Friday is finally here, and after a long week, I would like to say to everyone:
خسته نباشید / khasteh nabashid (formal) or khasteh nabashi (informal)
This phrase literally means don't be tired. There is no real translation for it in English, but it's used in Persian as a greeting and recognition and appreciation of a person's hard work. For example, I hear khasteh nabashi when I come home from work in the evenings. Or say you finished a really long project or paper. Someone would tell you khasteh nabashi.
It's also used as a greeting and often as a substitution for or immediately following salaam with people you don't know well. For example, you walk into a store and greet the salesman or you need to ask someone for directions. A polite way to get their attention would be to say khasteh nabashid (you could also say bebakhshid, excuse me).
When you fly to Iran, most planes land at the ungodly hour of about 2am or later. I don't know why. It's always been like this. I know people get nervous about Iranian customs because the officials look so serious, but let's get real. What do you expect them to look like at that hour? (And don't tell me that U.S. customs agents look any friendlier.) Most people, perhaps out of fear or sheer exhaustion, just slide their passport under the glass without saying anything, or maybe barely give a hello. But here's something my mom always does- whether it's to the customs agent or the flight attendant, taxi driver, train conductor, etc. She approaches the person with a smile and greets them with a khasteh nabashid. I've seen it time and time again, the other person just completely thaws and almost looks relieved as they respond, salaamat bashid, may you be healthy. Since seeing my mom do this, I've taken up this practice myself. The first time, I walked into a sports store and gave a booming khasteh nabashid agha only to realize that I was greeting a life-size cardboard cutout of Ali Daei, the former soccer star. Since then, I've gotten the hang of it.
Anyway, give this phrase a try. A person's attitude will change az zamin ta asemoon, from the ground to the sky. You'll see.
Once again khasteh nabashid and have a lovely weekend!