An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Emile Pitre '96: Patience and assimilation in Germany

Project Manager  |  Germany

October 2018

By Paula Bock

Life Journey: Early in my career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Seattle District) I changed from a chemical engineer working on environmental cleanups to a project manager executing building renovations. This allowed me to use my skills on a wide range of projects and ultimately made me more marketable to the Europe District. I’ve been with the Europe District for four years and plan to be here another three years.

On the German tradition of Sunday quiet hours for rest and family time

A majority of shops are closed on Sundays, except for restaurants and cafes. I live in the state of Hessen where the hours of 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. are quiet hours. Things you cannot do during Sundays and quiet hours include: mowing the lawn, recycling empty bottles in the glass recycling containers, washing your car, and running your wash-ing machine.  

Lightbulb moment

Law enforcement does not have to be aggressive or confronta-tional in order to be effective. Rarely do I see a vehicle pulled over for a moving violation. Germany deploys a wide network of cameras to monitor traffic violations, such as speeding and red-light infractions. Violators receive a ticket in the mail with a medium resolution photo of the driver’s face and vehicle license plate. I have even received a parking ticket in the mail for a parking violation that occurred while I was sitting in the driver’s seat.   

On skills students need to be global citizens

Patience and assimilation. Adjusting to a new culture in a new country can be intimidating and, at times, discouraging. I was able to build a support system through work and social media, which enabled me to better understand and respect German and European cultures. 

Law enforcement does not have to be aggressive to be effective.- Emile Pitre '96


This article was first published in the Fall/Winter 2018 Lakeside magazine. Paula Bock is innovation and communications strategist for Mobilizing Myanmar, an initiative leveraging Burma’s smartphone revolution to connect women and the poor with economic opportunity. She’s the mom of a Lakeside 10th grader.