Thank you for all the wonderful times when it was just you and I.
You, sitting so deliciously on the plate beside the rice.
I, eagerly inhaling your rich sweet smell of barbecue,
And oven roasted.
You happily satisfied my taste and tongue.
There will be none like you in this life.
We bid farewell to a bond since childhood.
A dear friend you have been.
A lasting memory you will become.
There will be others who welcome you with open arms and hearts.
We must break off at this crossroad where the grass is greener where I’m heading.
An old love
I am becoming a vegetarian.
You’re probably thinking: Again? That makes no sense.
This is me we’re talking about so I tend to try out things and explore my options. During college, I spent two years as a vegetarian and I really liked the lifestyle. It was incredibly difficult the first few weeks only because I grew up in a culture that consumes meat like there is no tomorrow. I’m Hmong and every time there is a traditional ceremony/ritual, there’s an animal sacrifice involve (chicken, cow, or pig). It’s hard not to attend an event that has vegetarian options; perhaps the only dish untouched by meat is the rice. As you can see, my whole entire life is a series of meat dishes. It’s part of my diet, my culture, my family, and my community.
Let me explain how I came to be a vegetarian. I was sitting in biology class when my professor started explaining that the consumption of vegetables/greens provided people with more energy than meat. Also, livestock contributes the pollution of Earth. I was enthralled by those observations and in that moment, I decided I would stop eating meat. It was completely random and decisive.
No one I knew was a vegetarian so the idea that I was becoming one was outrageous to my friends and family. They couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it (but I was sure excited)! At parties, potluck, dinners, picnics, and outings with my friends, I had to bring my own food because it always slipped their mind that I was a vegetarian. Even after weeks, months, and years; they still kept forgetting I didn’t eat meat anymore. I learned to adapt to the situation and I enjoyed the healthy effects of vegetarianism. I felt lighter and more energetic! I no longer got tired easily and I felt more motivated to do more active things. Vegetarianism made me more involve in cooking healthy foods, choosing organic greens, and consuming less fat.
Every plan needs a goal. The goal of my vegetarian diet was to last two years. I needed to be feasible and encouraging. Too often I tell myself something and then fall short of the goal if it involves indefinitely or forever. Hence, two years was a good amount of time to experiment with a vegetarian lifestyle. Besides, purchasing fresh produce is kind of pricey (and I was a college student so I didn’t exactly have the time or money) so I told myself that in a few years when I started pursuing a career (enabling financial stability), I could revert back to vegetarianism.
It’s been two years since my two-year vegetarian episode happened. Even after I started eating meat again, I don’t consume was much as I did prior to being a vegetarian. Part of me misses the vegetarian lifestyle and I think it’s time I officially commit to it for the entirety of my life. It’s a huge deal since my family/friends will have to learn to adapt to me again. Plus that means I have to accept that all I’ll be eating at those Hmong traditional ceremonies is rice with water again. Fine by me.