Well, I just became vegan this year. I’ve been a meat eater for all my life. I was born in Misawa, Japan in the summer of ’89. My brother was born a few years earlier in Alexandria, Louisiana. My parents met in the military, and after she miscarried, she was evaluated and then discharged so she could have my brother. From Japan we moved to California, then Mississippi, then South Carolina, then to Aviano Air Force Base in Italy- near the northern tip of the country. We moved there at the time of Dessert Storm and the Kosovo War- so American’s weren’t very popular, haha. In Italy, I published my first poem in a foreign publication called Pencil Shavings. When my one grandmother got sick (dementia), we moved to Hicksville, Ohio. My father retired from the Air Force at that time as a master sergeant, and moved to Saginaw, Michigan to live with HIS mother and go to school. After a year of high school in Ohio, my brother was sent up to live with him. We spent the next few years apart, until my grandmother passed of pancreatic cancer, and we joined them in Michigan. My senior year, we moved to Madison, Wisconsin- where I got into the Chinese Language program with the school. That spring break, we all went to China to volunteer with the pandas. We worked at the Wolong Panda Reserve (some people have said that it’s not there anymore, destroyed in the Earthquake?). This was the first time I had ever volunteered with animals, and it was wonderful. I didn’t even mind cleaning their cages (panda poop doesn’t smell, it looks like a small pile of wood chips). We also crushed up vitamins to put in their bread supplements, carried and carted the bamboo, etc. I lost 15 lbs on the trip (eating my parents’ diet had me obese) from all the exercise, and was introduced to more vegetables than my parents had ever let me seen.
At 18, I moved from my parents to go live back in Saginaw Michigan. There I started off as a Graphic Arts major, then switched to Computer Science, and now I am attending school as a Dietitian (in Oklahoma). In Michigan, we did some more work with animals such as capturing and neutering/spaying feral cats and re-releasing them. With the economy plummeting in Saginaw (the murder capital of the world, really), I decided to move closer to my parents and to find work. They had moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I joined them there. Again, I got to do work with animals, this time with alligators at a gator farm, helping guide the boat tours near Cyprus Flats. There was too much crime in Baton Rouge, too however- and after one of my friends got robbed at gun point, I decided to try a new move. My father was moving to Oklahoma on business, so I caught a ride with him (my mother and brother stayed in Louisiana) and began working there with the Humane Society and finishing up school.
As of 2011, in Oklahoma, I lost 55 lbs, and had severely restricted meat. I no longer ate fast food, and decided I would try and start a change in my diet to something healthier and more humane. For New Year’s bringing in 2012, I made a resolution to become pescetarian. Throughout the month of January, my diet quickly evolved as I networked with other vegans (you guys !!) and rapidly turned vegan.
Now I’m just volunteering, I have an interview with the Peace Corps for a position in China (as I speak Mandarin), and am helping with the Society doing clinic hours and also their adoption outreaches. As a vegan, I’ve never felt healthier- I’ve dealt with insomnia my entire life, as well as depression- and since making the change, I feel happy, energetic, and get a full night’s rest every night.