11 Nosy Questions with Your New Favorite T1D Couple
Somewhere in the middle of Summer 2017’s Bike Beyond cross-country cycling trip, riders Amanda Oberski and Matt Swain found themselves falling in love. Now, they’re living together in Toronto and beginning to build their post-ride life together. When we first realized these two amazing T1Ds were *an item* we were giddy. We finally had an opportunity to ask them a bunch of super personal questions about falling in love during Beyond Type 1’s cross-country cycling trip. We asked that they submit responses without comparing or discussing their answers.
World, meet your new favorite T1D celebrity couple.
Question 1: Tell us about the first time you met.
Amanda: Pretty sure it was the first day of Bike Beyond, immediately after showing up to the basement room of unpacking boxes and building bikes. I had just arrived and was going back and forth to move my things down to the room (seriously, there’s got to be some behind-the-scenes footage of this room. It was buzzing with excitement and nerves and also cardboard and garbage) and Matt jumped in the elevator with me. I forget what we said to each other. I remember thinking, “!!! he’s cute!” but at the time I was mostly stirring with excitement from meeting everyone and the adventure ahead. Just laughing and smiling and beaming with the start of Bike Beyond.
Matt: We were in the hotel in Brooklyn during our team orientation day and we got in the elevator together. I think I was nervous, but Amanda seemed so laid back and asked me how I thought the team was getting along so far.
Q2: What’s the best thing about having a partner who also has Type 1 diabetes?
M: She knows exactly what I’m talking about and feeling when I tell her about my diabetes. We approach our T1D very differently, but it feels really intimate and safe to have her by my side in frustrating diabetes moments, and for the good times too!
A: I never wanted to date someone with diabetes. It’s such an all-consuming part of my life, I figured it’d be harder to have another person and another Type 1 involved. But I was wrong! It is so easy. Not only are practical things easier – like sharing supplies or meal-planning together or always having juice-boxes handy – but intimate, real things are easier, too. Like seeing each other and fully understanding how the other person is feeling or what the other person needs. Sure, there are still challenges – Type 1 is Type 1! – but now I have a partner to help solve them. They’re “our” challenges, not just mine.
Q3: When did you first realize you were *romantically* interested in the other person?
A: Day 2 of Bike Beyond. Matt and I were in a ride group together and he lead the team the whole way. I wasn’t confident on a bike – I was a new rider and excited but scared more than anything. Matt took care of the entire ride group that day, not just me. The beginning of Bike Beyond was challenging – the team hadn’t yet perfected what we were doing (or where we were going!) and every day was different. It was only Day 2 and he was calm and strong and looked after our whole team. He was a great leader: he paced us well and checked behind him for the group, watched for cars, stopped for team lows, made sure we all made it. I immediately realized I could trust him, that I wanted to trust him.
M: Funny enough, our teammates seemed to notice our chemistry and how I looked at Amanda differently before I even understood what was going on. We rode together A LOT in the first few weeks and formed a pretty strong bond then, and obviously it has continued to grow – even to this day.
Q4: What was it like revealing to your teammates that you two were more than just friends?
A: Well … At a certain point in the ride we discussed and decided that “we” didn’t want to be a secret, but also didn’t want to be a distraction for the team or the team’s mission and goals. Bike Beyond was really important for all of us – both personally and as a global initiative. Just like the team, Matt and I cared about the journey immensely. Then we got to Moab and had a rest day and everyone, uh, heard our relationship. They were amazing. So supportive and happy.
M: The team was awesome about everything. Since they already assumed something was going on, they were just really happy when we told them. Obviously they teased us a bit, but mostly they just wanted to know more about our plans for the future (post-Bike Beyond).
Q5: What’s your favorite thing about your partner?
M: I think you mean *favourite. Her curiosity and adventurous spirit is an amazing thing about Amanda. Even really early in the summer I can remember her using the phrase “yes is always the most interesting answer,” which is an amazing mentality to have and makes me excited for everything to come.
A: So many things! Matt makes us dinner every night. He is calm while I am zany. He is thoughtful and helpful and kind. He’s strong (really strong) and smart. He dances around while brushing his teeth and knows all the words to “Good King Wenceslas.” He is willing to go along with my crazy ideas (sometimes after thorough convincing) AND he loves Apollo. I feel so thankful and happy every day.
Q6: Are you still riding bikes together?
M: Our Specialized bikes don’t have snow tires, so not right now. We do go to the gym together though, and started doing Hot Yoga recently – both to warm up, and to stay active until cycling season is back.
A: It’s cold in Toronto! But absolutely – planning lots of adventures.
Q7: Share one silly T1D-related story!
A: One night toward the end of Bike Beyond, we decided we wanted to track each other’s blood sugars on our own phones (BIG RELATIONSHIP STEP). Dexcom has a share function, but we have international phones and apps (Matt’s is Canadian and mine is American) so it wouldn’t work. There was over a week left of riding and we really wanted to figure it out. Eventually we found a CGM display app called “Sugarmate” that’s meant to display your BGs using your CGM. Matt ended up emailing Sugarmate and asking if we could use their app to display each other’s blood sugars instead. They thought it was a great idea and rewrote their code for us to do it! We still use Sugarmate to see each other’s numbers.
*Matt said the same thing – so cute!*
Q8: You cycled across America, fell in love, and moved in together in Toronto. What’s next?
M: Next step is figuring out more logistics; immigration/work Visa, picking our next adventure(s), and deciding how many more dogs we should get 😉
A: Handling immigration.
Q9: What celebrity couple is #relationshipgoals ?
M: Amanda would probably say the Obamas, but not sure if they count as celebrities.
A: Are we not celebrities?
Q10: We know there’s also a pug named Apollo in the picture. What does he think of all this?
A: Apollo LOOOOOVES Matt. It’s so beautiful and makes my heart swell with how quickly Apollo has adopted Matt as “part of the pack.” Matt’s favorite is when Apollo snuggles against him at night.
M: I know how important Apollo is to Amanda, and I was actually really nervous to meet him (what if he hated me?!). Luckily, we get along really well and it makes Amanda so happy to see us hanging out. Apollo also alerts Amanda of her low blood sugars, which is incredible and makes me appreciate him even more. Once or twice we THINK he’s alerted me too, but he might’ve just wanted his belly rubbed.
Q11: What’s one thing you’ve learned in the past year that you want to share with the Type 1 community?
M: Say yes to things, go on adventures, and embrace your T1D but never hide it. You never know what you’ll learn or what connections you’ll make if you really try to make the most of your experiences and interactions. Oh and if she has an octopus tattoo on her arm, she might be the one.
A: Diabetes is better with community. Beyond Type 1 is an amazing place to find and build that community, and my life is a million times better from BT1, from Bike Beyond, and – of course – from Matt.