September 29, 2005
When I got back from Africa, I knew I had to see ‘Out of Africa’. I put it on the top of
my Netflix queue. It came today so the first thing I did when I got home was popped it
into my DVD player.
I’m now just sitting here blown away by so much more than it being a great movie. I’m
happy I saw it after having gone to Africa because I feel like it’s left so much more of an
impact on me. Within the first minute of the movie, I felt like I could relate to the
location. The first thing they show is an acacia tree. And then all of the animals. And a
sunrise. All of these are things that blew me away while I was there. And then there’s
the music. Probably one of the greatest songs on a movie soundtrack of all time.
And then to think that we were AT Karen Blixen’s home while we were in Nairobi. We
saw her bedroom. We saw where the coffee machine was (they had since built a new
one and we saw that). We stood in the front of her home. Heck, we even took a short
nap on the grass on the grounds of her home.
When she’s mentioning the ‘Ngong Hills’ in the beginning of the movie, we saw those.
They’re hills that have several small mounds. They look like knuckles and that’s where
they get their name because that’s what ‘ngong’ means in Swahili.
Not mentioned in the movie is how much Karen Blixen did for the city of Nairobi. Our
guide told us a lot about her. Basically, most of Nairobi used to be very swamp-like.
She had eucalyptus trees brought in and planted them all around. The reason for this
is because eucalyptus trees absorb lots of water. This dried the land and made them
able to build on it. This is what led to the development over there. I think it’s safe to
say that the Kenyans did not let it go forgotten about what Karen Blixen did for them.
Her house is now a museum. The neighborhood where her house is located is a
gorgeous suburb. The name of the suburb is ‘Karen’. There’s a Karen Country Club, a
Karen Golf Course and many other things named after her.
But I need to get back to the movie… One of the most beautiful parts of the movie to
me was when Karen and Denys were in the plane flying over the lake with thousands of
flamingos. As if that wasn’t beautiful enough, they had the theme song of the movie
playing. I was in tears just because of the shear beauty of it all. Call me a big dork but I
truly was crying just because it was so beautiful.
Another part of the movie that I could relate to was when Karen had to sell all of her
belongings. This just totally brought back the memories of going through the estate
sale with my family’s home. At the time it felt like one of the hardest things imaginable.
Putting a price tag on memories and things that all had some sort of meaning to my
parents. But after it was all said and done, I felt a weight lifted. It simplified things for
me and gave me a whole new meaning of material possessions. In the movie, Karen
Blixen made almost the exact realization. Life’s not about the material things you pick
up along the way. It’s about the other things you pick up along the way- relationships,
experiences, wisdom, memories.
It’s probably not hard to believe that as the movie ended, I had tears rolling down as I
was watching the credits and, once again, listening to the theme song. I’m am now
going to stop writing and go to iTunes and buy that song for my iPod.