Monday, April 14, 2014

Rose's France Experience, Part 2

Musicians jammin' on the Pont Neuf Bridge

Another layer under the sameness layer is that there ARE folks here in Toulouse wanting changes and growth and are seeking it.

I see it in…
• Isobelle and Adolfo and their drive to be successful artists that matter to their society/city and the world
•Juliet (their daughter) who is a young adult not wanting to just fit in, and shows us where to party in places that hold like-minded night-time socializers.
• Sylvain (our housemate) who battles a similar subject of being a successful artist, still striving to prove to a government that’s decreasing its funds that an artist is providing something substantial to his community… a voice for new ideas; like gender, how does it affect our perceptions of beauty?
• The graffiti artist next door TILT who battles the validation of his ideas of beauty in a city that doesn’t accept his work as “real” and legal art… or does it?
I think the underground believes it is art because I noticed graffiti all over the city especially in the public park areas. It is so similar in Atlanta, the only difference is that the conversations are happening more here to accept this art, like with Living Walls who can/has made an agreement with the city to utilize certain structures to present graffiti art in a way that lines up with the vision of many. I think there is room for this in Toulouse as well. It’s just a matter of speaking up and listening in turn; being heard and then also being willing to hear.

One of the many talented street performers, a one man band!
Best place for young folk to hang is along the Garonne River bank.

Friday, April 04, 2014


am in a foreign country for the first time since Isreal. 
I am lagged and exhausted.
Fed and inspired.
Taken care of here.

I wish I had it in me to take off on a night stroll through these new streets.
But my eyes cross as I write this.

Some things on my mind are:
Diana Vreeland
The French Appitite
And French Eye Contact

Thank you for every experience that has come between us
Us as brothers.

Photographic fruit tray 
beside my sea urchin bed.
I pass the fruit de mer and go straight for the duck.

Is it French to eat slowly?
Is it American to eat quickly?
Is everything really more than we need?
At times I am the white minimalist
And others the swine.

I'm thinking about control issues as the waitress takes away my uneaten fries.


I am self conscious about:

eye contact or lack there of
windows and the actions within
the people
the food
the attitude
the way the city is organized
our habits while playing foreigner

is what can be found
in places of vulnerability

What is the outside eye that is ever judging?
I know it belongs to me.

Why choose fear?
And how do I let go of the other?

Strength is love and strength is flexibility

Physical directions
void of emotions
laid emotions within

How sweet the lessons learned when I throw my body someplace new
I can go nowhere to escape the insecurities
Security doesn't live outside of me
It's within these walls wherever they may be


See how time moves differently?
Is that my age or the nature of the use of my time?

I am surrounded by support and love and creating beautiful things.
Learning exquisite lessons.
I feel through play as a child I am able to speak as an adult and that it's ok
I am ok
I can become vulnerable and there is strength

I went for a long run with Stephanie yesterday afternoon and remembered that more things bloom between myself and another when I can let them in. Or let me in. Or let me out.
We ran for an hour. We talked.
I ran slower for longer and my body felt very different afterwards than it usually does after a run.
It was strong but also light. As one of the pigeons swooping down for a small piece of the infitinite amount of bread in this country.

I ate horse.
Along with some great conversation.
It made me feel strong. Maybe the way one feels after eating buffalo. Or elephant. Or another man.

As much as I love being here at a certain point I become anxious for home. For my routines and my privacy. My secrets and my vices to be indulged in alone. Without the eyes of others known or foreign.
It is always the future perfect version of me that I chase. I'm not sure if it's blindly anymore.
But with a snipper's percussion

What makes us forget that we are human?
What makes us forget that we are beautiful?

A friend on a balcony told me she lives with a large amount of anxiety and when she drinks
her hands stop shaking
and she can speak her mind

What makes me forget that they are beautiful?

What will be back home?
What has this place done to me?
Or was it the act of moving my body to here, around here and back again?

Maybe one day I will live in a monastary. In a monastic life.
Or grow old and fat and not hate myself so much.

Where are the roots of self loathing?
How do I get to them?

I feel different as a:

from Toulouse to Paris where I will get on another plane that will take me back to the motherland.
Everyone's persons are so exaggerated at this point:

He replies in an all knowing tone (but maybe he does actually know all)
She seeks videos relentlessly, or something from within a magazine
as does he.
The other girls have their eyes closed
and I play the tour de control
and I'm ready for a break from this me

Toulouse was pink
Toulouse was nice
Toulouse was winding

No one sees you like you do
No one sees you like you do

Josh en France: First Impressions

The first day is still extremely fresh in my mind- arriving to an apartment and greeted by the congenial Paul-Eric, whom I thought was named “Politic” due to accents. Everything looked like I was in the middle of an IKEA catalogue- simple, functional design that was user-friendly but clearly belonging to a different culture. 

Suddenly I was lost in imagination, trying to place myself in the narrative of my parallel, French self. What was a school day like on an average Monday? What path do I take walking home from school, and who are my friends? What kinds of things would we be talking about? What worldview would I have and would anything about my American identity remain among a French upbringing? 

It became very clear that I was indeed a visitor to an alternate reality. Every day I spent in Atlanta, these people spent in Toulouse. The gigantic world was always turning and meanwhile I pretend to be the only one living on it. That thought alone guided a lot of my approaches toward French interaction… 

So there we were, 7 Americans dumped into a foreign city and it was time to explore. As we began to walk across the Pont-Neuf bridge for the first time I remember being in awe of my surroundings. Their whole approach to city planning is so different yet works in such a better way. It’s built in a way that people can actually use their city, and it encourages people to walk around, be outside, and shop local. So many different shops, occupations, specialties… Everything they consume is made with artistic integrity. 

Later that night I still needed to buy food and some basic toiletries, and I mistakenly went into Le Pharmacie, which I thought would be like CVS but was actually a more expensive establishment with healthy products. The lady tried to ask me if I was looking for anything in particular but she spat out the words with such speed that all I could do was offer a blank stare and somewhat crumble internally. “Je ne parle pas francais.” I slowly muttered, surprised at how odd this language sounded on my tongue, despite sounding like beautiful French in my head. Slowly we found the items I needed, and I walked my jet-lagged, haggard self back to the apartment. 

That first day’s shower was life-changing and restorative, but I was still overcome with feelings of displacement and having to assume the role of alien. The next 48 hours were super weird because I felt myself to trying to acclimate but was also dealing with an incredibly messed-up sleeping pattern. Although I knew how exhausted I was, nothing could be done to quiet my mind. I still have no idea what is wrong with me in that regard, but you'll be happy to know that the insomnia subsided due to each day's hard work.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Something new about Anna discovered by Anna in France


What a whirlwind of a two weeks.

I acknowledged a lot about myself on this trip - less (consciously) affected and effected by what I thought would peruse me; the cultural transfusion. I felt open, prepared to take on all that came with and went with the process of traveling internationally for the first time. The challenges: I was ready for. Bring it on. The discomfort and overwhelming unsure-ness of the experience of being so out of my comfort zone definitely presented itself more times than I can count, but I felt like I was prepared enough to at least attempt to embrace them. I was entranced by the feeling of being the foreign, someone no one knew anything about. I could be anyone! I could be someone I never was in Atlanta.

I wondered what made me feel like that. Why couldn't I be that person in Atlanta?

It was like some kind of international courage that didn't exist when I was at home, in my element, my comfort zone.

I have always liked the idea of being knocked on my ass out the door of my comfort zone. The idea of being pushed into experience I was unsure about and being challenged beyond what I thought possible. The IDEA of it. I like to think of myself as a strong artist that can adapt to anything, handle anything. Not expecting it to be easy by any means but I can do it.

This work process in France told me otherwise. I continuously criticized myself, let things get to me and questioned to myself why I was there. I felt like I didn't deserve to be there. Instead of being that person I could never be at home, I was faced with uncontrollable unconscious walls building themselves up between me and this person.

What am I waiting for?

Why are you being so resistant?

You don't have to be anyone else.

Don't be afraid.

Why are you so scared?

You don't have to explain yourself.

No one understands what I am going through.

Don't tell me you understand.

Stop trying to fix me.

Where is this coming from.

What's wrong with you?

I hate this.

What are you doing here? You don't deserve to be here.

You're not bringing anything to the table.

You don't deserve any feedback.

You are stupid and ugly.


Why are you being so selfish?

Stop complaining.

Get over it.

You can do it!

You are always so strong and bulky and this way - can't you be more like this? More light and feminine and pretty and a good dancer.

Give me something positive.

Yeah, why aren't you more like that?

Try something else.

Stope feeling sorry for yourself.

I should quit.

Why am I wasting my and everyone else's time being here?

You are doing it wrong, but don't take it personally.

It's not all about you.

The best thing about that duet was that the other person made great choices.

Push through, push through, push through.

Personal in terms of the work.

Complaining vs. generosity

Relate your issue to the work and it could be helpful.

Share what you feel or just get over it? Is that just your nature? Did you really ever get over it? You let it build.


Be transparent sometimes.

Be yourself.

It's okay.

You learned something from all this.

You are stronger than you think.

On this trip I was forced to step back and acknowledge these feelings, observations, thoughts I am often faced with at home but felt kind of extreme in our process in France. It allowed me to see myself in a new light. It was like being in this artistic process, I put myself under a super fine magnifying glass and really feel them and find out where they are coming from.

Of course there were more positive and seriously life changing experiences in France then not, but this was a large part of my overall experience. I think this writing was a little fed by the conversation preceding this assignment to reflect but it made me realize my feelings are not nothing and it is okay to feel what you want to feel when you are feeling them. Sometimes they stick around sometimes they pass. Either way I can now identify them and maybe that's the first step to being a better me or figuring out who I really am.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Stefanie's random thoughts on Toulouse / France

Stefanie's random thoughts on Toulouse / France 

A fresh, new breeze into my life. New smells, tastes, colors, sounds.... fresh and enlightening.
Meaningful travel with this particular group. Different. Supporting each other. Looking out for one another. Enjoying my own space, my own privacy, enjoying being around and with them.
Easy flowing all around. Roommates. College dorm? Together and building.

The Kitchen. To share food, share laughs, share conversations, experiences, opinions. Sylvain and Nordine – what a pleaseure. Drinking coffee out of a bowl. Funding systems for dancers in France. Heavy french doors. Many old dance works created in Europe. Wine, puffed corn crackers. Baguette and S. Pellegrino water. Cheese... French Words. Recycled garbage. We all cooked food. Tons of coffee. No expectations, no rules. Only the one rule to close the kitchen door while cooking because of the "ticklish fire alarm". Everyone could flow in and out. Sometimes super busy, filled with tons of smells. Sometimes quiet. Only one person. A beautiful dance created in the space with 7 people cooking, preparing food. A breeze flowing in from the large windows.

Efficiency yet pleasure and indulgence. Recycling. Bringing your cotton shopping bag – Je suis tout bio. Merci. Bike riding... what a joy and freedom. Rent a bike on every corner. Tisseo buses. Trains every 3 minutes. What a dream! Things are where life is happening! Restaurants, shops, grocery stores, fresh markets, coffee, baguettes, … All. All in the midst of life, in the midst of people. No separation. No isolation. Easy flowing. Connected and accessible.
A beautiful webbing of differences- diversity. Everything is in it's right place in that webbing creating beauty. Creating life.
Efficiency in people maneuvering through the streets with shopping bags, strollers, walking with someone else or single, on their bikes or in the car.
Indulgence. Sitting down for 'une cafe' in the sun, with a cigarette, and a croissant or baguette of some sort. Conversations. Community. Together and building.

Old buildings with the smell of dust. The sun hitting the buildings..... pink and red in color.... embellished, heavy front doors, balconies embellished with squiggled balustrades. Buildings wildly collaged and patchworked together. Life is inside of them. Life flowing in and out of them.

And I? I smelled and tasted and saw and flowed. Flowed through it all. Enjoying it all. Breathing it all in. Nourishing my curiosity.   

Rose's France Experience, Part 1

Terracotta roofs mirror the layers of feelings, experiences, and realizations that occurred within and without me while I was in Toulouse, France for 2 weeks.

Cobblestone or brick streets and walkways, ancient buildings were so beautiful and flourished with design. It wasn't revealed to me well on into the second week that even this beautiful city has its dark side too. Conformity to provide a certain "look" or "appeal" was there in the sameness of all of the buildings having pretty balconies, terracotta roofing, college kids desiring to "fit in" by wearing chic blacks and grays when they are going out to "get away" from daily duties. However, I also realized, especially on the last day, that there is a reason for many of these things, and when I place myself in their shoes (as best I can) I come to find a pride in their history and oneness. In order to preserve the beauty of much of the architecture, rules are created to prevent them from being altered (ex. - same colored shutters on each window).

In some ways I sympathize with this type of mindset and in others I want to share what possibilities there are for change. It's also not up to me to change others; unless how I live my life inspires them to change, I believe you can't make people change. They’d have to want it for themselves. Of course, I love Toulouse for what it is, I also love Atlanta for what it is. I also enjoy imagining what it (Atlanta, Toulouse, the world) can become because things are always changing and shifting whether we want them to or not. I never get bored. =)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Studio Spotlight: Sundew with Liz Peterson

Sundew is an outlet for hobbyists, artists and revelers to gather together with a group of friends in a no-judgement atmosphere. We currently offer two types of classes, Parties and Ponders. All classes are taught by owner and creative dabbler, Liz Peterson. Liz is not a highbrow expert, but takes time to understand the basics of the artistic process and gather materials so you can loosen up and have a good time without all the mess.

Ponder classes are mini creative workshops exploring personal and philosophical topics and how they relate to you as an artist (and all humans are artists!). Each ponder will include a short presentation or discussion followed by a creative project related to the theme. The content can be mind-expanding, healing, informative or simply curious. Ponder classes will generally last about one and a half hours.

  1. What do you teach at CORE studios?
    I teach creativity workshops (called “Ponders”) Ponder classes are mini creative workshops exploring personal and philosophical topics and how they relate to you as an artist (and all humans are artists!). Each ponder will include a short presentation or discussion followed by a creative project related to the theme. The content can be mind-expanding, healing, informative or simply curious. Some example classes: Object Meditation, Working with Limitations in Art, Reflections (loosely, a class about mirrors), Hue are You (color class).
  2. What got you into teaching?
    I have always been involved in hobbies and creative pursuits, and though I enjoy my solitude when creating, I equally enjoy sharing ideas about the process with a like-minded group. This sparked the idea behind teaching classes related to the creative process. Though, to be honest, I don’t consider myself a teacher so much as a curator and presenter of ideas. I believe that each person who attends a class with me will be their own teacher.
  3. How long have you been a teacher?
    Sundew is a very new venture for me and the first time I have taught since moving to Atlanta. Prior to that, I taught art and craft classes for several years in my mother’s garden shop as well as an art studio that I owned in Florida.
  4. What two adjectives would you use to describe your classes?
    Thought-provoking and fun
  5. Tell us a little bit about what your focus is for classes:
    My focus is on exploring various ideas about the creative process. The intention is for class-goers to learn more about themselves, gain some inspiration or break through a creative block.
  6. Do you have any upcoming projects or events that you are excited about?
    Yes! I am excited about my first class at CORE in March on personal mapmaking, as well as a few upcoming art parties at other locations.
  7. What do you love about CORE studios?
    I love the accessibility, the price, and the beautiful space! 
Liz’s next workshop is on Sunday, March 30th 5pm-6:30pm. Her contact information is 404-386-1774,,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Studio Spotlight: Taiko Drumming with Peter Marino

Peter Marino has been teaching percussion for the past 20 years and is the head of the Atlanta Taiko Project, whose aim is "spreading the joy of music-making." It is Peter's professional focus to help amateurs understand the secret that professiona musicians know but rarely share: that it is more fun to play an instrument than to listen to one. Taiko drumming - an ensemble style of drumming that originated in Japan - is easy to learn for any age, and does not require any previous experience or even knowledge of how to read music. It's also a great stress-reliever, and great exercise for your brain.

  1. What do you teach at CORE Studios?
    Taiko Drumming
  1. What got you into teaching?
    I’ve done it most of my life. I love the feeling of helping people understand something they didn’t know before.
  1. How long have you been teaching?
    20 years

  1. What two adjectives would you use to describe your classes?
    Engaging and Fun
  1. Tell us a little bit about what your focus is for your classes?
    Getting participants, some who have never played before, to experience the joy of playing music with others.
  1. Do you have any upcoming projects or events you are excited about?
    We are working on a five-movement piece to represent the five classical elements of fire, water, air, earth and spirit.
  1. What do you love about CORE Studios?
    The location, the feel, and the people I have met.

    Learning Taiko takes place on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month, with a beginning class from 3:00pm to 4:15pm and advanced class from 4:30pm - 5:45pm. To sign up, visit

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Studio Spotlight: Vital Cardio Blast with Tim Roberts

As a licensed personal trainer, for the last 9 years, life coach and massage therapist,  Tim Roberts has developed various programs that will change the clients outlook, empower the clients ability to exercise, and strengthen the body to the best of the clients ability which in turn enhances the clients physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

To learn more about Tim read below, and be sure to visit his website at
  1. What do you teach at CORE Studios?
    Vital Cardio Blast on Fridays 6:30pm to 7:30pm
  1. What got you into teaching?
    My love of fitness, working with people and the growing obesity epidemic in our community.
  1. How long have you been teaching?
    6 years
  1. What 2 adjectives would you use to describe your classes?
    Invigorating and Fun
  1. Tell us a little bit about what your focus is for your classes.
    To give people a different perspective on fitness…make fitness fun so participants don’t feel like they are working out because they are having fun.
  1. Do you have any upcoming projects or events you are excited about?
    January 2014 – Community Fitness Fair in Stone Mountain, GA
  1. What do you love about CORE Studios?
The location, space, community and courses that are offered.