“Shway Shway”

Marhaba! (Hello in Arabic)

If we’re being honest, that’s just about all the Arabic I can remember right now. We have had four Arabic lessons since arriving a little over two weeks ago and although it is a difficult language, it has been fun for me to begin to learn a language that people actually speak. In college, I studied Latin and Biblical Hebrew…I know, really useful. However, I will say that the Hebrew has helped me here more than it would anywhere else in the world because I can at least fake being able to read some of the road signs! I don’t know what most of them mean, but I can read them! Anyway, in addition to learning how to say basic things like, “Hello” and “Thank you”, one of the phrases that has been pretty useful in my time here has been the title of this blog post, “Shway shway”. This phrase, coincidentally means “Little by little”, more or less. How appropriate that one of the first phrases I learn here is the title I have given my blog and truly the way that I see this year’s journey unfolding. Here are some possible uses of the phrase “Shway shway”.

Example 1:
Q: “Do you speak Arabic?”
A: “Shway shway”
– This conversation actually happened today in the grocery store with a young girl and myself 🙂

Example 2:
When someone is speaking Arabic to you and is speaking too fast for you to understand, you can say “shway shway” as a way of asking him or her to slow down a bit! I will definitely be using this all year.

I do honestly feel like “Shway shway” will be a constant thread running through my year in the Holy Land. During our in-country orientation, we have studied the land, the history, the culture, the food, the people, and the conflict and simultaneously, little by little, things are clarifying and complicating themselves. Little by little, I am learning the bus routes, navigating the streets of the Old City, becoming a part of a new church family, and of course, practicing my Arabic 🙂 And even though it is a challenge for me everyday, “shway shway” I am learning to trust God and trust that I am right where I am supposed to be.

God’s Peace



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3 responses to ““Shway Shway”

  1. Always thinking of you. Miss you!

  2. Sarah!

    How beautiful. In Rwanda, we learned the same phrase. It’s “bohoro bohoro.” Kelsey and I have said this to each other so, so many times as we settle into life in our new city, too. Why don’t we have jobs!? Friends!? A new network, a new life at the snap of our fingers!? Shway shway.

    Love and thoughts your way!

  3. ^ Second what Steph said.

    Love you. Lots.

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