Skiing in the Austrian Alps.

Our church had a ski retreat this past weekend in Tyrol, Austria, and at the last minute John and I signed up to go. And we were so glad we did; we got to know some more people at our church here, we got some good skiing in, and we enjoyed a weekend away in the gorgeous Pitztal Valley. I get really panicky when I think I might have to share a room with 12 strangers, shower in ten-stall bathrooms, play ice-breaker games all night, and generally be in a non-introvert environment for an entire weekend. But I'm happy to say that this ski retreat was perfect in that it was in no way like that. We had our own room and bathroom (!), not one ice-breaker game was played (hallelujah!), and I felt like there was a great balance of hanging out/talking and quiet time. John could play games to his heart's content, and I could quietly sketch in a corner. I'm embracing my personality more these days...or I'm trying to, at least!

It's hard to be new and to feel like people might mentally check out when you tell them you're only here for a few months. After all, friendships take time to form, and relationships are built on time and trust. We're aching to be a place for an extended period of time, to build long and deep friendships and to strengthen those we already have. And yet here we are in this place for a few months (two more at this point), and we're realizing we have to work with what we've been given for the time we have before us. We won't become best friends with everyone in our church, but we can invest as much as possible in the friendships we do have, right here, right now. And having two, three, four friendships is a wonderful thing, no matter where you are. Who knows how God may use and grow those friendships in the future?

Not your average church retreat spot, right? This was the view from our chalet.

Not your average church retreat spot, right? This was the view from our chalet.

(Some) new friends from church.

(Some) new friends from church.

Here's the million-dollar (or million-Euro) question in the ski lodge restaurant: TAGESHIT? I looked this up in the dictionary, and it apparently doesn't mean anything. Tag means "day" and shit...well, we all know what that means. Dayshit? Hmm? The food was good, regardless! :)

Here's the million-dollar (or million-Euro) question in the ski lodge restaurant: TAGESHIT? I looked this up in the dictionary, and it apparently doesn't mean anything. Tag means "day" and shit...well, we all know what that means. Dayshit? Hmm? The food was good, regardless! :)

Action shot on the 8km sledding course. This was kind of dangerous, considering that I cannot multitask, but I managed not to go off the side of the mountain (which was strangely unprotected by barriers...), so all is well.

Action shot on the 8km sledding course. This was kind of dangerous, considering that I cannot multitask, but I managed not to go off the side of the mountain (which was strangely unprotected by barriers...), so all is well.