Connecting with different cultures and satisfying many needs


PotteryMy sister and I went on a guided tour in Cappadocia, Turkey. The group included tourists from Turkey, from Canada, from Chile, and us from Brazil/US. After visiting several ancient cave sites, we stopped in Avanos, at a pottery business. The set-up is to hear about the business and their pottery making tradition, watch a demonstration, and then shop. During the initial presentation, we learned that the business was 200 years old.

Since I teach Family Business courses, I asked more questions: What generation did he belong to? 6th. Does he have children? Three and the oldest is 14. Are they being trained already to join the business? He said that he wasn’t sure what will happen with the business, since the next generation wants to make money fast, and there isn’t anything fast about this one. Each product is handmade, and some of the designs may take weeks to complete the painting.

I mentioned that this is a universal issue, and not just Turkish or in the pottery business. Here we were, from different backgrounds, religions, continents, and we could still connect and talk about family businesses. I asked if I could take his picture with one of the pieces he showed us, and he said “yes, make me famous.” We are all human beings with similar needs. I also learned that the pottery wheel knowledge is only passed from father to son, and that the daughters learn to paint the pieces.

An employee, who had been with the company for over twenty years, did the demonstration on the pottery wheel. When he was done, they asked who would like to try it. One of the families had children, and their daughter tried it.

I had wanted to try it for a long time, but never took the steps to sign up for a class and do it. After she was done, my old “good girl” mode of operation, would have kicked in, and worried that the group would be ready to leave soon: “I shouldn’t keep the group waiting”. But not this time! I asked if I could try it too, and was allowed to do so. Everyone else moved on to the store, while I stayed with the employee and the owner.

It was only a 2-minute experience – I know because a video was made of my attempt. But the energy of that moment and the joy I felt, stayed with me for days.

The source of my joy included:

  • The fact that I overcame my inner critic, and asked for what I needed.
  • The actual experience doing it, so healing!
  • My ability to converse with the owner from a different country, and connect with our humanity, our similarities, our needs.
  • While I was working on the clay, the owner said “Relaxing, right? When you touch the clay it takes all the bad energy from your body.” Isn’t this great? I did feel it, but I think it made it more joyous for me to hear him say that.
  • Perhaps also meeting the owner’s need for contribution, for connection, and for business, by enjoying the process, and purchasing a few pieces.

Next time you are interacting with someone from a different culture, can you find common ground, similar needs, and a way to connect? Please feel free to share your experience interacting and appreciating others from different cultures and background.

2 Responses to “Connecting with different cultures and satisfying many needs”

  1. nathalia Says:

    Lovely pottery from Avanos :)
    I’m happy you enjoyed your experience.

  2. Elisa Balabram Elisa Balabram Says:

    It is lovely! Thank you, Nathalia.

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