How was your Christmas?
It was very busy. Just before Christmas I gave birth to my fifth child, a baby boy. I did not stay off work for very long after he was born because I needed the money to buy things for all of my children. I live with my aunty and she looked after all my children, including my new baby, while I worked.
‘Because I sell the magazine, I can buy food, clothes, shoes’
How long have you been selling Big Issue North for?
I have sold the magazine since 2009. I like my pitch and I have known my customers for a long time. They always ask about me and my children. They take care of me. I love selling the Big Issue North. It is my job. I can decide when I want to work and look after my children when I need to.
How long have you lived in the UK for?
I came here in 2008, when I was 17. I came here to work because in Romania, where I am from, there is no money. Life was very hard.
What makes you happy?
Everything. My family. I am always happy.
What makes you sad?
I am not sad. Never. Because my children are here. I am here. I am always happy for my children.
What do you remember about your childhood?
Like me, my mum was a good mother. She always tried to get whatever I needed, even though life was very difficult for my family. When I was a child, if I had just one biscuit I was happy. Now, because I sell the magazine, I can buy a whole packet of biscuits for my children! I can buy food, clothes, shoes – all the things that they need.
What do you hope for in the future?
I just want things to be OK like they are now. I want my children’s lives to be happy. I want them to finish school and to be able to buy houses one day and to be OK – whatever they want.
Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you. I love you all so much.
Photo: Cristina (right) with her friend Bianca