Sarah and Kookbenich They have been dating for five years. One day, on the beach, Koki got down on one knee. Here is their beautiful story…
When did you start planning?
Koki: First, I started looking at the rings. The good thing is that Sarah loves looking at proposals and rings, so I’ve been making mental notes. Finally, I ordered one. I shipped it to a friend’s house instead of to our address. I was deleting all my internet history. I had this double life!
What was your proposal plan?
Koki: I wanted Sarah to feel like a princess. I realized that one way to make it shine more is to photograph it. Photographers often ask to take our photos for their portfolios and social media. So, I asked one of our favorite photographers in Hamburg to pretend he’s asking us to take a picture. We decided to meet on the beach.
What happened when you got to the beach?
Koki: The photographer started taking casual photos. I told her to give me a hint when she felt the lighting was right and the moment was good. She was going to tell me to bring my analog camera, so we could use it while shooting. That was the signal.
Sarah: So, Koki went to get the camera. She also had a small thing in her hand. I was like, is it the viewfinder? Then I got down on one knee. And I was like, Oh hey Josh!!!
How did that moment feel?!
Koki: When I got on one knee, I said, “Sarah,” and suddenly all the feelings came up. My voice was trembling – “You’re my home, I love you” – and I was just crying.
Sarah: It was an out of body experience. My feelings changed every second. At first I was surprised and then I was very happy and then emotional and then I was shocked again, and I was like, Well, well, try to listen to it.
Koki: Everything happened very quickly, and at the same time, time stood still.
Sarah, when did you see the ring?
Sarah: At first, I was just looking at her face. And then we kissed her, and she was like, “The Ring!”
Koki: We were just screaming and hugging.
Sarah: I looked at him and said, Oh my God, he’s perfect.
Then, when you told friends and family, were there any funny reactions?
Koki: Sarah’s parents were wonderful. They are usually German – more reserved, really gentle and loving, but not very expressive. Her mother had tears in her eyes. And this smile was on her father’s face the whole time, like a big smiling cat.
What about your parents, Cookie?
Koki: Unfortunately, it was kind of weird. Sad that when I first came out, my family was supportive; They seemed to welcome Sarah with open arms. Five years later, we live together, we have our own apartment, we have a dog, and it just felt like, all of a sudden, they were like, oh damn, is this really dangerous? I was excited to tell them about the engagement, but their reactions were neither happy nor optimistic. I felt very detached in that moment.
This is hard, I’m really sorry.
Koki: My dad seems to view our lives as a burden, like Oh, it must be so hard. I was like, but don’t you see the life we have and how we have each other? Nothing in this is a burden. There are definitely things that aren’t right for queer society and we have to fight and be honest, but most of the time it’s just being in love with someone, so why isn’t that the main thing?
What about your friends?
Koki: You can feel their love. My cousin in London was terrified. When we called her, she was in a mall eating a burger, and she was like, “What!!!!!” No!!!!! what a hell!!!!!!’
Finally, I would like to ask: What do you love about each other?
Koki: Sarah is one of the funniest people I know. You will bring out the best in you. She knows your potential even if you aren’t; If I suffer for faith in me, it lifts me up. She always has my back and will do anything to protect me. I really feel safe with her.
Sarah: Koki is so cute, she’s the cutest person you’ll ever meet. She has such a big heart and makes everyone feel so welcome. She doesn’t even have to try, it just comes naturally to her. Everyone loves her.
(During our phone interview, we were smiling and laughing the whole time – here are two pictures!)