Costica, Sainsbury’s, Crosby

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How are things?
Life is difficult at the moment. It’s hard to try and make money. I started on a new pitch in Crosby a few weeks ago. Before that I was in Southport. When I do not make money, I get very stressed. One day goes past without money, and then another and I have no money and I start to worry about the future. I need to pay for food and rent and look after my family, and I need to pay for travel every week as well to come and buy the magazines and then go to my pitch.

‘I love to sing sometimes on my pitch. I’ve been told I’m quite good’

What was lockdown like for you?
The lockdowns were so bad. I did not have an opportunity to make money. And last year I was trapped in Romania for months because of the coronavirus. I was happy to get back to my home in England. Thankfully everyone in my family was healthy and although I had a bad cold, I didn’t get sick with the virus.

Did you get some help from Big Issue North during lockdowns?
Oh yes. They would sometimes put £20 in my account when I really needed it. This helped me and my family and it was very important. 

Tell us about your home life.
I live with my wife and my little daughter. My daughter is five years old. My wife looks after our child and I have to earn the money. 

Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
Yes, I do, but it can be difficult. And I want a different job. I would do anything really. I could be a cleaner or anything. I am 25 years old. I think my English is okay, but I would like to learn more. Sometimes when people speak quickly, I do not understand them. I can’t really read or write in English so I would like to learn that too.

How did you learn to speak English?
I was 19 when I came to England and I could not speak any English when I arrived here. I went to school in Romania and we had some English classes but I did not really understand it. I learnt English by selling the magazine and talking to my customers. I haven’t been to any English classes or anything. 

What do you do when you are not selling the magazine?
On Sunday I go to church. I have always gone to church. It is part of my life. It is important. I sometimes go to an English church and sometimes I go to a service in Romanian. After church I go to the park with my family and then we go home. And on Monday I come to the Big Issue North office in Liverpool to buy my magazines and I see other vendors and chat to them. And then I go home afterwards and I clean the house. I sell the magazine from Tuesday to Saturday. Oh, and I love to sing! I sing at home and sometimes I sing on my pitch. I often sing in Romanian and I have been told that I am quite good.

Do you have a message for your customers?
I want to say thank you so much. They are all very kind and I hope the people in Crosby come and buy the magazine from me to help me and my family. 

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