"The Nights" by Avicii came on as I left Haifa...driving off into the night for Tel Aviv and my imminent departure. The song could not have been more appropriate:
I was a bit dazed upon my arrival in Tel Aviv -- two flights and a layover in Istanbul. However, between de-boarding, passing through immigration and asking for directions to the car rental counters, I came to my senses. As I passed the dramatic indoor fountain and rode the escalator up to the car rental counter floor, I could not help but notice how many families were chilling in the airport despite it being well past midnight. I knew where I was going (sort of), but where were they headed?
Shortly after confirming my reservation, I was directed out of the terminal and waited for a shuttle to the car park. A big white van pulled up and was blasting some lively music (not unlike this tune). Funny enough, the same gentleman who escorted me to the car park would be the same one to, weeks later, drop me back at the airport for my departure -- his lively music blaring in the background. He and I never spoke, but I wished I told him that I appreciated his music selection. Somehow, it was familiar and brought me comfort.
Maybe it was the act of an individual listening to music that he enjoys. Or, it could have been the underlying sounds of the music. I don't know. But, I did appreciate that glimpse into his spirit, our connection.
Once I was comfortably seated in what I came to affectionately call my little rocket monster (super tiny four-door car, highly fuel efficient but struggled moving up hills -- which I came to find out the hard way in Haifa, a city of hills), I turned on the radio and drove off into the darkness. It was 3 AM. Quiet. Stretches of darkness. There were only a few cars on the road. For kilometers at a time, mine was the only car raging through the night. Instead of wondering where my fellow road racers were heading, I wondered what the countryside would look like. I let my imagination wander for a bit, but eventually tired of the game. The radio soon became my companion. Songs by artists like Shlomi Shabat and Idan Raichel crooned to my soul, bringing me comfort and peace. I was also treated to club music and global hits. Two hours of comfortable darkness.
The maps I printed out brought me to Haifa, but failed me in my time of need. I drove aimlessly around various parts of Haifa and Mount Carmel searching for the right street. The sun was coming up. It was breathtakingly gorgeous, but I was lost. I soon turned off the radio and drove in search of life. Four kind people later, I had arrived.
It's funny, but I will always remember that first night in Israel. Peaceful, dark. Me entering the unknown, not able to see my surroundings, but feeling the music.
My family and friends refer to me as the Musical Fairy Godmother (the MFG). 'Nuff said.