Photo by Beth Solomon
Sara Stenroos, First Secretary, Embassy of Finland, with Matthew Costello of Finn Church Aid Americas
Sara Stenroos, First Secretary, Embassy of Finland, with Matthew Costello of Finn Church Aid Americas

Henry David Thoreau, the American trancendentalist, famously journeyed into the woods to get away from the congestion and chaos of the city.  “I went to the woods," he wrote, "because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." 

Klaas Keirse of the Embassy of Belgium, Emma Nilsson of the Embassy of Sweden, and Tom Kelly of the British Embassy (Photo by: Beth Solomon) Klaas Keirse of the Embassy of Belgium, Emma Nilsson of the Embassy of Sweden, and Tom Kelly of the British Embassy
Friends and admirers of the Embassy of Finland's beloved First Secretary Sara Stenroos gathered on a terrace under the Embassy's forest canopy to say good-bye as she leaves Washington -- for now -- to take on an assignment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Helsinki.

Sara's elegance, intelligence, generosity and warmth left a mark in Washington.  She and Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi not only have been champions of Finnish culture and its leadership on the environment and creating a more peaceful world, but they have also been active in supporting those around them, from the diplomatic community, to humanitarian and justice causes, to artists of all kinds. 

Dr. Antti Stenroos (Sara's husband), Steve Smout of the Embassy of Belgium, and  Dora Zombori of the Embassy of Hungary, and (Photo by: Beth Solomon) Dr. Antti Stenroos (Sara's husband), Steve Smout of the Embassy of Belgium, and Dora Zombori of the Embassy of Hungary, and
Those raising a glass to Sara recently "in the woods" included Tom Kelly of the British Embassy, Emma Nilsson of the Embassy of Sweden, Klaas Keirse and Steve Smout of the Embassy of Belgium, Dora Zombori of the Embassy of Hungary, Valerie Kirkpatrick, Perry Lum and Emma Hathaway of CARE, Matthew Costello of Finn Church Aid Americas, and Michael Yen-Kai Chen of the Taipai Economic and Cutlural Representative Office in the United States. 

Sara said: "Having lived previously in the States, transatlantic relations have always had a special place in my heart. My three-year tour in D.C. taught me many valuable lessons in diplomacy, but in particular, it substantiated once more the importance of making personal connections. What is more, my family and I developed friendships that will undoubtedly endure for the rest of our lives."

Valerie Kirkpatrick, Emma Hathaway and Perry Lum of CARE, with Michael Yen-Kai Chen, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (Photo by: Beth Solomon) Valerie Kirkpatrick, Emma Hathaway and Perry Lum of CARE, with Michael Yen-Kai Chen, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.
Journeying "into the woods" at the Embassy of Finland in Washington will continue to be a path to a peaceful, beautiful, kind oasis in the middle of Washington's chaos, thanks to the Finnish people and Ambassador Kauppi's elegant leadership. And we hope to see Sara's sparkling light among the beautiful trees at the Embassy soon again. 

Kiitos paljon, Sara! Come back soon!