Monday, February 21, 2005
On this day:

"I Just Feel I'm Meant to Be Here"

That's according to Jill Holland, a Brit who was stranded in Alabama for 8 months after her passport was stolen from an Oxford parking lot. She liked the state so much she plans to come back permanently. "You're told in America you can lie down dead on the road and they'll walk over you, but not in Alabama." And, she's got some ideas for helping out "the locals" after she returns.

"I think I have a purpose in helping people," she said.

A specialist in aromatherapy, the practice of using oils from flowers, plants, seeds etc. in healing, Holland wants to help locals, and especially women, change some of their unhealthy habits.

"This is a pill society and an overmedicated society," she said.

Food is a primary issue.

"I'd literally spend hours in a supermarket reading the labels," said Holland, who still marvels at the amount and variety of processed foods available.

Back home, she said, they make mostly everything from scratch.

Alabamians' eating habits are a byproduct of an over-consumerist culture, she said.

"You're encouraged to spend here," she said. "You're encouraged to get into debt here."

But the natural beauty and spirituality of the area overshadow the negatives for Holland.

"I found a different spirituality here," said Holland.

Other plans include motivating people to match the natural beauty of their area with clean surroundings.

A competition between trailer parks, for example, could induce tenants to keep them clean, she said.

"So that they have pride in whatever they live in," Holland said.

Competition between trailer parks...I like that. Welcome home, Ms. Holland!