I've shared my vegan story a few times over the years in discussion boards or with people who know me well, but I think it's especially important that I share it here.
As a child, I always had a fondness for animals. We used to make trips to Guatemala every few summers to visit relatives. I remember going to my aunt and uncle's house where they basically had a small farm. My cousin had a baby chick that they called Piolín. I adored that baby bird. I played with him every chance I got that summer. I was deeply disturbed when I heard sometime later that Piolín had eventually become their dinner.Though I don't recall changing my eating habits, I remember feeling really sad about Piolín and angry toward these particular relatives. They found the whole situation amusing, which horrified me even more.
My family has always loved eating, and my parents were usually pretty open to different types of cuisine. They went to a Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant and loved the food. It was pretty far from where we lived, but they started taking us there occasionally. It was always a pleasant experience. I loved the food and really enjoyed visiting the temple with the aromas of incense and the soothing chants. I was a little scared that they would try to recruit me into their fold, but I sometimes would take some literature. I would skim it, and then it would go on the bookshelf.