Greystone Brought Me to Tokyo

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My mom has always said that Camp Greystone is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’, from keeping in touch and visiting friends from across the country as a camper, to throughout college always seeming to find a connection to our little home back in Tuxedo. Little did I know what was going to be in store for me after summer 2014 in Tentalow Lower Five.

Little did I or one of my August campers that summer, Tatum Saunders, know that three years later we would be living in Tokyo and exploring Hong Kong and Vietnam together with her whole family.

Tatum and I have one really cool thing in common, our birthday, which allowed us to stay in touch through birthday cards and notes throughout the years while I was still in school in Mississippi and she was living in London. We finally got reunited last summer at camp and then again at the beach over Christmas time. This was when Mrs. Saunders told me the news they were moving to Tokyo and wanted me to come along for the journey once I returned from Spain this past fall.

On October 15 I landed in Tokyo, Japan after a 14 hour flight across the Pacific Ocean. Stepping off the plane and meeting up with Mr. Saunders, I encountered a little confusion and a huge culture shock with the foreign letters and language everywhere. I was not sure what I had gotten myself into for the next couple of months. If it was not for Henry and Ruby and their superb skills in Japanese we all would have been lost a few more times.

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It did not take long to feel like family over in our little Asian community. Even with Tokyo being three times the size of New York City, we felt at home in our neighborhood “Azabu-Juban”.

Every day was an adventure - from walking the dogs, Georgia and Jubilee around the city, getting our picture taken each day as if we were some sort of movie star, discovering a Japanese version of Target (Donkey Quijote) navigating the Japanese subway, to diving practice each week with Tatum (where the 2020 Olympics will be held).

Lucky for all of us, Tokyo is so safe and we all had a lot of independence, especially the daily stop on the walk to and from the bus stop at the local “Family Mart” for an ice cream.

Then during Thanksgiving break, we found ourselves in the real China Town in Hong Kong. After a hike up to Victoria’s Peak we saw how different it was to our home back in Japan.

From there we travelled around Vietnam, where we had some awesome food, views and met some awesome people. When thanksgiving day came around we woke up to the view of the thousands of Vietnmese Islands around us in Halong Bay.

We all had lots to be thankful for this past year, especially for Camp Greystone and the relationships it has provided for all four of the Greystone girls in our house.

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