So on Sunday, guess what they served at dinner? Yeap – Reindeer!! Now I know I come from a culture where we eat frogs, snakes and bats, but they never have Christmas songs related to them! Seeing that yellow sticky note next to the gigantic vat of meat was enough to make me quite satisfied with my desicion to go vegetarian. I could just imagine a red-nosed reindeer somewhere out in the Norwegian woods, deciding innocently one day to wander out for some food, unknowingly trotting right into the path of the ferocious RCN-kantina hunter, and realising in his last moments of red-nosedness that he was soon to be gouged up by some hungry teenagers. I can almost see the tears the poor reindeer cried in the dish.
In any case, I think that traumatic experience of imagination gone wild at dinner made me quite determined to pursue on with my endeavor. I am still doing well, yesterday I had potatoes and brocolli, and today’s menu is veggie sausages, which I have yet to taste!
Interestingly, I told my mother about this challenge and the first thing she did was joke about it. Understandably, I definitely am not the type of person who goes vegetarian or vegan like, ever. I took up this challenge because it was something I’ve never done or even thought about doing before, and that’s also a kind of testiment to why I applied to UWC. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience life from another perspective. Back home, everyone is very content in our little bubble of a town. Everyone pretty much knows everyone, everyone goes to the same places to eat, same places to shop, same school, and everyone has similar ideas. This strong sense of community makes it very hard for people to break out of it, or accept something that is different. For example, I was in a cafe back home one day, and this European backpacker walked in. He looked at the menu and ordered something like a waffle. He then proceeded to tell the waitress that he was vegan. The waitress had not heard of veganism before and she asked him what that meant. The dude explained that he did not want butter, milk, eggs or meat. The girl looked at him, blinking, and said, “well if you don’t want all that, how about I just give you an empty plate?”. The backpacker just laughed and said nevermind. He ended up having tea.
My point here is, it’s hard to break out of social norms, or generally be different from the people around you. Taking this challenge, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are supportive and encouraging. If I were to have taken it up back home, I would have struggled a lot more because of the sheer difficulty to find vegetarian food, much less vegan food. The stigma surrounding such “hippie” behaviour is so strong that a lot of people are discouraged from doing things like this. I’m looking forward to the end of this challenge and finding out whether I will continue to be vegetarian/vegan and if I do, how I plan on carrying it out back home.
So, it has been an interesting few days, and I will try and write again tomorrow!! See you then!