Marina Kookootsedes


David Picciao

Marina Kookootsedes and David Picciao

Our Story


Despite globetrotting between Uganda and Peru, Marina wasn’t meeting many new people and decided to download Coffee Meets Bagel (a dating app) to increase her chances. Luckily for David, he found Marina’s profile that highlighted her smile and beautiful eyes. He also was intrigued by a picture of her eating a worm on a stick (the most interesting and disgusting picture he had seen on any profile by far)! Marina made the first move by sending David a message in the app while in Dubai on her way to Uganda. Thanks to Marina’s wit and David’s endless questions, we were able to keep in contact via text for a month before we met in person!


It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in Long Beach when David first laid eyes on Marina. Her smile and green eyes captured David’s attention right away. She walked confidently towards David who was waiting in the courtyard in front of the aquarium, the place he had suggested as the first date activity to avoid the rain and any awkwardness of having a conversation and meal with a total stranger.

Despite the hoards of children, loudspeaker announcements and stinky salt water, we hit it off. He loved that she spoke Spanish and had lived/worked in Uganda and Peru. She was attracted to him for similar reasons, that he spoke Spanish fluently (thanks to Mexican family) and had worked in Kenya. Since we didn’t want our time to end, we decided to grab some liquid inspiration at The Congregation Alehouse nearby (it was Sunday after all).

David had a great feeling about this beautiful and intelligent woman...Marina was cautiously optimistic but agreed to a second date before the first had ended.


Six months into our relationship, Marina moved to New Haven, CT to pursue a Master’s degree in Business Administration. How did we maintain our relationship while we lived on separate coasts? We created a ritual of watching “This is Us” while talking on Google Duo & sharing personalized music playlists on Spotify. It didn’t hurt that Marina’s school schedule provided her with ample vacation time and we both invested in credit cards with travel perks.


One of Marina’s favorite places is Santa Barbara (she lived there during/after college). Luckily, we were able to visit during her winter break so she could show David around. David knew the courthouse tower had a great view and would be a good place to pop the question.

After fumbling through a poem in Spanish, David got on one knee, eager to start a new adventure with Marina. Lucky for him, Marina looked past his mediocre oratory skills and said yes!
Kristie Kern