Cristina, Boots, Wilmslow

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 27 in August. I am from Romania and I came to the UK when I was about 19 years old. 

Is it good to be back selling Big issue North?
Definitely, it’s very good to be back. At least I see somebody because in the lockdown it was really hard. 

‘Wilmslow is a lovely place and people have been really supportive’

What was the worst thing about lockdown?
Having to stay home. All the shops closed. No work. There was very little help. The people in Big Issue North helped us with some money and some food parcels, and they helped us use food banks but I was used to selling the magazine for money and then not being able to do that was very difficult. 

Who were you with during the lockdowns?
It was me and my partner and three children in the house. I have three children – two boys and a girl. My partner could help me out with the childcare sometimes but also he was working a bit as a delivery driver so I was sometimes left with the children on my own. 

How long have you sold the magazine for?
For about six years in Wilmslow. Before that I sold in a couple of other places, but Wilmslow is a lovely place and people have been really supportive of me. Sometimes they get me a coffee or a tea. Even if they are not buying magazines they come and talk to me and I feel better. It helps me to speak English as well. I have a good friend in Wilmslow who comes to speak to me and she is a lovely lady.

Do you speak English at home?
I speak with my children in English sometimes.

Why did you come to the UK?
For a better life, to be honest.

Do you ever miss Romania?
No, I don’t have anything there to miss. I don’t have any family there. England is my home. 

What do you wish for in the future?
For my children to have a good education and for them to have good lives. One of them says he wants to be a doctor and another says he wants to join the police. I want them to have opportunities in their life and I try to do my best for them to get what they need. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thanks to all of them. They are very nice. Thanks for all the help and support. I wish them a very nice summer and nice holidays.

Will you have a chance for a holiday this year?
I hope so but I don’t think so. We have never really been on holiday. We are busy. Working and looking after three children is enough!

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