Cigs and Pine // Scotland

Cigs and Pine // Scotland

12 October 2013; 8:23AM

Cigarettes and pine is what Scotland smells like. Nat and I got off the £13 MegaBus smelling like sweat and lack of sleep after 9 hours of attempting to sleep in an upright position.

The bathroom was our savior at 8 in the morning where we wiped down our skin with baby wipes I kept in the sides of my bag and dry-shampooed the sides of our hair. I watched as Nat meticulously put on her MAC Russian Red, fluffed up the sides of her hair before shaking her head and shoving her orange beanie over her blonde hair.


Cigarettes and pine. What an odd smell.

It was too early to check in with our Couchsurfing host and the light was just coming up in the Medieval town. The dark stones echoed under our boots as we made our way to the city centre to find wifi and coffee.


After sitting in Costa for nearly an hour, we found food and the bus to our home for the weekend. The place was weird with a bunkbed in the living room and two couches. A Spanish couple mumbled something to us as we walked through the door. A South Korean boy nodded as he grabbed tea from the kitchen. Another boy from the Philippines asked us our names while our host locked the door behind us. A cat walked around my legs.


I’m Natalie and this is Mackenzie.

We took another bus. We had no idea where to go. The Docs were too expensive, so we ended up looking at bargain priced items from Misguided and looking at old Cathedrals. We walked up the streets and down the streets and through old churchyards where graves have been since the 1600s.

The city built on top of another city.

We were tired and decided to see The Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote those books on a napkin. I had a coffee while Natalie read which bands were going to be playing at some festival sometime soon in the local paper that happened to be laying on the table next to us. There was graffiti in the bathroom.


This way to the Ministry with an arrow pointing down into the toilet.

Across the street was Nandos where we stuffed our faces with peri-peri sauce and a nice cheeky chicken sandwich before walking to a local Tescos at night. Edinburgh Castle was lit up in the sky like some kind of beaconing force lighting our way forward to aisle 4 to pick up cheap red wine.

We sat outside in a hotel parking lot next to a movie theatre and popped open the bottle of wine. Stumbling out of the bars next door were girls in short dresses and heels waiting for their boyfriends to slip their arms around their waists to take them home. After a half hour, we had a buzz going and bought tickets to see a movie. I fell asleep in the movie. There wasn’t a happy ending.

We took the wrong bus home.

Glasgow from a train is beautiful. Fast, wild and free. It is full of bacon butties and IRN-BRU. When we got out of the train station the air was full of feathers in the square. It looked as if they just had a pillow fight and everyone was laughing.


We walked to another Cathedral where people were checking the “vibes” of the spirits in the place. I was really hoping there wasn’t anyone there as I stepped on a gravesite to get the perfect picture for Instagram. Sorry.

I found my own personal TARDIS. I found signs outside bars that I identified so well with. We had pizza and white wine and talked about boys and walked through a fun fair watching children screaming and eating candy floss by the fist full.



Two hours later, we were watching Children of Men with the South Korean, the Spaniards and the Filipino and sipping Soju.

The next morning we almost snuck out through a window since the doors were locked but we made it to the train station in time all while Nat wore her dollar sign socks.


Things I Learned in 2014

I learned a few things this past year. Crazy, I know. As I am currently stuck in bed with a nasty cold, I decided to think about the things that i have learned in 2014.

Love fades: Starting off light, ya know? Although I’ve never been in love, I guess what I learned is that feelings change and fade and morph and turn into different feelings that you weren’t quite expecting. You can be really close to someone in January and by the time school rolls around in August, that closeness has faded from seeing each other once a week into once a month, until you hardly see each other at all.

Friendship is very important: I’m horrible at keeping in touch with people. I’ve never been good at it and eventually, like most things, I let friendships fade out instead of putting in the effort (shh, don’t read into this). This year my best friend Emma flew from Cleveland to visit me. Instead of letting the months pass of not seeing and hanging out with each other cause a gap in our friendship, we made sure to Skype and talk on the phone and text everyday until we could actually see each other in person. Friendship is so so important and the days that I feel lonely or feel no one understands, it’s wonderful to have someone to reach out to to make you feel normal.

Instagram isn’t real life: This was one that was difficult for me to realize. People put their best selves online and even though I do it myself, I can’t help but think people have much better lives than me when I see their filtered photos online. Not everyone’s lives are a series of square photos, beaches, side streets in Europe, glasses of wine, and parties. People are living real lives out there, just not showing you the days they are laying in bed until two in the afternoon crying whilst watching Sex and the City and drinking boxed wine.

Life is short: I remember a conversation my grandpa had with me before he passed this year. It was a couple years ago and he was talking about how when he was younger him and his brothers made fun of this old man in their neighborhood. He said he never imagined getting to a point when he would be as old as that man and now he was suddenly at the same age. Of all the moments that I’ve had with him, that was one conversation that stuck out the most to me because life is way too short. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that. Can you believe how quickly this year went?!

Cats are and always will be the best: To all you dog people out there, I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I was attacked by a dog when I was young, but big dogs scare the shit out of me. The thing that makes cats the best is their independence which dogs don’t seem to have. Dogs are so needy. Cats leave you alone, and that’s all I need. A small creature that doesn’t want my undying love but lets me love on her until she eventually gets pissed and runs away from me and in the corner of the house where no one can get her. That’s love.

Buying clothes won’t make you happy: Ugh, a lesson I’m still trying to learn. I’m pretty sure I’m a “shop-aholic.” Whenever I feel sad, I decide to buy happiness in the form of make-up or shoes or a new dress. Yet, the problems are still there after purchasing my new items, why is that? At least I look good while suffering.

Don’t be embarrassed being the one that doesn’t drink: I’m not great at drinking. I love wine and martinis, but I never drink to get drunk and that’s apparently the rule of your early twenties (?) So unless I know someone really well, I won’t drink. I’m not comfortable and before this year, I was always slightly embarrassed by this fact. People judge you for not drinking, and I refuse to feel ashamed for not downing that beer quick enough to your liking, society. (But, please don’t judge me.)

A good cry is much needed: Sometimes things look better after a good cry. It’s not good to bottle up all those feelings, you need to release the tears. Let them go. Find a really sad movie (for me Like, Crazy or P.S. I Love You) and just let the emotions fly. You’ll feel so much better afterwards. Trust me.

Spare make-up in your bag is essential: After spending close to eight hours straight at school, I learned that spare eyeliner, concealer, and lipstick are needed in my bag. I just feel so much more refreshed and as if I have my life in order when my eyeliner is dark and straight and my under eye bags are hidden from the world. No one needs to see that..

Take your lactose pills: Oh, the joys of getting older and developing a newfound love of cheese and being lactose intolerant.

Don’t hold in a fart: Self explanatory. Don’t hurt your stomach to protect the ones around you. Make them suffer.