Vasile, Marks and Spencer, York

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What were the lockdowns like for you?
Things were very hard during the pandemic, but many people were very supportive. I know for some other people it was even more difficult.

‘I dance every day and I keep smiling, even if I feel very sad’

Tell us about your pitch.
I have been in York for four years now. I usually sell there but sometimes I sell in Leeds city centre. Sometimes I have to go to hospital in Leeds because I had an operation on my kidneys last year. I love selling in York though. The people are good there. Some people come and talk to me and ask me how I am and the manager at Marks and Spencer always looks after me and is very kind. I like to dance on my pitch. I dance every day and I keep smiling, even if I feel very sad.

What kind of music do you dance to?
I like all kinds of music: English, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese music. I listen to it on my headphones. Sometimes I can dance all day and by the end of the week I will have danced for 50 hours!

And what makes you sad?
When I do not have a lot of money, then I find it hard to smile. Also, my wife and I have got divorced. We spilt up four months ago, and that makes me very sad. Now I live on my own. We were together for eight years. Things were difficult between us. That’s life I guess. But I’m keeping smiling!

Weren’t you part of an art exhibition last year?*
Yes, I was. The artists filmed me looking at something I love and that was shown in York Minster [in an art project called People We Love].

How old are you?
Ohhhh! I do not want to say. Ha! Okay, I am 36.

What do you hope for in the future?
I just hope next year will be better for everyone.

Have you been back to Romania recently?
Not recently. My mum died two years ago and I went back then. My dad is 90 and he is still in Romania. I have not seen him for a long time because I do not have the money to go back and because of the pandemic. Hopefully I will go back next year and see him and my children who also live in Romania.

You must miss them.
Yes, I do. We speak sometimes on Facebook and on the phone, which is very nice. When I have enough money, I send it to help them.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you very much to everyone but especially to all my friends in York who come and buy the magazine from me. I will keep on dancing!

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