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Phuong Thao Ninh

March 1-2, 2014
Los Angeles and the American Experience
Weekend Course
opic 1! "MALL #W$ or %&' C&( )
Small town vs big city. Where should we choose to live? Do we prefer urbanisation or nature? Anyway
for some people living in a big city is a great opportunity. !t is often associated with high society
celebrations night life and e"travagance. People there en#oy being surrounded by other people bi$arre
noises s%yscrapers and the entertainment industries of big cities. &ut there are other people who prefer
the harmony the privacy and the closeness to nature in a small town or countryside. As a young adult !
will probably live in a big city because of college friends going out convenience and e"perience. &ut !
%now for myself that ! would rather live in a small town than in a big city. That is where ! see my future
with home and family. The reason for my statement will be e"plained in the following.
&orn and raised in a smaller town in western 'ermany ! learned how wonderful it is to be part of that
community. (or that ! am very than%ful and ! am happy that ! now live with my host family in the
countryside even though ! en#oy spending time in the little chaos of a big city.
)ne of the things that ! appreciate in a small town are the people. *verybody seems friendly to each
other. When ! go to the store the sales assistant is always very courteous and cooperative. +aybe that is
because there are not as many customers as in a big city and the sales assistant has more time for each
customer. So we would #ust start a conversation because time does not matter in a non hectic
environment. ,ere you really get to %now the people in your community. !n a big city in contrast it is
difficult to %now your community or even act li%e one because there are too many people and they are
so diverse. !n a small town you %now who is responsible for what and if there are any issues you are not
agreeing with you also %now who to tal% to. The people here seem more willing to help as we are closer
to each other. ! thin% they are more compassionate when they see you struggling with life since you live
almost as neighbors. !nstead of ignoring you or being harsh to you they try to support you even if it is
#ust a nice touch. Also as you %now your neighbors and in general the people who are living in your
town it is easier to get %now people with the same interests. +aybe you are interested in farming or
hunting and that is why you chose to live in a small town or countryside.
+ost of the time people in a small town or countryside would go to the same church the same school
the same sports club library and have the same administration. !t is li%e a part of your life that you share
with other people. That is solidarity that you can not find in a big city. We in a small town are more
connected. So my host %id-s teacher is also the mom of my other host%id-s best friend #ust to Small town
vs big city. Where should we choose to live? Do we prefer urbanisation or nature? Anyway for some
people living in a big city is a great opportunity. !t is often associated with high society celebrations
night life and e"travagance. People there en#oy being surrounded by other people bi$arre noises
s%yscrapers and the entertainment industries of big cities. &ut there are other people who prefer the
harmony the privacy and the closeness to nature in a small town or countryside. As a young adult ! will
probably live in a big city because of college friends going out convenience and e"perience. &ut !
%now for myself that ! would rather live in a small town than in a big city. That is where ! see my future
with home and family. The reason for my statement will be e"plained in the following.
show an e"ample for this connection. And it is also convenient for us to %now the school bus driver.
There has been times when the %ids were being late and we gave the bus driver a call to wait for us two
or three minutes. )r the bus driver would call us for delays or possible icy roads. show an e"ample for
this connection. And it is also convenient for us to %now the school bus driver. There has been times
when the %ids were being late and we gave the bus driver a call to wait for us two or three minutes. )r
the bus driver would call us for delays or possible icy roads.
(urthermore ! thin% in small towns are less violence than in bigger cities. There are more homeless
people and people with financial issues seen in big cities than in small towns. ! guess the dissatisfaction
of those people and the lac% of help causes violence in big cities. !n small towns the people seem more
satisfied with what they have and they also get the support by the community. ! feel save and ta%en care
of in a small town. And even if you %now each other well you still have your privacy by not living right
ne"t door with your neighbors. !n the countryside ! en#oy the distance between the properties and the
space with an own house. And than% to the local farmers we are able to get regional food such as eggs
meat and vegetables.
Another reason why ! would choose living in a small town is my love for outdoors nature and sports.
+ost of the time big buildings and technology are the ma#ority in big cities and they are unfortunatly
banning the beauty of the nature. *"cept for a few random green spots with trees and little par%s where
you can wal% your dog you can not really find nature in big cities. Different is it in a small town which
offers a lot of hi%ing trails forests and par%s with la%es where you find incredible peace and .uietness.
/ou can wal% through places without having people around you. !n a small town ! am able to wor% out
rela" or spend time thin%ing without being distracted by hubbubs and cars driving right ne"t to me. Also
nature can be e"plored while running through the forests. ! often observe birds deers racoons and
turtles in our bac%yard.
&esides %ids can e"plore climb on trees go fishing and have fun playing on the playgrounds without
parents being afraid their %ids could get run over by a car. And even in the winter time there are
activities that you can do such as ice s%ating s%iing and sledding. This winter my host%ids and ! en#oyed
sledding down the hills on the property also we tried snow surfing. !n my view you are more creative in
a small town or countryside because you don-t have everything here so you #ust use the things that
nature gives.
The last and the most important reason is the matter of safety and health. !n big cities there is lot of
hectic and traffic going on. Also pollution is a big issue for me. All the traffic ma%es life stressful and
e"hausting. People are rushing from street to street from building to building without noticing each
other as they are focused on their own business. They do not have time to loo% around and absorb their
environment. )ften other people get hurt because of ignorance and selfishness. &ut they #ust do not
care and they do not have time because time is money. That is basically the motto in big cities. Sadly but
true life there is mostly counted by time not by the moment. ! rather en#oy every moment and live life to
the fullest instead of letting life pass me. 0iving a healthy life as can do in a small town means .uality
life to me.
0ast but not least you can travel the world1 When you are living in a small town you maybe not %now a
lot of cultures so you are getting interested and you want to see the whole world1 (or me living in a
small town made me want to see the world. So ! am traveling as an au pair for one year. ! got to see a
lot of things ! never e"pected since ! am here.
At the moment ! am living in the countryside in +issouri2 3ansas on a 45 acres property. ! have to drive
half an hour to visit the ne"t bigger city which is 3ansas 6ity. Since ! am here ! learned so much more
about nature. )n our property we have deers raccoons snapping turtles and coyotes. )ur neighbor has
horses cows and chic%ens. We live here in a huge farming area. When you drive along the roads you
may see soybean tobacco and corn fields. We are able to get fresh eggs mil% cheese. !n the bac% of our
property we grow all %ind of vegetables such as tomatoes $ucchinis pump%ins cucumbers and melons.
As we have a little forest on our property we often go hunting for deers which give us good healthy
meat. !t is not #ust about having or %illing the animals it is also about caring for them and learning about
So that is %ind of the perfect living situation for me. ! en#oy to live in the countryside where ! %now a lot
of people in town having my own animals and really good and especially healthy food.
(or me it is #ust important that there is a bigger city nearby as ! also en#oy shopping going to the movie
theatre or out for dinner with friends etc. ! thin% the city should not be more far away than half an hour.
'rocery stores should also be in my the town where ! live. ! really en#oy being close to nature so ! am
happy and grateful to be here.
!n closing life in a big city offers a lot entertainment and technology what ! really en#oy. &ut there are
things in life that ! appreciate more such as nature privacy and space. !n my opinion it is healthier to
live in a small town than in a big city. And ! %now that ! can always drive to the big city whenever ! long
for it.
opic 2! &s it *etter +or children to gro, up in the countr-side or *ig cit-)
+y personal memories of childhood too% place in a town of 477888 people in ,agen 'ermany. We
lived in various apartments or townhomes within the city and e"cept for the rare treasured occasion didn
稚e"perience much of the countryside culture. !n 5887 my family and ! too% a trip to my parent 痴
homeland in 9ietnam. 9isiting my mother 痴family inside the heavily populated cities of ,anoi and ,ai
Phong then continuing to the remote farm village my father was raised in was my first star% e"ample of
the difference between life in the city and country life. The one e"treme was filled with e"citement
sounds of thousands of scooters and the rich cultural e"perience of life with 7: million people. The other
e"treme was surrounded by rice patties and the sounds of dinner being the frantic cluc%ing while my
father 痴family butchered their dinner fresh. &oth environments left rich memories and were very
different from the life ! %new in 'ermany.
0ittle did ! %now at the time ! would e"perience a similar e"perience a few years later in moving to
America. As an au pair you have little control over where your host family could need you in. !n my case
it was a location ; miles down a gravel road to a home on 45 acres surrounded by trees corn and
soybeans. !n the last < months ! have e"perienced the real country life with children. !nstead of ma%ing
sure the children don 稚play in the street you substitute chec%ing the children for any deer tic%s as they
come inside the house. The loose term 渡eighborsmeans those within the few s.uare mile radius that
you wave to while driving by. The sounds of night never include those of people but instead owls
coyotes and the occasional floc% of wild tur%eys.
)ver the past si" months ! have constantly observed the difference between my childhood and the four
children ! am caring for. !nstead of gathering at the local playground the %ids instead have their own
swing set trampoline treehouse and soccer goal. )n the rare occasion we do visit a playground it is a
4; minute drive to the location where the children play with other children they have never met. +y
community in ,agen was very close %nit. All children attended school together and lived within a small
area. At my current home they children have a =; minute bus ride to school and the school attendance
draw area is over =8 miles.
To really try to find an answer of answer of which environment is best for child raising ! had to identify
if my host families children had anything ! was missing in my own childhood. They actually had more
toys games and possessions then ! had at their age. Their diet is e"tremely healthy and as the advantage
of wild deer meat and produce from the garden. The school they attend is ran%ed with the highest in the
state with an A> grade from the state of +issouri. The home they live in is recently built and to the
highest standards possible. !n fact the only disadvantage ! can see compared to my own childhood is
pro"imity to friends. To have school friends over parents must coordinate in advance and arrange rides
to and from their playmates homes do to the distance. !n reality the main difference ! can see between
my host family 痴life and that of my own is the time they must spend on certain tas%s and trips. +eals
must be planned in advance because it ta%es to long to drive to the grocery store every day. +y host
father drives ?7 miles to wor% and therefore spends much of his day on the road away from his %ids. &ut
even considering this ! don 稚see enough of a difference to ma%e a decision what is best.
&ecause of my own e"perience with my family 痴travels to 9ietnam my thoughts instead turned to the
difference between the life in the city and country in 9ietnam. *ducation is far superior in the city and
family life is much different because of the #obs available in the cities. With more #obs there is better
income in which the families are able to send their children to good schools e"tracurricular activities
and eventually good universities. !n 9ietnam ! saw firsthand the difference between the lifestyles in the
country and city being financial. &ecause of my current host families financial situation ! wondered if
maybe my e"perience in comparing life would be different if their income was less.
@ecently an article in ASA Today by 6had Wadsworth e"plored the costs of raising a child today and
mentioned that the average cost of raising a child was a range from B5?;888CB=:8888 over the 4D
years of childhood. Applying simple math this means that families in America spend on average B4?75?
to B5757? per year in raising their children. !n seeing this shoc%ing number and %nowing that my host
family has four children to raise ma%es me wonder if the biggest differences between raising children in a
rural environment or a city environment instead depends on the amount of income that their parents
earn. !t is obvious to me that there are many homes in the country area that my host family lives in that
are not as optimal for raising children as my current home. Although ! can 稚#udge these families myself
as ! don 稚%now their individual circumstance it seems very possible that these families could be living
in a better environment if they chose to live on smaller acreage within the city.
!t seems that many families are driven by the dreams of their own parents. )ften children of those raised
on a farm seem to appreciate the freedom that country living brings. And it seems that people who live in
the city understand more the privileges that the city can add if the family ta%es advantage of the culture
and variety of education available. There are good neighborhoods in the city that are honest and loyal as
well as friendly areas of country living. !t seems li%e much of what is desire for your offspring is a result
of what the parents own life consisted of or was missing.
After considering all the positives and negatives to ma%e a fair assessment ! feel the best scenario for
raising %ids is in a country setting within close pro"imity of a larger city. !n many areas ! understand this
to be very e"pensive as land close to the city is reserved for small mansions with attached tennis courts.
&ut in observing my au pair family 痴location and as%ing about the price and reasonability of their home
it seems that it is possible to do so in many midCwest locations near here. This allows children be raised
with the freedom of room and the creativity that that brings with possibility of local soccer groups and
peers for the children.
!t seems that country living if encouraged allows children to be more creative with their day to day life.
Playing cowboys and !ndians can be played in a real forest any time spent in that environment seems to
lead to a better appreciation for wildlife and nature. Also having a large vegetable garden really connects
children to their food and lets them have a better understanding of what truly is healthy food. Watching
children collect leaves in the fall to create crafts for than%sgiving and watching them collect flowers for
the dinner table in the spring seems to be much healthier than those in large cities that instead rely on the
closest craft store for these displays. Since living at my current location ! have seen the children observe
rabbits s.uirrels raccoons possums deer tur%eys fo" coyotes and countless birds including eagles
and owls. This observation seems to ma%e them much more aware of the beauty of animals and our own
responsibility to %eeping the environment in a state that they can survive. The children understand
.uic%ly that to litter with trash will directly affect their animal 吐riends
!n closing ! will mention another very good trait that living in the country will install in children. !t seems
that many children in towns do not learn to wor%. !t 痴true that they might have chores but those never
prepare them for what their first #ob might be. )bserving country life all children seem to be involved
with maintaining the house and yard. @a%ing leaves is a family activity that shows the children that labor
can bring a sense of accomplishment. This wor% seems to install an honesty that the children in turn
focus on other areas of life. Since they are not intimidated by wor%ing they are more willing to preform
the e"tra effort that so many children lac%. 0a$iness isn 稚accepted and the result of this is hard
wor%ing honest %ids.
Works Cited
Chad Wadsworth, USA Today, “The Cost of Raising a Child” December 24, 2012
opic .! Chart o+ children/s stories and +a*les
he Lion 0ing
6haractersE Simba +ufasa Scar Timon Pumba Nala
Summary of plotE With Simba-s birth a new heir of the throne is certain. As the son of +ufasa who
reigns over the pride roc% he en#oys privileges. ,is best friend is the lioness Nala and together they often
get in dangerous adventures. Scar his uncle who always wanted to be %ing is envious of Simba and
plans to ta%e over the pride roc%. With the hyenas on his side he forces Simba into danger. As +ufasa
comes and rescues his son Scar surprises him and pushes him from a cliff. Simba survives and
is blamed by Scar for the death of his father. ,e leaves the pride roc% and finds himself e"hausted in the
desert where he meets Timon and Pumba who ta%e him under their wings. ,e spends his youth far from
home in the #ungle forgetting about his past and his origin. +eanwhile under Scar-s reign the
circumstances in the %ingdom worsen. Nala escapes from the %ingdom to find help and encounters
Simba. She reminds him of his responsibilty as the legitimate %ing. Simba decides to return and together
with Timon and Pumba he fight his uncle. Scar dies and he becomes %ing over the pride roc%.
+oral2 0essonE Don-t run away from your responsibility. With team wor% you achieve anything.
%eaut- and the %east
6haractersE &elle Prince Adam 釘east 'aston +aurice
Summary of plotE &elle is a boo%worm and is dissatisfied with life in the provincial village of (rance
trying to fend off the affliction of 'aston. A wrong turn ta%en by &elle-s father +aurice causes her to
meet the &east. Arrogant and unable to love Prince Adam is cursed by a *nchantress to be the &east. !n
order to brea% the spell he has to learn to love another and earn her love in return before the last petal of
his enchanted rose falls. &elle bails her father and promises to stay in his castle forever. After initial
disagreements they both learn to understand and appreciate each other. The &east reali$es that love is
about altruism respect and giving another freedom. ,e let &elle go %nowing that he will remain the
&east forever. She eventually returns bac% to him and both e"perience the true love. The curse is bro%en.
+oral2 0essonE True beauty comes from the inside. 0ove is about respect and yielding.
1ungle %ook
6haractersE +owgli &agheera &aloo 3ing 0ouie Shere 3han
Summary of plotE +owgli a young orphan boy who is raised by a wolf mother amongst other cubs in
the deep #ungle of !ndia e"periences life in the midst of wild #ungle animals. &agheera a blac% panther
who found him when he was a baby ta%es the role of the guardian. As +owgli grows older Shere
3han a manCeating &engal tiger returns to the #ungle to trac% him. The wolf tribe reali$es that +owgli
has to be ta%en to the +anC9illage for his own safety. *scorted by &agheera +owgli unwillingly hits
the trail. )n the way +owgli gets himself into several dangerous situations in which &agheera has to
rescue him. After a dispute between &agheera and +owgli they both go separate ways. +owgli
determined to stay in the #ungle soon meets the sloth bear &aloo who ta%es him under his wings and
teaches him the philosophy of careCfree life with the promise to never ta%e him bac% to the +anC9illage.
With the help of &agheera and &aloo +owgli is able to chase Shere 3han away. At the edge of the
+anC9illage +owgli noticed a beautiful girl by the riverside and follows her bac% into the village.
,appy that +owgli finds his place with his own %ind &aloo and &agheera head home.
+oral2 0essonE True friendship is about wanting the best for your friend even if it means to let him2 her
6haractersE 6inderella Stepmother Stepsisters Prince
Summary of plotE &ullied around by her stepmother and her stepsisters 6inderella has to wor% as their
housemaid. As the Prince invites all young women in the land to his ball to find a bride 6inderella is not
allowed to come. With the help of the fairy godmother she attends the ball where she meets the Prince.
,e falls in love with her but she disappeared without telling her name. The Prince finds one of her glass
slippers and decides to find her. ,e lets every woman try on the slipper in order to find the owner. The
stepsisters try to bluff the Prince but then 6inderella appears and it is clear that she is the one he is
loo%ing for.
+oral2 0essonE 3indness overcomes viciousness.
2eter 2an
6haractersE Wendy Darling Fohn Darling +icheal Darling Peter Pan Tin%er &ell The 0ost &oys
Summary of plotE Peter Pan is a boy who never grows up. Accompanied by the little fairy Tin%er &ell
he flies on a trip to 0ondon where he encounters the young girl Wendy Darling. ,e ta%es Wendy and
her little brothers Fohn and +icheal to Neverland. They meet the 0ost &oys and Wendy ta%es on a
maternal role. After e"periencing a series of adventures they feel homesic% and Peter brings them bac%.
The 0ost &oys are adopted by the Darlings.
+oral2 0essonE Never forget your childhood.
Mo*- 3ick
6haractersE 6aptain Ahab +oby Dic% 6rew
Summary of the plotE Ahab captain of the Pe.oud has lost his leg and his son to the whale +oby Dic%.
,is monomaniacal desire to %ill the whale causes the death of his crew members as he tries to mess with
the whale in the open ocean. ,e has no chances against +oby Dic% and dies.
+oral2 0essonsE (orgive nature-s will.
6haractersE Shre% 0ord (ar.uaad (iona Don%ey
Summary of plotE Shre% a big ogre who lives alone in the woods and feared by all the people in the
land of Duloc loses his peaceful life as 0ord (ar.uaad the ruler of Duloc e"iles all the fairyCtale beings
to the woods. To change 0ord (ar.uaad-s mind he has to find princess (iona whom (ar.uaad wishes to
ma%e his wife to become %ing. So Shre% begins his .uest along with his newfound don%ey friend. A
romance initiates between (iona and Shre% and together they resist against (ar.uaad.
+oral2 0essonE Apparent monster with a heart of gold. The inside counts.
6haractersE Pocahontas 6aptain Fohn Smith 'overnor @atcliffe 6hief Powhatan
Summary of plotE Ander the command of 'overnor @atcliffe 6aptain Fohn Smith leads a ragCtag band
of *nglish sailors and soldiers to the New World to plunder its riches for *ngland. There he encounters
Pocahontas daughter of 6hief Powhatan who believes the newcomers plan to destroy their land.
Despite the cultural differences and the forces against them they both learn to understand each other-s
life and discover their love for one another.
+oral2 0essonE 0ove overcomes social and cultural differences.
6haractersE Schneewitchen the Gueen stepmother the Seven Dwarfs Prince the *nchanted +irror
Summary of plotE The Gueen stepmother who is intent to be the most beautiful in the entire %ingdom
spends her time as%ing the *nchanted +irror for reassurance. As the *nchanted +irror announces that
that princess Schneewittchen is the most beautiful the Gueen is full of anger and assigns the death of
the princess. Schneewittchen escapes into the forest where she ma%es friends with the Seven Dwarfs
who try to protect her from the Gueen-s attempt to %ill her. As the Gueen succeeds to poison her she is
believed to be dead. )ne day a Prince who comes by delighted by her beauty %isses her. The ban
brea%s and they marry. The Gueen receives her punishment and dies.
+oral2 0essonE 0ove and %indness overcomes viciousness.
3ie %remer "tadtmusikanten
6haractersE Don%ey Dog 6at @ooster @obbers
Summary of plotE A don%ey a dog a cat and a rooster who have pasted their prime years travel
together to &remen as their masters abandoned them. As town musicians they hope for a better life. )n
the way they see robbers en#oying their illCgotten gains in a little cottage. They manage to scare the
robbers away with their music and ma%e the cottage to their home.
+oral2 0essonsE With team wor% you achieve anything.
4rau 5olle
6haractersE (rau ,olle Widow Daughter Stepdaughter
Summary of plotE A widow has two daughters one of them is beautiful and industrious the other ugly
and la$y. As the beautiful daughter is not her biological she calls her to do all the housewor%. )ne day
the beautiful one has to #ump into the well to get the reel which has fallen in it. She finds herself in (rau
,olle-s meadow where she meets the plea of the enchanted beings. (or her %indness (rau ,olle showers
her with gold and wealth. Wanting the same for the other daughter the widow sends the ugly and la$y to
the well. The same things happen to her in (rau ,olle-s meadow but la$y and un%ind as she is she
ignores the pleas and (rau ,olle showers her with pitch.
+oral2 0essonE 3indness gets rewarded.
5舅sel und 'retel
6haractersE ,舅sel 'retel Witch
Summary of plotE ,舅sel and his sister 'retel are sent out into the forest. ,ungry and lost in the
forest they come to house made out of gingerbread. As they eat from the house a witch captured them.
She forces 'retel to do all the housewor% while she %eeps , 舅sel in a cage feeding him up so she can
eat him. As she turns her bac% to them to prepare to oven 'retel %ic%s her in. , 舅sel and 'retel
escape and find the way out of the forest.
+oral2 0essonE 6oherence is important.
6haractersE @apun$el (rau 'othel Prince
Summary of plotE @apun$el a beautiful girl with yards of hair spends her entire life in a tower without
doors isolated from the rest of the world where (rau 'othel a sorceress detains her. A prince rides into
the deep forest and discovers the tower within the beautiful @apun$el. They fall for each other but they
get seperated by (rau 'othel. (or all that trouble they find the way to each other and marry.
+oral2 0essonE 0ove and %indness overcomes viciousness.