Victoria, Aldi, Burnage

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 18 years old and I have lived in the UK for a year. I have been selling the magazine for about nine months.

Why did you come to the UK?
Life in Romania was difficult. Life in UK is much better. I am thinking of the future – I want to have a family. 

Where do you live?
I live in Manchester with my partner Ionut and his mother and father. 

‘My customers are very kind and patient in explaining things to me’

How did you meet Ionut?
I was at home in Romania with my parents and he was walking in the evening. He passed by and he saw me and he came to visit. I was 17 when we met. He is a good man. He doesn’t argue with me. We would like to have children one day, maybe three or four. 

Do your own family still live in Romania?
Yes. My mother and father are still there. I have three sisters and a brother. I had another sister but she died. I do not miss my family too much. I speak to them on the phone and see them on Skype. 

Why do you sell Big Issue North?
I sell the magazine because it is a job, to pay my rent and to help the family. I don’t want people to see me begging and doing bad things. I enjoy selling it. People have been so nice. They are polite, they speak to me and they are kind to me. Selling the magazine is helping me learn English too. I can’t speak much English at the moment, just the basics. I understand a lot but I can’t always explain what I mean in English. But my customers are very kind and patient with me. They try to find different ways to explain things to me. Like a woman was asking me about children and I didn’t understand, so she mimed holding a baby. 

What does Ionut do?
He is working in a factory at the moment on a production line making gas meters. It is hard for me to get a different job because I don’t speak the language and for now selling the magazine is the best thing. Ionut is happy that I am doing this. He works shifts, so we take it in turns to cook and do things around the house. 

What was your childhood like in Romania?
It was good. I lived at home with my family. As a child I used to work with my father on the market, selling fruit and vegetables. 

What do you hope for in the future?
I hope one day to have a family, to speak English well and have a stable job.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you so much for being there and encouraging me and taking care of me.

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