PDA

View Full Version : How a Dutch girl in Taiwan became a dedicated vegan



Taaitaai
06-20-2008, 05:38 PM
In the Netherlands, a tiny country in Western Europe, dairy is an intrinsic part of the national culture - just like dressing up in orange for a football match, speaking too loud, being a tat too tall and considering marihuana to be like tobacco. So even when I became a vegetarian at fourteen, I never considered veganism. Quitting Gouda cheese, milk and eggs was like getting rid of my Dutch passport. How would I get round?

Like Macbeth in the famous work by Shakespeare, I encountered three witches who revealed my 'imperfection' as a vegetarian and who gave me a hint of the Vegan Things To Come.

I fell in love with witch number one, my very first girlfriend who I met when I was eighteen. Sam made me breakfasts of soy milk, corn-flakes and banana until, inevitably, we broke up. To keep the memories of her fresh, I drank soy milk - not so yummy those days, I might add to illustrate how romantic I was. Sam introduced me to veganism.

The second witch was my brother, who turned vegan in his twenties. He never explained why - to nobody - and he still never has to, presenting his choice as a fact. I cooked him dinners and discovered I could make my favorite dishes by replacing one or two ingredients with vegan alternatives. Veganism became something ordinary.

I met witch number three in 2005 when I worked in Taiwan (Asia). Paula is the kind of person you'd ask for the reasons for veganism and whose answer would make you feel like an ignorant brat. With Paula I rescued numerous stray animals, raising funds to neuter them, providing them with medication and finding them a proper home. Not an easy job in that part of the world, there were some tough moments with 9 dogs and 21 kittens in one apartment, but with Paula by my side it felt like the proper thing to do. Due to Paula, veganism began to seem the logical consequence of caring about animals, people and the planet as a whole.

None of these witches tried to convince me to become a vegan. They just set an example that waited for the right moment to inspire me. That moment came just before I left Taiwan. I was haunted by the images of animal cruelty I had seen on the island and decided I didn't want to have any part in animal suffering anymore. Sure, there are many other good reasons to become a vegan - but for me, ultimately, the horrors of animal cruelty turned me vegan. Like my witches I hope to set an example to others and charm them into veganism. If a Dutch can, anyone can.

Taaitaai
(A rather tough Dutch cookie and the name of the first cat I rescued in Taiwan; and that I took back to Europe)

KaliMama
06-20-2008, 05:46 PM
Welcome, Taaitaai! Awesome story! :laugh: :heart:

VegeTexan
06-20-2008, 06:13 PM
Welcome to VRF, Taaitaai.

vegematic
06-20-2008, 07:50 PM
Welcome, Taaitaai! I found your story really interesting.

-vegematic

Dugan
06-20-2008, 08:22 PM
Welcome! What great role models you had. How is Taaitaai pronounced?

lamb
06-20-2008, 09:07 PM
welcome Taaitaai, i loved your story!

Emiloid
06-21-2008, 01:40 AM
I enjoyed your story, Taaitaai. Now that you're vegan too, I wonder if your brother might be willing to share why he is vegan? Then again, maybe it was just something he had to do...? Anyway, it's nice to meet you. :)

chikara_no_tori
06-21-2008, 07:12 AM
welcome, TaaiTaai, to VRF! :)

Taaitaai
06-21-2008, 08:56 AM
Thanks for your kind replies! I now live in France and though everybody is okay about my diet, I miss a vegan community. Vegan represent is just what I was looking for! :happy:


Now that you're vegan too, I wonder if your brother might be willing to share why he is vegan?

Emiloid, I think my brother is a vegan for spiritual reasons. I don't share his beliefs but they seem to work out well for the animals :).

Dugan, Taaitaai is pronounced like 'sigh sigh' but then with a T, so something like 'tigh tigh'. There's another Dutch word for your vocabulary!

Dugan
06-21-2008, 09:09 AM
Another? Iit's the first Dutch word I know that I know is a Dutch word. Thanks!

sitting_vegan
06-21-2008, 10:32 AM
Great story, welcome!

vegematic
06-21-2008, 11:17 AM
Taaitaai is pronounced like 'sigh sigh' but then with a T, so something like 'tigh tigh'. There's another Dutch word for your vocabulary!

Yay I was pronouncing it correctly! So, it's a word? What does it mean?

-vegematic

tin can
06-21-2008, 07:00 PM
Hi Taaitaai, nice intro. Whereabouts in France? I'm just over in UK (London).

Taaitaai
06-22-2008, 04:41 AM
Hi Taaitaai, nice intro. Whereabouts in France? I'm just over in UK (London).

Hey Tin can, I live in Anduze, just north of Montpellier in the southeast of France. London! No problem finding treats, restaurants and fellow vegans there I guess... I envy you! At the end of the year I hope to visit London and I plan to bring back lots of food.

tin can
06-22-2008, 07:04 AM
No no, it is I who envy you! All that lovely weather, and the beatufiul conuntryside, and sea and mountains not too far away.... London's ok, got a few decent vegetarian restaurants, and maybe one really good one. The only other vegans I know are my parnter and her sister, though. Let me know when (if) you come over, we'll have to meet up for a meal or something. :)

Taaitaai
06-22-2008, 02:13 PM
Thanks tin can I will let you know when I'll be in London :). Yes it's absolutely lovely here in the south of France and I consider myself extremely lucky to live here. Coming here is like going back in time. People still have time for a chat, only a few villagers have internet, the postman is highly regarded and there's no fast food restaurant. But with regard to meat and animal treatment, people are still very traditional. And I'm not even talking about foie gras (the liver of a duck or goose that is specially fattened by force-feeding) and frogs. Cats are not regarded as serious pets (I've been wondering who your avatar is :)). They are abandoned or left to roam the village unneutered. There's dozens and dozens of kittens now, some extremely sick, literally dying in the gutter and no-one gives a rat's ass. Together with two French ladies (who moved here from bigger towns) my partner have desexed about 14 cats and have taken up 6 kittens. But we can only do so much. When we appealed to the municipality for help and advice we were actually reprimanded for not being a proper foundation... they'd rather wait until the stray cat population is big enough to be rounded up and killed. This is something that I wouldn't have expected in a civilized country like France. And we struggle with finding a balance between helping all the cats and... living a decent life with enough attention for our 3 dogs and 5 cats.

*sigh*

Sorry got a bit carried away there :silly:. Anyway when I watch BBC 4 and see all the nature documentaries and animal rescue programs and Springwatch, I start to believe there's a different mentality in Britain in these matters.

tin can
06-22-2008, 03:58 PM
Aw thanks, that's Tim, who is getting on a bit nowadays, at 15. I don't see nearly enough of him now (my family got him when I was 13, and I don't go home that often now), but he is the most shy but affectionate cat ever. :smitten:

I had heard that France is still difficult for vegetarians, let alone vegans, though I haven't been there for years (must go on a trip soon!). Though there is the 'Veggie Pride' thing in Paris every year now I think, so maybe a sign of things loosening up? That's news to me about the cats though, and awful to hear about. I know what you mean about the difficulty in striking a balance in living your own life and helping animals.

emzy1985
06-24-2008, 12:39 AM
Tin Can - You are joking right? I know like 70 vegans from London:) Lotsa lovely vegan places to eat and lotsa social things I.E the vegan festival in Kennsington.

Hey Taaitaai if you do come over, come over for the vegan festival in September. It will rock your world!!! France also has it's fair share of vegans too. I know a couple from other forums! :happy:

Btw - Your storey was really interesting and congratulations on becomming vegan!

Taaitaai
06-24-2008, 02:08 PM
Hey Taaitaai if you do come over, come over for the vegan festival in September. It will rock your world!!!

Vegan? Festival? Vegan Festival?????!!!!!!! AWESOME :cartwheel:
Is that in Luton?

Taaitaai
06-24-2008, 02:13 PM
Is that in Luton?

Ohnononono I found it, the one in London... the pics of last year look great!! :happy:

emzy1985
06-25-2008, 03:36 PM
Yes it is great! Take money though because you will want to buy/eat everything! I was like a kid in a candy store! :D

tin can
06-25-2008, 04:08 PM
Tin Can - You are joking right? I know like 70 vegans from London:) Lotsa lovely vegan places to eat and lotsa social things I.E the vegan festival in Kennsington.
Haha, no I realise there are quite a few vegans in London, I just don't happen to know most of them! Although I realised I lied, I do know some vegans that I see occasionally.

Haven't made it to the Kensington vegan festival for the last couple of years...will see what I can do about this year....

emzy1985
06-25-2008, 04:14 PM
Haha, no I realise there are quite a few vegans in London, I just don't happen to know most of them! Although I realised I lied, I do know some vegans that I see occasionally.

Haven't made it to the Kensington vegan festival for the last couple of years...will see what I can do about this year....

You better! :)

LesMiserablesLove
06-25-2008, 05:38 PM
Your story was really cool. Welcome to VRF.