the stairway, the team and gang were super hungry from climbing stairs, walking around, and taking pictures, so we headed to a fruit and food stand called Big Bi, which was not the standard Michigan coffee shop; everyone had a taste of the freshest fruit drinks squeezed from oranges, grapes, pineapples, and more on the spot. We grabbed a quick sandwich and soon after we were off to the Sugar Loaf Mountain!

In order to get to the top of the mountain we had to ride not one, but two cable cars. Everyone was again taking lots of pictures. One of the big highlights of the day was getting to see the small tree monkeys that are usually very shy and hidden. Two monkeys were sitting on the sidewalk and loving the photo session we were giving them! After a bit we headed back down to the bottom of the mountain, some more relieved to do so than others, due to phobia of heights.

Once at the bottom, we finished our long day of touring and went back to the hotel for some free time before dinner. Most everyone went to the beach for a bit, but quickly headed in realizing it was darker and cooler than the night before! Before you knew it we were off to dinner. Normally we would have walked there, but because of the pouring rain, we took the public transportation system down to the pizzeria and restaurant. We even got surprised with a desert pizza that had cinnamon, cheese, and bananas on it!

The rain had stopped after dinner, so we walked the long way back where the team was delighted to find a market with tremendous amounts of wonderful souvenirs for our friends and loved ones back home. We are planning on going back tomorrow after dinner with money because the market is only open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Now we are back in the hotel ready for rest and relaxation, while also preparing for some morning fun, and also a winning volleyball match tomorrow afternoon. We are all very excited about playing again and can't wait to share with you the days to come!

Goodnight and thanks for reading, from the gorgeous city of Rio de Janeiro-




May 15,2012

Hello Everyone,

This morning, we got up and ate breakfast at the hotel, and then headed to the airport to head to Rio!  The weather was not so nice when we got into Rio; there was no sun and lots of rain. Everyone was hoping that the weather would clear up so we could walk down to the beach. We drove from the airport to the hotel. We had a very nice bus; Richelle liked it a lot because the seats are so comfortable!

Once we drove through the town to our hotel, we checked in and dropped our bags off before heading for lunch. I swear, I feel like I have gained ten pounds already from all the food we eat, but it is so good you just can't pass it up. We went to another buffet style place, with chicken, rice, salad, fruit, beef... you name it, it was there. Our team has really enjoyed the buffet meals for lunch and dinner.

After lunch we walked back to the hotel.  Some of the girls went to the beach, which are two to three blocks away from our hotel rooms. The other group of girls went and saw the beach but did not go swimming; instead, we went shopping. Shopping is another one of our team's favorite things to do. We walked for about three hours going to all different kinds of shops. A lot of the girls got cute dresses for summer and sandals at a place called Rio Inbox.

After shopping and spending time at the beach we heading back to the hotel. For such a bad day in terms of weather, everyone seemed to have a great time. Everyone had the challenge of finding their way back through the town and made it back in time for dinner. We ate dinner at the same place we had lunch, where we had pizza and a sweet pizza. There were so many different types of pizza, everyone got so full.

And just when you thought you could not eat any more, they brought out chocolate pizza with candy on it for dessert.  Everyone was in heaven with the dessert. We spent a lot of time sitting there and just enjoying each others company after we were done with dinner. After everyone was full, we made our way back to the hotel.

Later in the evening we had some team bonding girl time in one of the girl's rooms. It was nice to build that bond with each other, but we got too loud and Coach Colleen had to tell us to be quiet! It was a great first day in Rio.



May 14, 2012

Hello Everyone back home,

Today was our last day in Sao Paulo.  We are all very sad to leave and the city must be as well, because it was raining for the majority of the day.  We started out the day at about 10 a.m. walking around the area by our hotel.  We went to two different strip malls,  Shopping Center 1 and Shopping Center 3.  We stopped at a jewelry store first, and picked up a few items to bring back to our families.  Next, we went to the other mall and walked around the stores for about an hour. 

After walking around the mall, we decided to be brave and walk outside in the rain to the soccer store down the street from our hotel.  They had many different types of shirts and jerseys for us to choose from.  After we left the soccer store, it was time to grab some lunch.  We went to a famous art gallery in Sao Paulo and had lunch in their dining room, which was called Más P.  There was a delicious buffet, which offered fish, gnocchi, a few different types of salad, pasta salad, a beef and crunchy potato dish, and many more things.  The highlight for me was, of course, the dessert.  They had the best chocolate cakes!  They also had some fruit tortes and pies for those who don't like chocolate as much as I do. 

The last place we saw in Sao Paulo was the practice facility of Bradesco, which was one of the teams we played earlier this week.  It was located in Osasco, a town close to where we are staying.  There we met the Bradesco team and exchanged shirts and jerseys with them.  A couple of the girls were able to speak English so we were able to have a conversation with them.  At 6 p.m. they had to start their practice and warm-up routine.  We were able to stay and watch them train so we could take back some of their drills to our practices.  The facility was unbelievable; they have 24 athletes staying on their campus where they sleep, eat, and study.  After we left, we went back to Shopping Center 3 and had our last meal in Sao Paulo.  We are all getting packed up now to go to Rio tomorrow!  Were looking forward to the next part of our trip.

There will be more tomorrow!

Good Night,



May 13, 2012

Hello Everyone!

Today we had another tough match against a very competitive team in Sao Paulo. Unfortunately, we lost in five sets, but we learned a lot about ourselves and grew as people. After the game we had to wait for a ceremony for everyone to receive their medals and trophies.  We took fourth place.

After the ceremony, we were supposed to go to this beautiful park in Sao Paulo, but the weather did not cooperate. Speaking of the weather, at our game we saw a man wearing a big winter coat. We all laughed, but he said that this weather was very cold for them! But since it was somewhat chilly, we decided not to go to the park and save it for another day. Instead, we went to eat right away! We ate at a place we have eaten at before, but we all seem pretty okay with it because the food is delicious! After we ate we headed back to the hotel to relax.

Tomorrow we get to walk around Sao Paulo some more and hopefully the weather cooperates so we can go to the park!

Stay tuned for more blogging,


May 12, 2012

Hi Everyone,

Today was a great day here in Brazil! After we ate breakfast this morning at the hotel, we went walking down some of the streets to go shopping. We found some cool little items as we were shopping, like Brazilian flip flops. Almost all of us bought a pair, and we even all got them in the same color! We also went to a chocolate store and got to taste different kinds of amazing chocolates. There was a delicious one that had marshmallow on the inside of it. It was definitely my favorite!

After we were done shopping, we left for our match around 11:30. Today, we played Osasco; they played a different game than we were used to seeing, and they had both a strong offense and defense. We played a competitive match but fell short in three sets. We then stayed to watch the first set of the match after ours, because we will play one of those teams tomorrow afternoon. They were both good teams ,so it should be another challenging match.

Afterwards, we went to the mall. It was amazing to see how much of a difference the pricing is in Brazil compared to home. The mall we went to was huge; I would probably compare it to the size of the Mall of America. It was four stories! Not many people bought anything because the prices were so high. Since it was [Broncos assistant coach] Ryan Manning's birthday today, we went to a Brazilian steakhouse. It was amazing! Every two seconds someone was coming up to you, asking if you wanted more meat. It got to be overwhelming at one point, so we had to put up our "No" sign so they wouldn't ask us anymore. If we wouldn't have done that, I don't think we would've even got a chance to eat!

I was surprised to see how much the girls actually tried the different meats. All of the girls except three, (who I won't mention I guess), even tried chicken heart. Cesar loved the chicken heart, he had about 13 of them! We had them bring Ryan out a piece of cake and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him at the steakhouse.

We are finally back at the hotel early for once, so we are all just relaxing and about to go to bed.

More blog to come tomorrow!

Kaycee Acree


May 11, 2012

Hello everyone!


I'm having a wonderful time in Brazil. Today we were able to go to a Market where there were many small vendors selling different things. The place was packed, and I have never seen so much fruit before in my life. Not only were there different kinds of fruit everywhere, but they also carried an aroma that made your mouth drool. I loved looking at the different types of fruit they had, and all of their vivid colors.

The visit to the market also included walking to a street known for shopping. We were able to walk in groups and try out our Portuguese. I now know the sayings, "How much?" "Thank you," and "Hello". The vendors were very friendly and loved our effort to try and communicate. I'm excited to see how many Portuguese phrases I can pick up as the trip continues.

We then went to a very nice restaurant for lunch. Since neither I nor anyone else on the team can read the descriptions on the menus, it's been exciting to go out of our comfort zone and try new things. As I stated before, Brazil is wonderful, and that includes the food. I don't think I have ever been this full, and just about everything I try is good. I love it.

Tonight we began the tournament playing the same team we competed against yesterday. We lost by two in the fifth set. Just like last night, it was a battle for every point, but it only left us hungrier for the next opportunity to play. Thank you so much for taking your time to read about the journey we are currently on. The blogs can only get better!

Goodnight from Brazil,

Gillian Asque





May 10, 2012

Hello from Brazil!

After more than twenty-four hours of traveling that included three flights, three bus rides, and two shuttles, we finally arrived safely in Sao Paulo, Brazil... and no one lost their luggage!

We left at 7:00 a.m. from the locker room on Tuesday morning and drove to the Detroit airport. From there we took a two hour flight to New York, where we met up with our tour guide AD at JFK airport, and he filled us in on important things to remember so we have a great time and stay safe throughout the trip. We then sat at the airport from 2-6 pm waiting to board our flight to Rio de Janiero. The flight to Rio was smooth but very, very long! It was hard to sleep and stay comfortable for 10 plus hours.

Finally, at around 4 a.m. Brazil time, we landed in Rio. From there we boarded yet another flight to Sao Paulo, our final destination. Upon reaching Sao Paulo, we met up with Rodrigo, another tour guide who will accompany us throughout our journey. We boarded yet another bus and made our way through the congested Sao Paulo streets. Let's just say, I'm glad someone who is from Brazil was driving and not one of us! The traffic was insane and people literally run across highways and streets without waiting to see if oncoming traffic will stop.

After about an hour drive, we arrive at The Landmark, our home in Sao Paulo until we fly back to Rio on Tuesday. The hotel and surrounding area are beautiful and everyone is starting to settle in. We all went to a buffet style Brazilian restaurant called Viena for lunch which was absolutely amazing! There was endless fresh fruit, appetizers, sushi, fish, meats, chicken, salads, and countless items we did not recognize. The team did a good job trying a lot of different food but I came to find we have some picky eaters on the team...

Stuffed from lunch, we were all happy to head back to a comfortable bed for a much needed nap. Sleeping in an actual bed had never seemed like such a luxury. I would have happily slept on the floor after more than a day of attempting to sleep at awkward angles on a freezing plane. We got about two hours of sleep and then reloaded our bus to drive an hour for our first match.

We had a short practice to get used to the gym and get our bodies moving again before starting the match at 7:30 pm. We played against Gremio Recreativo Barueri, a junior Brazilian team. We had little idea as to what the warm-up was going to be like, or how all of the international match rules worked. The crowd was extremely loud and the facility small, so the noise really echoed. It was definitely an interesting experience. We won the match in five close sets, which was a great way to start off the trip! Not only that, but we were given medals as a prize for our win.

After a very long day that seems to be never ending we are finally eating some pizza and calling it a night at 11:30 pm. I am having an amazing time so far and cannot wait to see what adventures tomorrow will bring.

Goodnight from Sao Paulo,