your countrymen live more for themselves, have their own shops, pubs etc
The operative word is "some" and I bet that you have no "integration" statistics available. Neither do I, but I dislike meaningless generalizations, I really do. Let me explain why:
I started my integration process in Canada the first day I settled here. Many of my Polish friends, which I have met and accepted here (many did not pass the initial scrutiny though), have done the same. We were doing well, representing similar background and education. We did not need any ghetto support. We initially rented apartments, and later bought houses, in various parts of the city or the country. We shopped locally but we would occasionally visit Polish shops in Polish village, once a month maybe, around Christmas or Easter season for sure - this sort of things. But it was exactly five months ago when I was last shopping and drinking there.
We also did not need any support from Polish professional organizations. For example, Association of Polish Engineers of Ontario did not impress us much, since they were involved in some very funny political games: "old immigration" vs. "new immigration", etc. Polish dailies were also boring - and they still are, most of the time. So here we were: reading "Globe and Mail" while staying away from "Sun", working hard, getting excited about new jobs, business opportunities and challenging projects. And spending our free time the way we liked: long "old Polish conversations" and a good bottle of wine or two, and going outdoors.
I did not go initially to local bars, for the only reason that I considered them dumb and boring. I still carry a mental picture from some dark stinking tavern, somewhere downtown, of several single men sipping their "Labatt's Blue" in silence. Things have changed, I visit local bars - mostly full od strange dumb people and drug dealers but also ... surprise, surprise many intelligent ones too - for a good conversation and few glasses of wine, but I really missed our early Polish parties somewhere "up north": canoeing and sailing in summer, spending Christmas together in rented cottages, weekend cross-country skiing or downhill skiing forays to Mt.Tremblant, or Mt. Saint Anne. Five years down the road, the parties have become international, mostly Polish-Canadians... Many of us have made good friends with "locals" at work. So nothing wrong with this picture, wouldn't you say?
So, you can stick to your stereotypes, if you like, but these are not about me and many of my former friends - 50-100 maybe? And yes, I rarely drink vodka (another stereotype) - maybe once a year or so. And I like other ethnic cultures: Mexican (the only decent food and atmosphere I enjoyed in Dallas, Texas I found in a cozy Mexican restaurant), Italian, Irish. My local bakery is Italian, where I do my daily shopping for bread, cheeses, cold cuts, various Italian cheese filled peppers, eggs, frozen pizza dough, various canned delicacies, delicious cakes. I do it by choice and convenience, overpaying a bit, but I occasionally buy German or Polish dark bread.
- Giovanni, when are you going to learn how to bake the real Pumpernickel - not that brown soft bread you sell in here? And he only smiles - he knows I am joking.