Lara’s Christmas among Meat Eaters (1)

Lara was desperate. She felt as if her harmonious world, which had been so sheltered up until then, would collapse from one day to the next. No, actually within a few hours. And this world was her family, in which she had always felt safe and secure, her parents and her two brothers. But now this safety and security seemed to have shattered into a thousand shards, on which she had quite severely cut herself. And it was Christmas Eve that she had been looking forward to so much.

Lara remembered that the year before Christmas had been as idyllic as she had been used to since childhood. No, she wasn’t a child anymore, at 19, but life had been kind to her until now. She had passed school with flying colors, was part of a stable circle of friends and felt lovingly cared for. Even her big brothers were always there for her. But she had felt that she needed space if she really wanted to grow up. That’s why she announced after high school that she wanted to study mathematics and physics. That in itself would not have been a surprise, because after all she had a special affinity for the natural sciences, in which her father in particular had always actively supported her. „That’s very good,“ he had commented on her choice of subjects, „then you will study with me.“ „No, I have to disappoint you,“ Lara had said, „I would like to go to Graz and not stay in Vienna.” She had felt that her father had felt alienated, as if she had wanted to flee from him. That’s why she had explained her motives to him exactly and in the end, he had apparently accepted her. She had started her studies in Graz in a good mood and dutifully drove home for Christmas. Since Lara had never been away from her family for so long, she was particularly looking forward to it. Her mother had spoiled her even more than usual. „You know, Lara,“ she confessed in a quiet minute, „your brothers have been out of the house for a long time. You were my baby and now that you’ve moved out too, everything feels so empty. But that’s the way it is. I think it’s good when you go your own way, the way you think is right.” A few days later, Lara drove back to Graz with this good feeling. The holidays weren’t over yet, but she had a lot to do. So, she wanted to use this time to study. One afternoon, when her head was already spinning from all that studying, she decided to take a walk through the city center. She came across a VGT rally. „Association against animal factories,“ she had read, „Vegan for the animals“ was written on another banner. She hadn’t given it much thought until now. Of course, she was aware that there was misconduct in animal husbandry, but she hadn’t really informed herself before. That’s why she decided without further ado to fill this knowledge gap. Without further ado she went to the stand and had everyone tell her everything. An hour and a half later she had made up her mind that she had to become vegan because she no longer wanted to be part of this exploitative, life-hating system. A fairly far-reaching change, but it had received strong support from the activists of the VGT from the start. That was also the reason why she didn’t just stop at becoming vegan, but also became active, had practically changed places, so that she in turn passed on information and did awareness work. A week later she told her parents about the changes in her life. Her mother had been understanding from the start, but her father had just said, „It’ll grow out. She certainly can’t hold out for long with such nonsense.” Contrary to this prophecy, she not only held out, her certainty of doing the right thing had strengthened more and more every day. Of course, she had experienced some resistance, but it hadn’t bothered her too much because she was convinced that these were people who just didn’t know any better. She hadn’t gone home during that year, partly because she had worked in a vegan cafe in Graz during the summer, but probably also because she had fallen madly in love. So, her next visit to her parents‘ house had been at Christmas, that most terrible of all Christmases.

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