T1D and T2D – The Differences

I saw a tweet and it read as follows: “Excessive sugar consumption causes #diabetes”. Social Media is saturated with these types of statements, memes,  jokes etc. around Diabetes. This statement cannot be further from the truth. It is due to these irresponsible statements that the world is so misinformed on what Diabetes is and how it is diagnosed. 

As part of Diabetes Awareness Month I asked my diabuddy, Kirsten-also known as @everydayisdiabetesday / Facebook to help me explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and how Diabetes is diagnosed. 

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition which occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels.

What causes Type 1 diabetes?

T1D is not preventable or curable and the cause is unknown. Anyone can get Type 1 diabetes. Studies suggest that T1D results from a genetic predisposition, typically combined with an environmental trigger such as stress to the body.

How is Type 1 Diabetes managed?

Type 1 diabetics are insulin dependent for life. Taking multiple daily insulin injections can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Blood sugar levels must be continuously monitored either with finger pricks or a continuous glucose monitor to ensure that blood glucose levels remain in range, to reduce short and long term complications due to hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. To keep blood glucose levels in range insulin doses must be carefully calculated taking physical activity, stress levels, food intake, illness, and other factors into consideration. 

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

This is when your body cannot properly use insulin. Your body still produces insulin and in some cases produces extra because the body does not use it properly, but eventually your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand and then needs help. This is also referred to as insulin resistance.

What causes Type 2 Diabetes?

There is not a single cause for Type 2 Diabetes, but the following risk factors can contribute to a Type 2 Diagnosis.

  • Obesity
  • Lifestyle
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • History of prediabetes or gestational diabetes
  • Age – The risk of Type 2 diabetes increases as you age.
  • Environmental Factors (such as lack of access to healthy food, inability to exercise, and lack of access to healthcare)
  • Smoking
  • Genetics is also a strong factor in developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have an immediate family member with Type 2, you’re more likely to develop the disease.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Managed?

Exercise, Healthy Diet and Medication such as Tablets and in some cases insulin or a combination of both. You still need to check your blood glucose regularly as well.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for Type 2 Diabetes. Research has been done on remission to show it is possible. Studies such as the Direct Trail indicate that this depends on your progression of diabetes and substantial weight loss. It is strongly advisable to check with your health care professional if this is possible for you.

For more information, please visit:

Research on Remission

DiRECT Trial

Beyond Type 1

*links not affiliated 

We, as Diabetics, appreciate it when you want to know more about the disease and ask valid questions for example how do you feel when you have a low, how is it managed, when were you diagnosed, how were you diagnosed etc. These types of questions help you better understand our condition and it educates at the same time. 

Making irresponsible statements like the above mentioned tweet does not help at all. It hurts a Diabetic every time something like this is said. It makes it so much harder to educate.

Do you have any questions for us? We would love to hear from you!

E & K xx

My (Parents) Diagnosis Story

My diagnosis story is not really mine to tell. I know it sounds weird, but I was so little when I was diagnosed that it feels like it should rather be my parents’ story to tell.

I went to my mom and I asked her some questions based on what I have heard from other diagnoses stories and this is their (my) diagnosis story.

Why was I admitted to hospital?

You had a fever that we struggled to break and we decided to go see Dr Liebenberg, the pediatrition.

Can mom remember how many tests was done and what they tested for?

Dr Liebenberg examined you and immediately requested a urine test. We took you and later returned. The glucose level in your urine were very high. If I remember correctly it was about 42.

What made Dr Liebenberg test for Diabetes?

His 6th sense. After the results from the urine test he said we have a Diabetic. He immediately contacted Dr Esta van Schalkwyk (Dr Poppie as you know her) to advise her that we are on our way.

How did they test for Diabetes? Did they draw blood?

If I remember correctly they did a finger prick and drew blood. At the beginning during the treatment they had to prick your fingers (and toes) 6 times a day and from time to time they did a glucose tolerance test as well. It was very sad to see and know they had to prick your small fingers and toes.

What is my official date of diagnosis?

3 October 1986.

How long was I in hospital before they discharged me?

About 3 weeks. You came home to visit one Sunday, but we had to take you back as your glucose levels were not under control just yet. When we came to visit you and put you to sleep you decided this sleep is nonsense and woke up shortly after, but we went home with the peace of mind that you are sleeping well.

Dr van Schalkwyk told us that we can take you home when we can inject you, so I took the needle and poked it like a dart (my mom says it sounds mean, but I love it) into your thigh, looked at the dr and asked “Can we go home now?”.

Where did you learn about Diabetes management, like the treatment? Were you given “lessons” or pamphlets?

Dr Poppie explained everything and also pamphlets. We had to take you for regular checkups in the beginning and then Dr Poppie would explain more, provide further information and give advice.

Can mom remember how long the first glucose meter took to give a result?

Most certainly a lot longer than the glucose metre’s today. A minute at least.

How many times a day did you have to inject me in the beginning?

The Dr had to experiment with the different types of insulin, but at the beginning you had to take long acting and short acting in the morning and evenings.

How many times did you have to check my glucose levels?

6 times a day.

I asked my mom to also add a bit if she remembers anything and this is what she said,

It was very nerve-racking not to know if you are okay or not. We used to feel behind your little neck to check if your glucose levels were low as the tell sign was when you were covered in cold sweat that your glucose level was most probably low. Sometimes when we had to treat you for a low you bit down so hard that we struggled to get the honey/syrup/glucose gel onto your cheek to have it absorbed quickly.

The time in the hospital as well as the knowledge of what is waiting was very traumatic to process for me and dad. A lot of tears were cried. You were Dr Poppie’s star Diabetic with perfect scores thanks to your mom and dad. It was easy to manage at the beginning as you could only eat what we gave you based on what the dietician advised us. It was very difficult but we realised that your health is dependent on this and a lot can go wrong if we do not manage this.

My heroes

I got quite emotional when I finished reading this. I can not begin to imagine what my parents went through. I will never know, but what I do know is that they did a stellar job of raising me and looking after me.

I do not have a pre-Diabetes world. I only have a Diabetes world and in a way I think this is easier (kind of) as I do not have anything to compare it with. Look, the struggle is real and as you age the things impacting your management just keeps piling and the lists gets longer.

I am very grateful for what my parents have done for me, for looking after me and caring for me. I have lots of stories where they came to my rescue, but that is for another day.

Do you have any questions for my parents or to me? Please let me know if you do. We are happy to help.

E xx

What Happens in Bali, (doesn’t) Stay’s in Bali

A few years back on honeymoon we had quite the adventure and experience in Bali.

The first two days was extremely overwhelming and all we wanted to do was come home. It was their school holidays and a spiritual holiday and heaven knows there were more scooters driving around than there are people in South Africa. The weather was not great either. We had rain almost the whole time we were there and it was cloudy most days.

We got lost on the first day there. We did end up in a cool, quiet bar to have a cool drink and saw some very cool shops with art and woodwork. Luckily a taxi driver picked us up, just before we got drowsed in rain, and took us back to where we were supposed to be. We saw where we went wrong as we were driving back. We just wanted to go to the shopping centre around the corner but took a wrong turn. The shopping centre was literally right behind our hotel. We did not make the same mistake again.

On the second night we were saying to each other that this is just too much and we need to get somewhere where it is a bit more quiet. The street in front of the hotel just never slept.

Etienne went onto Booking.com and looked for a place close to the beach in a quiet area and booked it there and then. We packed a night bag, well our little back pack and off we went. We organised a taxi to take us to Ubud and from Ubud we would then continue to Padang Bai.

Ubud was already different from Semenyak where we stayed. The atmosphere was different and you had quite the variety of shops, restaurants and bars next to the road. A foodies heaven. Our first stop was die Ubud Market everyone is always talking about. We did not stay there long as it was a bit busy. We were told that you should not take the first offer and haggle a bit. Let me tell you, I suck at haggling to begin with but those aunties had none of this. And some were straight up rude!

We left and then took a stroll through the “main road” of Ubud. We had a lovely lunch and got some ice cream. It was all very delicious.

After our little stop it was time to make our way to Padang Bai.

After quite a slow drive, they do not drive faster than 60km/h, we made it to our accommodation for the night. It was rated 2 stars, but you had the basics, a bed, bathroom, restaurant and breakfast was included. We even had a guest, Mr Cockroach came to say hi. We had quite a laugh because we had some questionable breakfast the following morning, and the garlic bread was toast with garlic, but our tummies were satisfied.

The day of arrival it was quite late in the afternoon, but we decided to take a stroll. There was not a lot of space to walk on the beach itself so we stuck  to the road. In our exploring we almost crashed a ceremony of some sort at one the temples-sorry guys!

As we were walking through the little harbour, every second guy kept yelling “Gili!”, “Gili!”, “You want to see Gili?!” We thought to ourselves who the hell is Gili. Our curiosity got the better of us and we asked one of the people who is Gili. We were then told that Gili is an island and not a person. Well, we did not have any plans for the next day and you can take a day trip on a speed boat so let’s do it. We booked ourselves on a day trip, on a speed boat,  to Gili Island.

We left Padang Bai at around 9am and we were booked to return at 3pm the afternoon. The boat ride was almost an hour and after what felt like we hitting a dolphin every few metres, we arrived. This was Etienne’s story. Every time we struck a wave he said we are killing a dolphin. The ride made my tummy feel weird, not sea sick but the feeling you get on a roller coaster.

After what we experienced the first two days, it felt like we arrived in heaven. There were scooters operating on battery power which meant no scooter noises and no cars! It was donkey carts everywhere or you can hire a bicycle or just walk around on the island.  It is small enough to cover every inch of the place in about 2-3 hours.

We went to get ourselves bicycles as we needed a bit more speed than walking and we set out exploring. We did not pack a towel so we had to buy one and we hired some snorkelling gear to go watch some fishies. It is only us who will go to a beach without a towel and sunbathing costumes, but then again we did not plan for this. It was completely spontaneous.

We cycled around on the island, I visited some shops, we snorkelled, well Etienne did and had  a blast. I made it in a few centimetres and then just gave a nope and returned to the beach. My feet stepped on some funny feeling stuff below the water. That did not sit well with me or my imagination. We returned our bicycles and then went to have lunch.

We ordered chicken wraps and I asked the waiter if the chilli is very strong. He just said no, in his best English, not strong. He was very wrong. I tried my best but could not finish mine and Etienne who loves hot foods had a bit of a challenge with this so called sweet chilli option.

Then it was time to bid Gili farewell and fall into queue for our boat ride back to Bali mainland.

3pm arrived and passed. 4pm arrived and passed. We were a whole group together and after our boat did not arrive it was not long until people started asking questions. The people at the little port was very evasive and no one could give us a straight answer. They kept on saying the boat is just late.  After a while it came to light that our boat had problems and it will not be coming to get us. So naturally the next question would be so how do we get back to the mainland.

We were all loaded in boats and were told that there is alternative arrangements and we are being taken to Lombok and our boat will fetch us there.

We arrived in Lombok and were ushered into the port building. We did not pass immigration or border control or checked in to the new country. This is not part of Bali so you are suppose to go through customs. So we were in the country illegally. Apparently, this was not a problem. And so we waited. I can add this to my bucket list now and scratch it off. Question: Have you ever been in a country illegally? Yes, yes I have! Hahaha

We did walk onto the jetty but  were told to please return to the port building. We asked about how much longer before the boats arrived and the answer again was very vague. At one point they told us it will be another hour or so.

At last they told us, okay, our boat is not coming. It was too late already and the speed boats are not allowed on the water at night. Pandemonium of course, because how will we get back. We were told that they are organising a bus for us and we will be taken to the main port on the island where we will take the ferry back to Padang Bai, Bali and at Padang Bai we will then catch a taxi to get back to our respective areas and accommodation. Well, does not seem that bad. Little did we know.

We got onto the bus and off we went. That was one hell of a ride. The road is not built for a bus. It was all the way down hill and every time we approached a turn the bus had to use both lanes and all it did was toot-toot and then kept on driving. It did not wait to see if there is actually anything around the corner. My shattered nerves.

Eventually, what felt like hours of driving, we made it to the port. Here we were told that we need to go and wait until someone come and fetch us and take us onto the ferry. We were a happy bunch and was not too bothered. We just wanted to get back by whatever means.

We were led to a bus stop waiting area, which is saying a lot, it’s more like an old type concrete pavilion with a shabby tin roof. It had a fridge, which was broken but being used as a stand for a projector showing the soccer world cup against a sheet hung from the roof. It was a hot, humid evening and we were sitting around tables and drinking beer that was being sold right there. Etienne went in search of food and said when he returned from the vendors opposite the road that he was looking at the options and thinking to himself “nope, my wife will not have that, but this chicken can do”. At least you can tell it is chicken! Hahaha.  I had my dinner and as long as my tummy is fed I am happy.

We had a chat with the peeps around us, well Etienne did, I observed. We were there quite a few hours and at last we were led to the ferry. So begun a torturous 4 hours ferry ride back to Bali. Now, this was close to 2am when this ride started. It was quite the ride. The people in Bali are not very large people and I do not mean to say that we are large, but in comparison to them we are giants. Poor Etienne had quite the challenge as we were squashed in these tiny seats. You could see who the foreigners were as we were all seated together

There were this dudes walking around yelling “popme” “popme” and we again had to wonder what the hell is popme? We later found out it is like 2 minute noodles in a cup and it is delicious! I am sad we did not bring more home with us.

If you wanted to you could grab a mattress, which was as thick as a cardboard, and sleep on the floor. We decided against that as we were sure a blue light on those things would bring nightmares to life. HAHA!

After what felt like forever we made it to the Padang Bai port. Here it was another story. The company with the broken speedboat organised taxis to take us back to our respective places but no one could tell us which one we should join. After we explained to the driver and he trying to understand in his best English, we got onto one of the taxis and set off for another hour on the road.

This drive was an experience on its own. When we approach the robots, the taxi driver will just go toot-toot and speed through. Etienne and I said we should bring our taxis to Bali and they will sort them out very quickly. We had to laugh because imagine that!

The taxi driver stopped in the middle of a random place and told us to get out this is our stop. We looked around very confused and told him, no, this is not it. We need to be at Semenyak Square. The more the driver tell us this is it and the more we say it is not he simply opened the boot, took our bags out, placed it in the middle of the road and drove off-with the rest of the passengers looking on. He got quite angry at one point so I told Etienne to let him be.

It was there, tired, frightened in the middle of the street where I lost my composure and started crying. I was fine the whole day because we were in the same situation as all the other people, but now we were alone in a different country where English is not a well spoken language and we have no idea where we are or how we are getting to our hotel.

Almost as if a miracle was sent, a taxi driver passed and saw us. We hailed him and he was kind to take us to our hotel. Upon arriving he wanted to charge us 50USD for a less than 5min drive because the taxi dropped us basically at the back of Semenyak Square. Etienne got really upset and the driver tells us but it is after hours. Etienne threw some money on the seat and told me to get out. I willingly obliged.

We eventually made it to our hotel at 6am the Friday morning, where our adventure started on the Wednesday morning, The staff still wanted to meet and greet but we just rushed part. I heard Etienne saying something to them, but I just wanted to get to our room.

We got to the room and I finished crying. We were suppose to go on a tour with Suka, our guide, but I had to let him know we need to postpone it. Luckily he could take us on the Sunday. We got into the shower and got into bed. We slept like babies until 2pm that afternoon.

The afternoon after we slept everything seemed different and everything was good in the Clarence clang. We spoke about what we actually had gone through and laughed about it. We said this will be quite the story to tell at home!

We went to do some shopping, had a lovely lunch and relax the rest of the day just staying in and around our hotel. Maybe we were a bit frightened to leave the area again – haha. The rest of our stay was quite memorable and we will most certainly like to return one day but approach Bali in a different way. Seek out that quiet places with the open beaches like on Gili.

There are a few things we learned from this experience:

  • Have a map on hand of the area you are staying in
  • Make sure the taxi metre is running when you get into the taxi. Very important.
  • Take the adventure in stride and tell the story
  • If it says 2 star it is 2 star hehe

Have you had any weird, wonderful or scary experiences travelling the world?

Tell me about it in the comments. I would like to hear it!

E xx

Happy Diaversary to Me!

I never use to celebrate my Diaversary because to start with, I did not even know such a thing existed and two I did not know when mine was.

I first heard about A Diaversary a few years back when I became very involved in the Instagram community and then I had to go ask my mom when I was diagnosed.

A Diaversary is the anniversary of the date you were diagnosed as a Diabetic. Diabetic + Anniversary = Diaversary

I did not really understand why one would celebrate the day you were diagnosed as a Diabetic because I believe it is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Especially for someone being diagnosed later in life.

I, on the other hand was diagnosed at the age of 10 months on 3 October 1986. My diagnosis story is for another day, but today I celebrate 35 Years of being a Type 1 Diabetic.

Happy Diaversary to ME!

Why do you celebrate it? (I am sure you are asking this question). Believe me, I had to answer this for myself at the start as well.

Here is why I celebrate.

I do not celebrate being a Diabetic. I celebrate the following:

  • By the Grace of God I made it to another year
  • It is another year that I had no lasting Diabetic complications ( I had a trigger finger, but we caught it well in advance) 
  • It is another year that I kicked the Diabeast ass!
  • I have access to medicine, health care and some bad ass tech (I am looking at YOU Freestyle Libre).
  • I met amazing people along the way.
  • I celebrate life.

Each year I get me something that I can stick a sparkler or candle in, light it, take a picture, get a kiss from my husband and for that moment imagine it is my birthday and I just won the lotto.

This year I am thankful for how technology have changed my Diabetes management. I am thankful for being healthy and strong as a horse (metaphorically speaking, as I can not even hold more than 1 pan in one hand at the moment). I am grateful for the community I became a part of. I am grateful to be alive.

Here’s to being a sterk lekkertjie!


E xx

AMA (Ask Me Anything) Diabetes Event-30/09/21

On 30 September 2021 I was part of one of the coolest things I have done in quite some time.

After I found my tribe earlier this year (read about it here), I asked that if there is an event or somewhere where I can become more involved with the Diabetic community, count me in please.

I was then invited to be part of the AMA about the emotional side of Diabetes Event.

We do not generally talk enough about mental health and even less so for people living with Diabetes or any chronic illness for that matter.

It was an honour to be part of this and it felt awesome to share some of my experience with mental health and anxiety around my Diabetes. It was wonderful to see that people can relate not only with what I am dealing with, but what my peers are dealing with. Well, wonderful in the sense that we can help each other. #thestruggleisreal

A community that comes together can move mountains.

The recording of the event can be found on Facebook or Youtube. It is about an hour with some very valuable information. If you only want to see my face, you can skip ahead in the video – LOL! I would encourage you to take the time and watch it all!

We had Daniel Sher, Clinical Psychologist also living with Type 1 Diabetes join us with some tips and advice. Bridget McNulty was our wonderful host with the team from Treeshake and Abbott. You guys were amazing! Thank you.

Daniel and Kirsten put together some facts around mental health and Diabetes:

If you have any questions or would like to become part of this wonderful community, please drop a comment or visit the Diabetic South Africans Facebook Page and join the tribe today!

E xx

*links not affiliated

Customer Service-The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Warning: Sarcasm will filter through

Recently I celebrated my first 6 years at one company. The first 4 years was almost butterflies and rainbows. I really enjoyed my work and I really like my company. I will always try and assist to the best of my abilities, wherever and whenever I can. Even by working overtime for a whole week at free will (No comment).

I have moved around a lot in the first 3 years. I started as a customer service agent, moved on to an after hour customer service agent, then back to day shift on the amendments team and then to an admin agent for amendments. I started off by taking between 80-100 calls a day. No jokes. This is real statistics. I used to get home and throw my own phone in my room and ignore it. Later I ended up despising a ringing phone. It is so bad, I still do not answer a phone unless I know who is calling. My family and friends know by now to send me an instant message. Do not phone me. The only person that still phones is my husband. I Should talk to him about it. Haha

The last 2 years have been really tough, not only on our industry, but hugely our operational agents.

Covid hit us and our industry very hard. Customers forget that they are working with humans who also have families and are experiencing more stress than the previous 4 years. Apart from the customers travel plans being interrupted and the disappointment that brought along, we have been dealing with much more behind the scenes that they can not see.

It breaks my heart that we sometimes have to listen to the kind of verbal abuse that these customers, who not too long ago sung our praises, throw at us.

The only thing I will say to this is the next time you speak to a customer service agent remember this, you are speaking to a mother, a father, a wife, someone who most likely lost someone to Covid, someone’s child and you do not know the situation of the person on the other side. This goes both ways. Be kind to one another. Everyone have a lot they are dealing with.

All right, this being said. Let’s get to the good, the bad and the ugly.

In the past 6 years I have dealt with very obnoxious, rude, a special kind of stupid, funny, sad and sometimes just normal people.

I thought it good to share some of the funny, sometimes really stupid questions, the rude, poor language and praise we get from our customers.

Phones first

When I answer the phone, or call someone ”Thank you for phoning (company name) this is Elré speaking” and then I get “Oh Hi Elmarie/Audi/Alrie/Alri/Elrise” So, I started articulating my name El(pause)ré. Even though I sound like a Grade 1 teacher doing syllables, it still does not help.

Answering the phone and the customer is going ballistic on the other side about how long they had to hold on and how dire their situation is and when you ask for the reference number you get the reply “Oh wait let me go back into my email and find the reference number quickly” So, what have you been doing the few minutes you had to wait to speak to someone?

Or you tell me you are having issues checking in and when I ask you “Do you see this and this” tell me “Oh let me log into the website first”.

Calls like these make other customers wait longer because you need to look for something. I always think to myself when I am phoning a call centre, be ready because you have a reference and a specific question relating to that reference and the agent is going to request it. Don’t be a dummy.

Contrary to popular believe agents do not want to chit chat. We do not mind if you jump right into the question as this speeds up the call and we can get you sorted and on your way faster. Asking me how I am is not necessary because I can promise you that should I be having a bad day you are the last person that wants to hear about it.

I had a man, quite rich in age, ask me once to please quote him on a flight between Lanseria and OR Tambo. First I was dumbstruck and then I had to inform the poor man that the airlines do not operate that route as the airports are more or less an hour’s drive from each other. Shame. Maybe he was just not feeling the drive from Johannesburg to Krugersdorp.

This passenger requested a bus ticket from Cape Town to Potchefstroom on the My City. Now, the My City only operates in and around Cape Town. She just could not understand why they would not take her to Potchefstroom. It took a lot of explaining and patience.

A client phoned one of my colleagues in the middle of the night to book a Vegan meal for the next day flight. I also once had a call just before midnight for a seat request on a flight that was almost ready for checking in at the airport.

I had a customer call and say: “Oh Hi, where am I flying from? Which airport?” My reaction was, like really? Were you present when you made the booking?

Sometimes I just sit in wonder.

Next, emails.

We receive funny emails, blood boiling emails, emails all in capital letters, one word emails, you name it. I don’t think I have seen it all, but here are a few.

I WANT TO BOOK – in the subject line with no further details –so would you like me to send you to hell? Timbaktu? Iraq? China? Put-sonder-water? Where would you like to go and when?

I had a client reply in response to the ticket email asking “Where is my ticket?” Halloooo, did you read the email and check the email before you responded? I do not think so. It takes a lot of self control to not be sarcastic in this situation.

The client wanted to travel to a different city due to the volcano that erupted in Bali but did not specify so we asked where do you want to go? The response: anywhere is South East Asia. I thought, lady, South East Asia is a big place. Some places you cannot fly to, you must drive or sometimes even walk. It is always advisable to be very specific with your request.

We receive a bunch of date change requests where people do not specify the dates they wish to travel so we need to ask them. So the questions sent was what date do you want to go? The response was 29 Nov or any time before the end of February where I don’t have to pay anything additional. Now let me explain something. We get so many emails like these and doing these quotes take times. We need to check every single day to find the lowest available. You can do a once of week/month view. Try and explain this to someone. This takes another few emails, it is not easier on a telephone line. It is also these customer, most of the time, when you went through every date who comes back and say “Oh, I can not travel on the suggested date”. See why we ask for specific dates/time frames.

On our quotes it says the following after the break down: Total: R0.00 per person per change (additional) Question from the passenger: So, is it (amount) per person? My response in my head, I don’t know-maybe?

We also receive quite a few of the next email. How much is a flight? That’s it, nothing else, no other info. So, can I send you to Timbuki land? We sometimes feel we want to send a quote to a random place on a random date.

Now, this next one had me cracking up. Gosh, I laughed out so loud!

A passenger writes to us: and the reason why we can not travel is because I realised I’m pregnant its a natural cause , something beyond our control, I personally don’t think this is fair. -Really? Were you not present when that happened? We should watch out people. Natural causes are dangerous.

Another funny one.

The passenger requested a refund and as per airline policy it is not much. After he/she was quoted the response came: “Hi there – please go ahead with the refund. At least I can buy a nice steak”. At least he had a sense of humour.

Now on our website you have to complete the name field with your first and second and third or how many names you have, but if you do not have a middle name you leave it blank.

A client sent this in regarding a name change: “Hi I bought a ticket for my daughter, she does not have a middle name so I inserted N/A (Not applicable) Her ticket now shows first name NA surname. Can you please amend and resend the e ticket”

She can thank the stars that the N/A was only showing on our side and not on the airline system. Airlines are very strict these days and most do not allow name changes, corrections maybe, but removing or adding names are most of the time a no-go. Luckily this was fixed quickly, but again, what are people doing behind the screen?

Another idea people have (and we get this a lot) is that you can swap and change between airlines like you do when you buy clothes on Zando or Superbalist. I had a lady so upset at me because she could not understand that we as the agency sell all the different airlines and we cannot swap and change between them. Let me explain this in a simple way. Even though we are 1 agency and we sell different airlines every single airline is managed separately. It is like buying from PnP and wanting to swap it at Checkers. Same principle. The only way to do that (if it’s an airline) is to cancel (with penalties) and book a whole new ticket.

The bad and the ugly.

My colleagues and I have gone through very rude language and personal insults. Let me share a few.

I was called a gas lamp. “Ek het alweer met ‘n gas lamp gepraat” – Could not believe my ears. This was said as I was about to transfer the call because the passenger chose the incorrect option. I wonder who is the Gas lamp now? I am still not 100% sure what she meant by that. Could be that the light is on but it is not very bright, who knows.

I had a call one evening from a guy who was freaking out because his ticket was not issued yet. Never mind that his card did not want to go through for the whole amount. He was hysterical. He phoned the person who was responsible for the flight and while he was talking to her he told her no he is on the other line with this chick and this company is f-ing up his flights. I snapped. I got his attention and I told him that I am no-one’s “chick” and that if he bad mouths my company again I will hang up. All I was trying on my side was to assist him. WOW! He changed instantly. So sweet and “my friend I am so stressed and I am sorry”. All I could do was roll my eyes. Some people. At the end the person who was responsible for the payment begged me to just issue the one ticket and get him off her back and then we laughed together at his unnecessary freak out.

We had this complaint once. You guys are so stupid. How can a flight from Johannesburg to New York only take 4 hours. You people don’t know what you talking about. How is it even possible for one to fly to America in 4 hours. Idiots you are.

This guy forgetting its called Time Zone’s.

In a response to a refund query our agent answered and then received this beautiful response: “don’t waste my time you f*ck refund is refund you mother f*ck”

Another agent responded with Good day, how are you? How may I assist you today? My name is… to which the client responded: “f*ck you”

I was trying to explain to a customer the breakdown of the refund quote. There were 5 people on the booking and the quote is per person-as always. I advised her to get to the total, just take the amount and multiple it by 5. She just did not want to understand this. This is now after she have spoken to numerous people and even one of my colleagues in the refund team.

At one point she uttered the words “you little whore” and I put the phone down. We do not have to take verbal abuse like that. If she swore I would have warned her as we do, but you do not attack me personally because your are being too daft to understand.

My colleague heard the whole conversation and the lady phoned back and told my colleague she does not understand why I put the phone down and my colleague just said “no ma’am, I heard the whole conversation”. That was the end. I do not know or care what happened after.

The Good

We do receive compliments from time to time as well, this is when people takes the time to write them. These days it is much easier to complain than to give credit where credit is due.

These are a few of my favourites.

Dear Elre

You are so wonderful! Thank you and your team so very, very much for your kindness and I’m sorry I didn’t hear your call and again, apologies for my error. I sincerely hope that when a time like this comes in each of your lives you will find people as kind and caring as you have been to us to ease you through it.

Thank you is not a big enough word.

The next one made me cry a bit.

Hello Elrie (hope spelling is correct)

Once again thank you for your help with my disaster on Fri 23rd Feb passenger (Name Surname) that you SOLVED IN SUCH AN AMAZINGLY PROFESSIONAL MANNER

I remember this one very well and this poor lady was so upset and stressed out. I am just happy there was a plan to be made.

I would like to compliment you, Company Name, for helping me get to Ireland for my Mum’s funeral. All my travel plans went wrong at the last minute due to a transit visa glitch. I was at the airport ready to fly and they told me I couldn’t. Stuff of nightmares. I contacted you and spoke to a lovely lady named Elrie (not sure of the spelling.) She calmed me down and made a plan for me in time for me to get on a flight about an hour later. Service of this level, in the circumstances I was in, really made me want to write your name in lights across the sky. A HUGE thank you. Thanks to you, I was able to say goodbye to my Mum.

Then, this has to be my favourite compliment ever received. Just look at this cute cartoon!

I even got a gorgeous ponytail. This is the coolest things ever.

Look, working with people is tiring and you deal with so many personalities in a day. I like solving problems, I like helping people. It takes a lot from me to not swear at some people for being rude. In some situations it is difficult not to let it get to you personally, but as the years gone by I have became a hard ass and I am going to have many more of the above. But let me tell you world, a pinch of salt. Take it with a pinch of salt. This does not mean I do not have bad days, there are plenty, but then you smile and wave and go on.

Tell me in the comments if you ever had funny or terrible things happen to you while working with customers.

E xx

Radisson Red – 3 Year Anniversary

On 16 June 2021 we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. We always try and do something exciting and special for the day.

This year Etienne had a very elaborate plan and a huge surprise for me.

On the Tuesday, 15th of June, we drove out to town to go and collect our painted mug and bowel we did for his birthday. You can read that story h e r e. We took a walk up and down Long Street and we had some coffee at Bootleggers.

Our original plan was to go and have high tea as this is something that both of us have wanted to do for some time. Unfortunately the hotels only offered high tea over weekends. After we had our coffee and on our way out of town, Etienne mentioned that he wanted to go and see what The Silo hotel looked like. He kept saying I had to check for the parking right at the beginning of the Waterfront as this is the closest to The Silo.

We found the parking and off we went to go and check it out.

As we entered he popped into The Raddison Red and I asked him where he was going and he mentioned that he just wanted to take a look around. I was so alarmed. I told him they are not going to let us have a look around, it is Covid. They are hardly going to let us in unless we have a booking.

Totally oblivious I followed him through the door and he went for the check-in counter. In my mind he was asking if we could take a look around. Meanwhile I felt so out of place and one of the staff members approached me and asked if we are staying to which I reply “Nooooo we are only having a look around. We do not have money to stay over”. He was not too bothered, laughed a bit and let me be.

Etienne was taking some time and I went to him at the counter to find out how long he is still going to be. Everybody was so friendly and welcomed us and one of the staff members was busy explaining check in and rules to Etienne and I looked at him in complete puzzlement.  Etienne is busy handing a credit card to the lady and then one was asking if I want Gin or Popcorn. I had no idea what was happening.

After my initial shock and being so overwhelmed with everything happening, realisation hit. We were staying over the night and Etienne is busy checking us in.

I wish I did not have to wear a mask because the smile and amusement on my face was precious. HaHa. Even if I have to say it myself.

I was like a little girl. Totally gobsmacked into silence. I was just smiling and meantime the lady was still waiting for my answer on the pop corn or gin! I took the popcorn.

I could not believe it. Etienne pulled it off without me knowing about anything. I have wanted to go into town for a night and sleep over in a hotel for a birthday or anniversary in 2020 but because of Covid we could not do it. He surprised me this year with a day out in town and accommodation in The Raddison Red. I could not be more excited and happier. I could not stop smiling.

This was apparently a group effort as my sister also had help him with the planning. Earlier this year she organised an epic kidnap for her husband’s bachelors so she had it down.

One of the first things I asked Etienne was, I was in panic mode instantly when I realised we are staying, is what about my insulin. I got into trouble a lot because I do not take it with me and sometimes he wants to stay over and we cannot because I do not have all my insulin with me. He said not to worry. He had clean underwear, a shirt, shower things, insulin, everything packed up in the car. I could not believe it. I was still in awe.

And so our night out in town started with a bang.

We took our overnight bag to our room where we had a little welcome card and some more popcorn and soaked in the view a bit. We then went up to the roof top bar. We had sundowners, a nice cold whiskey on the rocks and Etienne had beer, watched the lights gradually come alight and the sun painting the sky in wonderful colours. Perfect!

I was given a choice whether I wanted to have dinner in the V&A Waterfront or in the hotel room. I chose the latter. We were planning on spending time in the V&A Waterfront the next day. I have always wanted to order room service and never have, even though I have stayed in hotels before, because it is expensive. But this was our anniversary and I was allowed to order anything I wanted. What a treat!

In the hotel’s restaurant they have a small “distillery” where you can mix your own gin. A variety of flavours and a great alternative for the normal wine tasting. The in-house restaurant is also where you order room service from and where you have your breakfast.

We spent the evening in the room, had our dinner and did some channel surfing on the TV. We basically just chilled. It was fantastic!

What was nice about this stay is that you do not have to leave and check out at the break of dawn. We could lie in, have a nice hot shower, have breakfast and then went back to collect our things and freshen up.

We spent the day in the V&A Waterfront, did some shopping for Etienne (I just could not find anything that tickled my fancy) and ended with ice cream and chocolate at the Lindt shop. Delicious!

This was one of those night/days where everything was just perfect. I have wanted to do this for some time and Etienne totally blew me away.

The Raddison Red is a hip hotel in the V&A Waterfront, the décor is very funky and everyone made you feel so welcome. From check-in to check-out and everything in between. The view are nice and if you are on a budget but want a nice experience, do yourself a favour and visit. They have these great Fatsak poofs all over the corridors and they are so comfy!

Thank you Etienne, this was a fantastic experience!

E xx

*links not affiliated

Finding My Tribe – Diabetic Meet Up

I have not been part of a Diabetes community for quite some time. My parents used to take me to meetings and Diabetic camps, but it kind of died in Primary School. This really made me feel so alone.

 I had some pen pals who I exchanged letters with through the years but I lost connection with some and two of my Diabuddies passed away.

This is such a terrible condition.

At the end of 2019 I became part of a community again. First it was on Instagram and then later it moved to wattsapp and Facebook and then in April this year it was real life.

I was so excited for this day to come. I could not wait to meet real, actual people just like me with a normal day-to-day life but who happens to have Diabetes as well.

10 April 2021 we met up in The Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town and we just instantly became friends. What a brilliant day it was.

We did the normal introductions, where you from, what you do for a living and so forth. We shared some Diabetes stories and kind of exchanged notes in terms of what do you inject for this, or no my bg (blood glucose) levels do not like that, and yes I have experienced that.

It almost looked like we are having a tribal council meeting .

What made this even more great was the fact that non-Diabetic friends and loved ones join. This was so good to have Etienne next to me as this is still a learning process for him as well. He got to chat with other non-Diabetic partners who had advice and tips and stories of their own.

I found my people,  my tribe. I felt like I belong and that I am part of something bigger. This meet up just opened doors for me and I got to chat to so many people from different walks of life who not only understands but knows what I am saying and referring to. I cannot explain what this means to someone with a chronic condition.

We as people were not created to be alone. We were created to be more than just 1 and support one another.

I am very thankful for this community and so happy to be a part of a tribe. I look forward to many more tribal council meetings to come! (Hehe)

E xx

Klipkrans-Where the silence makes a noise

Fishing to me has always seemed so pointless. I could never imagine just sitting there waiting for a bite, then reeling it in just to let it go. I did not get it.

In March this year we went to Klipkrans, situated between Worcestor and Villiersdorp. We just needed a break. 2020 was shit and we were emotionally drained.

This week was one of the best in a long time.

Etienne wanted to fish and I just wanted to rest and read.

We arrived on the Monday early afternoon and while setting up camp I dropped one of the table legs on my foot. It was super painful. I do not know what I was thinking, but trying to screw in the leg and using the wrong side resulted in a worm forming on my foot. I was man down for a few minutes rubbing is on it. Yoh, painful I tell you.

Not long after our camp was set up, the lines were in the water and a camp fire on the go. I asked Etienne if I can throw a line and sinker for a bit. He showed me how and then I just started throwing the line and sinker into the river and reeling it in. I had quite some fun. Even if I have to say it myself, I did well for a rookie. Etienne agreed.

On Tuesday I did something I never thought I’d do. I asked Etienne if he will add some bait to one of our rods and I wanted to launch it. The first throw was disastrous! It fell almost just before my feet and the bait left the cage. Take 2 then.

In the line went and then the wait started. I was not anxious but I was very excited. It was not long after when my first even fish was caught. According to Etienne it was perfect because it was the right size to use as bait again. I felt so very proud. Our neighbours wanted me to kiss the fish, something about tradition. I was like, nope. There is no way I’m doing that. Etienne then said now I have to bait my rod on my own.

After this excitement  Etienne had to go to the bathroom and he left me with his rods and mine in the water. I was so alarmed. I told him you cannot leave me alone what if a fish bites?! He was very chilled and just told me that if the fish should bite, just reel it in. Easy, right?

I thought to myself no it won’t happen that fast and he will be back in no time. Pfft, this was not the case.

Not long after he left, a fish did bite and not a small one. I yelled in excitement and I think a bit in fright as well. Our neighbours thought something bad happened. I started reeling in but this one was giving up quite a fight. After struggling a bit I was just thinking that I have to get this one out. Etienne is going to be so mad if I let this one go. At one point the rod was almost bent in half! I got the fishy out onto the sand bank, but as I was trying to reel it in more and the rod arching like it is going to snap, the hook came loose and went straight into the tree branch above my head. It got entangled instantly.

At last the neighbour aunty came to try and help but she just made it worse, by accident. The Line snapped at that point and everything got left behind on the branch.

Etienne arrived and I felt so bad! I lost his fishy. I explained to him what happened and the tannie told him it was her fault, he just laughed at me, but also taught me what to do and said that this is the reason there is a fishing net. I told him I am a rookie and I only 2 hands and I looked like an octopus who got tied up in knots trying to reel out the fish.

After this it was smooth sailing. I caught another 2 fish and it was the most relaxing time. I now understand why fishing is such a popular sport. This will most certainly become a regular activity for the both of us.

We really enjoyed this camp site. Except for fishing you have some hiking trails as well as 4×4 trails. You can also hire a canoe and paddle up and down the Breede river. You are able to view Oryx, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Springbuck, Duiker, Steenbok and the very exclusive Klipspringer as part of the game in the park. This is a Private Game Farm and Campsite.

They have some ready tents you can hire as well as well as two lapa’s.

There is wifi at certain spots (closest to the bathroom) for texting purposes, but at the site where we were it does not connect and we loved this. It allows you to cut off from the outside world.

They provide an honesty kiosk with extra wood, ice and other basic necessities you might have forgotten.

Be warned, the wind can be a bit of a pain. The Friday morning when we left it started and it was kind of angry, but as for the rest of the week we had lovely weather.

Another warning, please make sure you have enough repellent for mosquitoes and midges. I was attacked and came off with a bad allergy. It itches like crazy and the urge to scratch is super powerful. Keep your tents closed and lights off, only switch it on when you are inside and locked up. You will thank me later.

On how to find and book a spot, please visit their website H E R E

We will most certainly go back and if you are looking for an escape from the buzz in town, Klipkrans should be a first choice.

E xx

*links not affiliated

Clay Cafe In The City

I came across this restaurant on Instagram. Everybody was visiting and raving about the experience. I was intrigued.

It is called Clay Cafe in The City.

The main restaurant is in Houtbay, but they have a flagship one right in town.

I sent the link to Etienne and told him that this will be a great idea for my birthday later this year. Before I know what was happening we were booking a seat  for his  birthday! I had such a laugh. Etienne was so impressed by the idea of this restaurant that he wanted to do it for his birthday.

The idea is that while you have something to eat that you paint as well. The premise is that at least 80% of the party should paint something.

When booking you can add special requests and I thought it a good idea to ask for something special for Etienne and I was most satisfied with the special request.

When we arrived we were first led to our table. They had a sign to wish Etienne happy birthday and he was surprised, this put a smile on his face. Mission accomplished. He felt very special.

We were then taken back down stairs to choose our weapons. No, not really. We were explained how it works, the different effects you can create with the paint and tools. We were left to choose the product we want to paint as well as our paint colours and tools.  

Back at the table we had a lot of fun. Trying and failing, then trying again and then laughing because we do not know what we are doing, but we pretend that we got this.

We had a lovely lunch. It was so, so yummy! And the coffee was goood!

At the end Etienne received another surprise. They gave him two chocolate brownies to take home and celebrate his birthday. Let me tell you, those were delicious!

Our waitress was fantastic. She made us feel like the only people there.

You have 3 hours to spent here and it sounds like a long time, but flies while you are having fun munching and painting. Etienne described it as therapeutic, which it certainly is.

If you want to do something fun, relaxing , with delicious food and a great atmosphere, I can most definitely recommend Clay Cafe in the City.

We picked up our products about 4 weeks after and it did not disappoint.

Visit  their website H E R E

E xx