Top 10 Things to Bring With You to Phuket, Thailand:
1. A personal shade-boy. It's real hot here. You're going to want to hire your neighbor boy to come with you to Thailand to hold a big palm leaf over your head. You're still going to be hot, but at least you'll be in the shade. Plus, you'll be doing your neighbor boy a favor. Not only does he not have to set up the redundant lemonade stand to make some extra cash in the summer, but he'll also have the pleasure of seeing the world. Win-win situation.
2. Skirts/dresses. If you're a man, you're probably screwed in this area, but if you're a female, skirts and dresses are the best things you can wear. They allow you to feel the breeze, if you know what I mean.
3. Candy/chocolate/sugary goodness. You will find sugary goodness here in the form of the 7-Eleven, but it would also be very handy for you if you already had some sort of candy in your bag. I personally brought 3 bags of Hershey's Kisses with me, and I thank God daily that he led me to stick those Kisses in my suitcase.
4. A Pillow Pet. (My unicorn is named Percy)
5. A smile. The Thai people are wonderful and friendly and sincerely nice, and even if they don't understand English very well, they will smile at you. All you need do is smile back.
6. A fearless and adventurous spirit. There is a lot of interesting food available for your tasting pleasure, and you should try it all. For instance, I had the most amazing omelette in the world this morning, and it was made with an egg, sugar, and condensed milk. Um, can you say delicious? Plus, you're going to need that fearless spirit when you try and cross the road. I learned in Vietnam that you just have to start walking into the road slowly and steadily, and traffic will eventually stop for you, but if you think that will work here, think again! The easiest way to get from one side of the road to the other here is to: 1. Pray. 2. Look both ways. 3. Pray again. 4. Close eyes and sprint. (Sometimes it's better not to see what you're attempting) 5. Pray as you're sprinting. 6. Thank God you made it to the other side, or, if worse comes to worse, hope that one of your friends has a broom to sweep you off the street with.
(Note: That may have been a slightly dramatic representation. Don't freak out, mom. 🙂
7. A camera. I mean, nobody wants to look like a dumb tourist walking around taking pictures of everything from the neighborhood chicken to the banana tree outside of your house (yes, there is a banana tree outside of our house!) but discard your pride and bring your camera. Respectfully take pictures. There is so much beauty here that simply demands to be admired. (And maybe if you're lucky, the chicken will pose for you)
8. Bug spray. If you go adventuring into the jungle on the outside of Phuket to swim in an isolated waterfall (Yes, we did that. Yes, it was absolutely amazing) you will meet some very interesting critters who would love to taste you. Don't give them the chance. Cover yourself with bug repellant, and watch them scatter. Of course, one or two of the little blood-thirsty fiends will probably get you anyway, so remember to bring anti-itch cream too, unless you enjoy scratching yourself like a monkey in public.
9. A llama. (Who doesn't like llamas?)
And lastly, but certainly not leastly, (I don't think leastly is a word, but whatever);
10. The entire armor of God. This place is a place of spiritual darkness, and you will need to be prepared for that. Satan is very much present here, and he would love nothing more than to attack you and bring you down. So therefore, "Be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against the people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6: 10-12
The great thing is that even though Satan is here and spiritual warfare is the reality, God is still greater than all of that. God is truly amazing, and he will never let you down. He is on the front lines here with us, and all we need do is put on the armor, give a rousing battle cry, and run headlong into the battle, because victory is already ours.