You'll be hearing lots more from her in the months to come, but if you'd like to reach out and say hello, you can drop her an email at: saara@SISUisintheHeart.com.
In 2014 Saara produced a Finnish-American political farce, Snow Leopard’s Den, which took place atThe Promenade Playhouse, Santa Monica. Since the fall of 2013 she has also been the Editor of The Poet’s Ring.com, Inc.
Before relocating to California in 2011, Saara spent three years in Finland, working as a Performing Arts Producer of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, where she coordinated a variety of plays and applied drama projects. Saara has also worked as an Arts Coordinator in the London Borough of Richmond, producing arts events and festivals, including Twickenham Carnival, Partners in Dance and ARThouse Open Studios Festival.
My family is from Tampere. Even my great grandparents lived there all their lives.
What is your earliest family memory?
All my mom’s sisters, my cousins and grandparents lived within two blocks away from each other in Petsamo, Tampere. We named the neighborhood as “Petsun Paratiisi”, Petsu’s Paradise. It indeed was a paradise for a child to grow up in. There were barely any cars and lots of space to play and move around between apple trees and berry bushes. There was also a strong sense of community and people looked after each other. I felt safe and loved. During the summer months we often organized “lättykestit”/pancake parties in my grandparents’ garden. They were the highlights of the summer. My whole extended family got together and my grandpa made Finnish pancakes for everyone with his special frying pan that only he had the right to use. It took him a whole day to make them, but it was his way of showing us that he loved us.
What does SISU mean to you?
SISU is a part of me and an essential component of my cultural identity. To me SISU is what is left when one encounters adversities and there is nothing else to hang on to. It is a mindset, positive, yet serious, and willpower in extreme circumstances. I have an emotional attachment to SISU and it frames my existence. In Finland SISU is often related to solitude and the need to cope without anyone’s help. However, I think SISU should be seen in relation to a wider sense of human belonging and togetherness. To me SISU is both
personal and universal.