November 20, 2008
By Huma Sheikh
Prior to the China GIST, I would define our group as ''victory peace'' as I was pretty sure about our understanding and cooperation with each other. And tonight (the last day of GIST) as I look back at our nine-day journey , the scrambling scribers Phatry Derek Pan, Kamal Raj Sigdel and me (Huma Sheikh) -- we traveled over 2500 Km with an average of three days transit at five places each across Sichuan province-- turned out to be affectionate and supportive as well.
Though our profession as journalists makes us look like one, we don't have everything in common. Every time we ate together we realized differences among us as Kamal and I were always choosy. about certain food items while Derek was comfortable with every cuisine. Sometimes I would get angry at myself when I took long time in ordering food, ensuring I have not eaten anything 'unwanted'. Similarly, Kamal would show no flexibility when it came to eating and the irony was Kamal and I have different dietary restrictions; he would eat what I couldn't and vice versa. But, I must appreciate Derek for his patience; he never had any complaints even if he had hard time waiting hungry for food most of the times in restaurants before it was finally served.
Another part of GIST history, though relatively a little challenging, was differences in our lifestyle and attitude. We are completely three different personalities when it comes to our interests (regardless of profession), choice, taste and way of living. I am less outgoing and prefer to stay indoors; I can accommodate change but very rarely. Kamal on the other hand is fine in shifting his interests as long as he is not overdoing it while Derek is a completely different person. He is a 'King of Nights' according to my observation and likes to stay outdoors as much as he can. He doesn't sleep more than 3-4 hours at night and it is amazing to see his energy and enthusiasm in the morning after having slept hardly a quarter of night.
However, the way we allied in challenges and attached to each other by feelings of affection and personal regard stands us out from the rest. We changed ourselves in order to patronize each other for the success of our long-lasting relationship and friendship beyond team GIST. I stayed out for long in the spirit of friendship, Kamal and Derek sometimes looked alike to me with hardly any differences. Derek also in the same vein showed camaraderie to tone down a bit on his American style of living to suit with us-- Kamal and me, two Asians.
The team spirit and understanding among us is the perfect example of adaptive leadership. The way we enjoyed the nine-day trip harmoniously is indeed a history of sorts.