#kosterina is the result of a 16 year-long crush, a meet-cute reunion on the streets of Manhattan, and soul-baring 54-slide Powerpoint presentation.
As a 15 year old, I had a crush on Kostas from afar. We’re both the children of Greek immigrants, we grew up in the same community on Long Island, New York, and we attended the same Greek Orthodox church as children. Despite all the opportunities to meet when we were young, we never spoke a word to one another during our childhoods.
Watching him play basketball in high school, I distinctly remember telling my friends I thought he was the best looking guy I’d ever seen. The best way to describe him is your cliché tall, dark, handsome. He was three years older than me and literally didn’t know I existed.
Things stayed that way for the next 16 years and, even though I grew up and travelled the world and had other great relationships, I always carried a torch for Kosta from afar. During those years, friends and family would always tell me to date a Greek guy, and I would often pull up Kosta’s social media profile to show them “the only hot Greek guy in the world.” Longtime friends even recall me saying that there was a 5% chance I’d end up marrying Kostas. (a person I had never spoken a word to and literally knew nothing about). My friends rolled their eyes and chuckled.
Everything changed one summer day eight years ago. I was rushing to a meeting and spotted Kosta at the corner of Park Avenue and 56th Street. Without a second thought, I walked right up to him and started chatting as if we were old friends. As I walked away, I realized he probably had no idea who I was. That was, after all, the first time we had ever spoken to one another.
It turns out he did know who I was. A few days later, Kosta found me and messaged me on Facebook: Would I like to go out to dinner? I felt like Brad Pitt had just asked me out on a date. I agreed to a lunch to keep things light.
I got a blowout before that lunch.
And so began an innocent courtship. We texted and emailed frequently, saw each other at a good mutual friend’s wedding and hung out a handful of times over a 4 month period. At some point, we began to play a game of question-and-answer over text. We went back and forth until he challenged me: name five things you absolutely love.
I decided to up the ante and wrote up a list of 35 things. I hesitated before hitting send. Would he think I was crazy? Overzealous? Oh well. As I boarded my 6 hour flight back to New York, I hit send. Just as I was settling into my seat and about to power down my devices, I received Kosta's response: a 54-page digital document—basically a Powerpoint presentation—that included photos of his closest family and friends, scenes from his favorite movie, lyrics from his favorite songs, and more. The slides embodied everything I’ve come to love about Kosta: his innate happiness, his fun-loving spirit, and his dedication to family. As I flipped through the slides, I started tearing up. I was captivated, moved, and absolutely certain that this was the person I was supposed to be with.