Right now, my opinion of Israel is pretty low, even by my standards. I have been watching the news on the Israeli response to the Bush "Road Map." The good news: Sharon is offering lip service to it. The bad news: nothing but lip service is being offered. But Sharon, for all his faults, is at least understandable. He knows when he's talking shit, and he's been talking shit today. Today's act of tactical assholery: "Speaking to Likud's Central Committee, Sharon said no peace plan with Palestinians was possible unless they ended "terror" first."
Now, remind me, exactly how many troops does the Palestinian army have? Oh yeah, none whatsoever.
I have never - at least as far as I can recall - put forward a policy on e-mail here at Pedantry, but since I'm going to respond to an e-mail I received today, I guess I should start with one. I'm not going to go with the conventional disclaimer, which usually reads something like "I'm going to feel free to do what I want with your e-mail unless you ask me not to." Instead, let me try this - I promise not to be a jerk and post your name, e-mail address, personal details, whatever, unless I think you've been awful and really deserve it. I may, however, choose to answer questions by posting on my blog and may quote your e-mail briefly in doing so, but I will try not to disclose your identity thereby. In short, you have to trust me a little if you send me e-mail, I will endeavour to act in a manner worthy of trust.
The e-mail I got today compliments me on my blog and flattery is the fastest way to my heart, so let me first express my appreciation to its author. My already quite monstrous ego thanks you.
My correspondent appears to be an American woman who would "love to read more about your lifestyle in Belgium and how you came to the decision to leave California. I've been reading through your archives and have found your post from February 11, when you mentioned that it was not a political protest, but something more personal." She is herself contemplating a move abroad and mentions France and Quebec and asks how I came to be specifically in Belgium. Since I know that some of my readers have also been down that road, I thought I might respond with a post and let people add their own experiences.
I don't think I have ever written a post on my reasons for leaving the States, in part because it's complicated. You see, it has to do with why I went back to the States in the first place and why I stayed so long. I grew up in the US, but I decided to leave when I was 17 and finally managed to do it when I was 19, with the intent to leave permanently. That was when I went to Montreal. I moved back just before my 23rd birthday and went to California.
Grandpa has a lot more material on Dick family history than Martens family history. The Dick family was fairly large and owned quite a lot of land in Russia. He had a number of aunts and uncles on that side of the family, but honestly, I can't remember any of them. I'm not sure I met any of the Dicks other than Grandpa Dick.
The previous instalment describes how the David Jacob Dick - my great-great-grandfather - came to be the master of Apanlee, and this one offers a view of life there from the eyes of an eleven year old child, writing about it in her own adulthood. Grandpa collected accounts from several Dicks over the years, and there are at least two other books on life at Apanlee, but of the materials I have on hand, this one struck me as the most evocative of life on the family estate.