Tag Archives: sister city

Raleigh Sister Cities Exchange: Compiégne, France

22nd September 2015

Last week Nick and I had the opportunity once again to be a part of Sister Cities International at our local level in Raleigh and host our sister city of Compiégne, France for a golf exchange. Everyone I encounter seems to not know much about Sister Cities International and we have loved our experience being involved thus far and want to continue to spread the message of Sister Cities. The mission of the Sister City exchange is “promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.”

Last year we had the opportunity to visit Compiégne, and this year we hosted Eric as part of the golf exchange. Eric arrived on Thursday evening and flew back on Tuesday evening. Being a host means you’re responsible for a place for them to stay, breakfast, dinner and all transportation. Our dinners were basically taken care of, as we had receptions and events every night with the entire group that was participating. There were 7 French people visiting and about 15 of us living in Raleigh that were involved every evening. Nick and Eric played golf almost everyday, and I joined once at Lonnie Poole. We also had the opportunity to take everyone to an NC State football game!

Here are a few glimpses of our time together!

Eric brought us a nice selection of French wines and of course, Champagne!

It was sad to see our visitors go but we will cherish the relationships we’ve made, we will stay in touch and hopefully we will see everyone again in September! Au Revoir!

Prepping for House Guests – International Edition

10th September 2015

As you might remember, Nick and I participated last year in Raleigh’s Sister City golf exchange program and had the amazing opportunity to go to France and play golf and immerse ourselves in the culture of our sister city of Compiegne, France. We loved every second so this year we are returning the favor and hosting a guest of our own! Last year, our dearest Guilhene and Jaq opened their homes to us and helped provide breakfast and dinner for us as well as all transportation from Paris to Compiegne and around town (See part 1 and part 2 here!). This year we will be doing the same for our guest, Eric! We welcome him tomorrow and we are SO excited! (We’ll follow up with a post on our activities after our time with him is over.)

house guests

We are so excited, but with hosting a guest for a week, there are some steps to prep your home for your guests arrival, especially in the South. You know, Southern Hospitality..

  1. Do a deep clean – clean the sheets, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, stock up on groceries and snacks and also toilet paper, paper towels etc. Do this a couple days ahead so that you won’t be rushing at the last minute.
  2. Make it feel like home – Although guest can obviously use the whole house, sometimes their room may be more of a retreat. Provide some fun reading material, books, magazines, etc. Little touches like bottles of water or snacks are always a good idea. We have some local candy we purchased to provide for our guest and magazines about the area.
  3. Fresh flowers – When you can it’s always nice to have fresh flowers in the guest room but also around the house. It’s an extra touch that goes a long way.
  4. Bathroom essentials – I like to have a stack of fresh towels and wash cloths for our guests to use. They’re in a tray and I place it on the bed upon arrival. I also make sure there are toiletries in the shower (soap, shampoo, conditioner) but I also make sure underneath the cabinet may have things our guest needs and I don’t want them to feel weird looking! I have neatly arranged extra items, more soap, lotions, toothbrushes, combs. We also have a small jar that I placed a razor, shaving cream, mouth wash and tooth brush and tooth paste for Eric.
  5. Wifi – In this day and age, it’s nice to have your Wifi information at the ready for your guests to use, think about framing the information next to the bed for easy access.
  6. Food – Provide extra bottles of water, fruit and healthy snacks that any one would be interested in eating after a long day of travel or in our instance, playing golf!
  7. Prep on your foreign language – If possible, it’s always wonderful to prepare yourself with helpful phrases in case your guest is not as fluent in English – and if nothing else, just to be respectful.
  8. Personal gifts – For our guest, we want to make him feel like home, so we’re helping provide a golf glove, golf balls and a shirt for him to remember his time and to not stress about flying with so much!
  9. Have fun – More importantly, enjoy experience and don’t sweat the small stuff too much! It’ll all work out in the end and you’ll have a great time!

Do you have any tips and tricks?! We’d love to hear them!


French Countryside Part 2

24th February 2015

Over the next few days in France, I traveled to many smaller towns outside of Compiegne. We were able to see centuries old churches and cathedrals, eat a lovely little restaurants and go shopping in some cute shops! I couldn’t get over all the adorable kids clothes in France!! Made me wish I had a little one to shop for, but I would’ve been broke after visiting.

Part of our group was lucky enough one evening to go to dinner at the home of Isabelle and Patrice. They had such a lovely home that was part built in the 1700’s and part built in the late 1800’s! It’s just amazing the history France has!

On our final evening we went to the town of Pierrefonds, in which there was an old chateau that had been renovated by Napoleon to look Medieval castle. Rumor had it, Michael Jackson saw the Chateau de Pierrefonds and offered to buy it but they refused to sell it to him. It’s also been featured in many movies, including the Man in the Iron Mask.

The gang celebrating our final night together..
Our lovely French mom, Guilhene!
We ate dinner on this pond overlooking the Chateau.
 Too much rose perhaps? That Tavel will make you happy!

The day we were flying out of France, hubs played golf at Chantilly, one of the best courses in France and the ladies were able to tour the Chateau de Chantilly. Yes, the home to Chantilly Cream and Chantilly lace! The Chateau was very remarkable. It wasn’t a busy day, and the Duke that had lived there had a private art collection that made it feel like we were in our own private Louvre! There was even original pieces by Rafael.


OH FRANCE, you were truly remarkable! All these experiences truly made us fall in love with everything France had to offer. From the small towns to the glamorous city of Paris, we truly cherished our entire time in France but it was also due to the amazing relationships we were able to build through the sister city program. We are so thankful for the opportunity and hope to keep taking part in these programs!

Do you want to visit the countryside now?! I sure hope so!!