- New West Anchor
- Downtown New West resident showcases love for the city, en Español
Downtown New West resident showcases love for the city, en Español
New West is the first Canadian city Johanna Pabon has lived in—and she adores it
Through her eyes: Johanna Pabon snapped this photo during our interview. The Downtown resident chronicles life in New West, and in Spanish/supplied
In cases like this, I take issue with the term "doom scrolling," because there are people out there on social media who are genuinely trying to showcase things in a positive light.
Technically, doom scrolling was actually how I stumbled across this Instagram account that was posting about New Westminster places, events, and spaces—but in Spanish.
Enter Johanna Pabon—the bright, radiant, and always smiling Downtown New West resident who is responsible for New West en Español, an Instagram page dedicated to the exploration of New West, but through her eyes and photographs.
"La mirada de una latina con historias en español. Conozcamos juntos New Westminster, su historia, eventos, paisajes y gente," reads the description of the page, which roughly translates to the idea of looking at New Westminster's history, events, places, and people through the eyes of a Latina. The captions are all in Spanish, and feature everything from New West landmarks to neighbours and festivals.
"I've been [in New West] three years, and in Canada too," Pabon tells The Anchor. "It's my first [Canadian] city. I'm excited [to be here]."
Pabon comes from Venezuela, and says she was inspired to start the account after attending Recovery Day. "I said, 'This is so amazing!' I took many pictures, I have a personal account; it's like a journal," explains Pabon, who decided to make things a bit more public to share her love of the city.
"I really enjoy my city, the parks, everything ... so I said, 'Why don't I open an account about my city, but in my language?'"
Since opening the account, she's learned about all kinds of New West events past and present, whether it's the reason for the existence of Recovery Day, to the history of the Great Fire that happened in 1898.
"I read this because I am a curious person, I read everything, so when I read this, [I thought] 'Oh my God, it's a big fire! When was the big fire?' Then I go to Google, and I read they lost [this whole area], and also that New West was the first capital of British Columbia. All of this is really interesting to me."
Pabon goes wherever her feet take her: she enjoys walking around her neighbourhood, but especially loves Queen's Park.
"New West is a place where I discover something every day ... I just found out about the rose garden [there]. It's amazing, so beautiful, it really is my favourite, and the guys there do a beautiful job," she gushes, adding that it's also one of her top picks for photos.
"And Tipperary Park, too!"
Johanna Pabon is from Venezuela, and has been in Canada for three years. New West is the first Canadian city she's lived in/supplied
As for what it is that motivates Pabon to do this, she says she loves to learn, and tries to learn to say "hello" in different languages, or even to learn a phrase. Pabon was excited to know I was half-Filipina, and that I still knew some Filipino.
"I have a Filipina friend, and she taught me, 'magandang umaga.' [That means] good morning," said Pabon—I was very excited to hear her say that, and I responded by saying "magandang umaga" back.
"I always say the best part is not only the buildings: the best part of the city is the people. To look at things with different cultures, different foods, different things," she adds.
Before we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Pabon to teach me a phrase in Spanish that would capture her love of New Westminster.
"Es una hermosa lugar, para vivir, y disfrutar. [That means] it's a beautiful place for living and joy," explains Pabon.
Be sure to give Pabon's Instagram page a follow for her take on New West in Spanish.