Cristina, Birkenhead

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was 30 last December. I am from Romania but I have lived in Liverpool since 2009 and I have sold the magazine since then. This is my first day back to work and I am very happy to be able to sell Big Issue North again.

‘Some of my customers have called to check I am okay’ 

What did you do during the lockdown?
I looked after my children. We have been to the park sometimes but mainly we have been at home. I have been speaking some English at home. It’s important because my children did not have school. 

How have you coped financially?
The last few months have been very bad for me. We have had very little money and it’s been expensive to buy things for my kids and to pay my bills and my rent. The office has helped me a lot with money to feed my children. I was desperate. I am so happy to be back. Some of my customers have called me to check that I am okay and I am looking forward to seeing them. 

Tell us about your family.
I have five children – three girls and two boys. My youngest is one and a half. My daughter Alina, who is aged nine, is the eldest. I have been divorced for a long time.

How have the last few months been for Alina?
Alina: I missed school but I helped my mum at home. My brothers and sisters have been very good. 

Will you feel safe selling the magazine, Cristina?
Yes, I will feel safe on my pitch. I do not worry about this. I sell the magazine because I don’t have any other job. This is my job.

When did you last go back to Romania?
I went back in 2016 when my mother died. She was only 44 and I miss her very much. That was the only time I have been back. Liverpool is my home now. I came to this country because my country is bad. I didn’t have any job in my country. I didn’t have anything. I came here for myself and for my children.

Alina, what would you like to be when you grow up?
Alina: I would like to be a doctor. When you are sick I will help you. 

Cristina, do you have a message for your customers?
I am very happy that I am going back to Birkenhead and that I will see all my customers again. I love that place and I love my customers. Thank you so much for being there for me. 

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