How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
For about eight years, ever since I came to the UK really. I enjoy it. Well, most of the time.
‘They are not just my customers – they are my friends’
What do you enjoy about it?
All my customers are really, really kind. They are nice people. They are understanding. When I am freezing cold, they buy me coffee, or hot chocolate or something to eat. The people who buy the magazine from me are not just my customers – they are my friends.
What don’t you like about selling the magazine?
The cold. The wind. The rain. When I am having a bad day.
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 25 years old and I am from Romania.
How has this year been for you?
It’s been a really hard year. A lot of people have died and it’s very sad. For me, it’s also been hard financially. I have been trying to manage. I have had friends helping me when they could, and I got some help from the Big Issue North office through the hardship fund.
Why do you sell the magazine?
I sell because I have four children. I have to feed my family, to buy clothes, keep the family going. I don’t make a lot of money but I am thankful for everything I get. I really appreciate all the help. I am grateful for everything.
Tell us about your family.
The oldest is six and the youngest is two months old. I won’t be having any more children. I know that my daughters’ futures will be different to mine. My eldest daughter is at school and she is learning well and she is very clever. She won’t have a hard life like I had. She is living in a country where she can get an education and it’s going to be easier for her.
You had a child this year? This must have been difficult.
Yes. It’s been a very hard year for me. It was tough. It was strange to be pregnant during the pandemic. And now I am back selling the magazine because I need the money.
Your English is very good. Did you learn this at school?
No, I went to school as a child but only for a few years when I was very young. I learnt English standing in the cold here in Crewe, selling the magazine. The best way for me to learn English is be here and speaking to my friends.
Do you still have family in Romania?
Yes, I have my mum and my dad. I really miss them but it’s hard to be in two places at once. I think about them a lot. It would be nice to see them but I have to think about my children. I came here because it is hard to live in Romania. It’s hard to manage, to live. You can’t find a proper job there and it’s hard to keep the family going. Here it’s 10 times better. I really like being here. My children were born here. This is their home, their country. It’s our home. I am a little bit worried about the future because of Brexit. We have to wait and see what happens next, I suppose.
What are your hopes for next year?
I wish for better health for everyone – that’s the most important thing. And I hope that people will be able to be with their families and their friends next year. At the moment I am so confused by what is going on but we are still here, and I am happy that we are still here.
Do you have a message for your customers?
To my customers, and those who aren’t my customers, I wish them all the best and I wish good health and a lot of love to everyone in 2021.