Dear July // A Time Capsule

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Dear July,

I have a video for you somewhere in my computer, but I’m much too lazy and frankly too nervous to put the footage together. It’s 11:59 on your last day and I feel as if you didn’t really happen. Were you really even here? You must have been, but it seems as if every time you are here, you go by much too quickly. You were…really great, July. I’m talking to you as if you are a person because all the memories that happened inside these 31 days are enough to make a person. I left my job of four years, my comfort job for something that makes me so excited while at the same time so nervous. It was a leap for me and one that I’m anxious about, but I know it was the correct, best and most thrilling move I could make. I have loved the people I met this month and knowing that these people believe and see something in me that I can’t quite see yet makes me want to work so much harder. I’m really happy, July. I inspired people this month and let my voice finally be heard that I kept quiet and hidden for a very long time. Because I was afraid of what would happen if I did let my opinions be known. Because I was much too young or too naive to have an opinion, or so they say, yet after a week, they are still talking and my desire to spark a conversation has turned into a full fledged forest fire. So, thank you, July. You were here much too quickly, the year is half over, but you made me realize I have a voice. That my opinions can matter. That, although the world can be a scary and daunting place, sometimes you just need to jump. I can’t wait to see what happens in August.

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Memories // Remember Me

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How I want you to remember me:

In the crook of your arm when you’re wrapping your arms around your pillow because you can’t fall asleep at night. The blankets are too hot and you kick them off your body as everything sticks to your skin. Remember me resting a hand on your back so I know you didn’t stray too far.

In your morning coffee while you try to wipe away the sleep from your eyes and wonder what time you finally fell asleep. You’ll put in too much milk because that’s how I made mine and you’ll wonder why I drank coffee when I poured so much milk in. Remember me smiling over my mug and blushing as you look at me.

In the early light of day, right after your alarm goes off. When you roll over to turn off the beeping and see the light creeping through the blinds. Remember me hiding beneath the duvet to try to grasp the last bit of sleep.

On the couch in your parents’ house where you accidentally told me you loved me and I whispered back that I loved you too. Remember me standing up too fast, giggling down the hallway and stubbing my toe against the door frame. Remember me cursing. Remember me limping for the rest of the night.

Remember my laughter as you would say something to make me feel better. Remember all of our jokes. Remember my hand somehow always finding yours. Remember. Remember. Remember.

Jaws on the Water

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A couple years ago my friend texted me saying that she was going to watch the movie Jaws while floating in her pool. Now, I feel like I am brave (insert laughter here), but when it comes to water and sharks, I go running screaming the other way. Why anyone would want to watch the number one film that scared most of the world away from the small island town of Amity while floating around in water is beyond me.

However, if this sounds like something you’re into and since it’s Shark Week, I recommend flying to Austin, Texas this week. The Alamo Drafthouse introduced Jaws on the Water back in 2002 and now it’s back for the first time since then at the man-made Texas Ski Ranch Lake for Jaws 40th Anniversary. The only conditions? You’re outside floating on an inner tube in the pitch-black lake. Sounds like a wild night, right?

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Tickets are $30 and include an inner tube. Alamo Drafthouse says you can expect plenty of other additions, including 10 sharks in the water, specials on Dos Equis all night long and plenty more. Food, drink and beer are for sale because we all know that some of us need a little bit of courage to dip our toes into the unknown depths of lake water.

Duh-nuh, duh-nuh, duh-nuh

Dear June // A Timecapsule

My very first vlog is up online for the whole world to see and judge me quite harshly on. I’ve never done any type of videos before, so it’s not very good at all. But, I enjoyed making it and trying something different that I can hopefully get better at.

Dear June,

So far this month, I have painted my nails thirty-one times. I haven’t brushed my hair. I ate six pints of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. And only cried twenty-two times. Mostly during TV shows, four times during HeyClaire’s video to her mom.

I started off the month by falling out of love and hiding it quite intensely. I didn’t realize it would take me three months and not responding to texts to finally get over someone. But, I stopped answering phone calls and text messages and left things to the last minute before canceling again. It’s still something I’m continuing to work on, but not very well.

June is always lonely for me. I used to love the summer as a kid, but the older I get the more I long for the Fall and new beginnings instead of the excessive heat of summer and my clothes sticking to the backs of my legs. Yet, this month was about rain, and more rain, and the continuous monotonous rain.

But then it became about the starts of projects and songs and books and movies and TV shows and candles and lots and lots of candles and friends. Actual friends. Which is strange for me to not have everyone I want to hang out with spread across the globe, but a small group I can call and go to a movie and dinner with. It became about learning new things and juggling three jobs and slowly trying not to lose my mind in the process.

June, you’ve been about learning to take chances and not be so scared to take the next step. I have been so scared lately. Scared to make the wrong step and ruin my life forever, but JK Rowling didn’t have her life figured out by 23 and I’ll figure it out one day. I hope. Maybe in July.

*went off on a different course whilst speaking, but this was the main idea.

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.

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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.

Costa.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Struggling with the Pedals

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I could hear them giggling behind me as I struggled to get my oversized bag situated and my feet planted on the pedals of the recently rented city bike. I hadn’t been on a bike since I was fourteen, and now, six years later, I was perched on one at two in the morning in Nice. Antoine was looking at me, a slight smirk on his face as I finally balanced myself and unsteadily propelled myself forward.

“Ça va?” he asked and when I nodded, we were off, looping around the winding streets back towards the city centre. There were four of us, peddling faster and faster trying to see which one of us could beat the other down the hill. Pierre with his long dark hair and coke bottle glasses appeared beside me, stretching his legs out in front of him, weaving the blue bike from one side of the road to the other.

“Allez,” Pierre turned, “we are the motorbike gang. Please, Mackenzie, we need a girl in our gang which means you need to pedal faster.” I laughed and worked my legs into a frenzy, flying fast along the winding road, seeing the sea glitter in the moonlight at the bottom of the hill as the “motorbike gang” laughed hysterically through the empty streets.

Nice was beautiful in the daytime, with the streets milling with both tourists and natives alike. At night, streets were lit with a warm yellow glow while music could be heard from the few clubs that were open. Girls in small dresses, smoking cigarettes outside while speaking rapidly about some boy they couldn’t believe didn’t show up. It could have been any city, but the quick French and late night crêpe stands gave away the location. Nice in the daytime meant weaving through backpackers and old men in khaki shorts, their striped polos tucked into the front of their trousers. Yet at night, there weren’t tourists with “selfie sticks” standing around the Fontaine du Soleil, but young couples sharing secret jokes, kisses, and wine. I smiled as we passed them, Antoine whistling loudly, as the couples parted and laughed in their hands.

The sea crept closer as my legs grew more tired with each turn of the pedals. Antoine and Chris were in front of Pierre and I, they turned their heads, laughing at us to move faster, the beach was waiting. Two days before, when I arrived at this sea town in the south of France, finally meeting Antoine, my pen pal of three years, I never pictured myself laughing through the empty streets of beautiful Nice, part of this motorcycle gang of French men, racing towards the dark beach.

My entry for the World Nomads Scholarship trip about my adventure or misadventure in Nice. 

A Place Called Home

*Found in my travel diary 

09/22/2013

Last night I referred to London as my home. This is the first time that this has happened since I’ve been here, and to you, it may not seem like a big deal, but to me this is monumental. I went to Brighton with a friend yesterday, which is about two hours outside of London by the £5 MegaBus we took there.

Brighton and Hove is a gorgeous town with a nice beach front and wonderful, wonderful hot chocolate that I spilled all down my front. It was a cool day, close to 60’s but not quite reaching. We got off our coach and walked straight to the pier to watch the waves crash on the pebbled beach. It’s been so long since I’ve seen “never ending” water. The horizon dipped and swayed along with the waves. The English Channel looked like it was freezing and I wouldn’t dare step my feet into its depths.

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Caitlin and I watched as people went for a run and dove into the icy water and stared dumbfounded as they actually seemed to enjoy their swim. Here we were, wrapped up in jackets, beanies, and scarves while these humans are in swimming trunks and bikinis jumping into the Channel. I feared they were crazy.

Cat and I left the pier and the beach to walk along other areas of Brighton. We walked to the Royal Pavilion, but instead of being welcomed inside for free, we had to pay 8 pounds, which unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for, and instead walked around the estate. Across the stretch of grass, stood the art museum of Brighton. In the cute little space was ancient Egyptian artifacts, kitchenware from the royal families, and art projects from local residents that were absolutely stunning.

Brighton had a lot to offer on a Sunday. They had farmer’s markets, a Japanese festival, vintage festival, and lots of little bookshops for us to venture to. I stumbled across an old book that I had been meaning to read and bought for only 2 pounds. High Fidelity was finally mine.

Being outside of busy London was refreshing. It was not as overpriced and touristy as London is. There were moments where we could walk the street and not see a soul which was strange but relaxing.

As we walked along Trafalgar Street, we turned the corner and saw a stretch of wall with graffiti covering every inch of available wall space. At the edge of the wall though, there was a Banksy piece. The first one I’ve ever seen and here I was actually seeing a real Banksy with my own eyes. It was beautiful, yet framed so no one else could spray paint over it. Why they would try to paint over it is beyond me.

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By the end of the night, Cat and I were ready to go. We went back to the beach and bought another hot chocolate to warm us up and waited for our bus to come back. Brighton is a beautiful city, probably for a whole weekend I would love it, but I was ready to go back to London.

I turned and looked at her when the bus pulled up and said, “let’s go home”. Not “let’s go back to the school,” but home. As we weaved in and out of the city on our journey back, I felt a pull because I honestly feel like I belong here and I don’t ever want to leave.

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