Denisa, Nantwich

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Romania and I am 26 now and I will be 27 in February. My real name is Leventica, but my name is quite hard to pronounce so that’s why I use a different name for my customers. 

‘Am I looking forward to Xmas? I don’t know but the kids are excited’

How is life at the moment?
Nothing like it used to be. Starting back selling the magazine is very hard. Some of the people who used to buy the magazine don’t even say hello anymore. I don’t know why. When I sell the magazine, I don’t stand there and force people to buy it – that’s not my way. I still have some good customers who stop and chat to me and some regulars who buy the magazine because they want to read it. 

What’s 2021 been like for you?
It’s been difficult. I was at home with the kids at the start of the year when we went into lockdown. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, we had to make sure we were careful about what we bought and not get things we didn’t need – just get the basic things, pay the rent, pay the gas and buy some food. 

How many children do you have?
Five altogether – four girls and a boy. The last two children are twins. That was a shock. It really changed our lives straight away. They are going to be three in January.

What does your husband do?
He does some work as an Uber delivery driver, but it can be expensive – paying for the petrol and the insurance. Sometimes he spends more than he actually makes. He stays home and helps with the kids when I am selling the magazine. He’s a good husband. We share the work 50-50. 

Are you looking forward to Christmas?
For myself, I don’t know, but the kids are very excited. They have already started singing Christmas carols and I say: “What the hell is going on?” Last year, the twins didn’t know much about Christmas but this year is different. I’m worried about buying presents and the cost of everything. It feels like a lot of pressure.

What will you be doing on Christmas Day?
I will be selling the magazine on Christmas Eve, and then we will have to clean the house and cook so I think I might be quite tired on Christmas Day. Now the Christmas season is starting I’m going to be working hard to sell the magazine as much as possible. 

What makes you happy?
To see my kids happy. 

What do you hope for in the future?
I hope that me and my family, and my mum and dad can get through the rest of this year okay and not have any problems. And I wish I could wake up and that this virus didn’t exist anymore. I worry about there being another lockdown or something. 

What makes you sad?
What’s going on in the world. I am nervous about what’s happening and I wonder what the future will be like for my children. 

Your English is very good. How did you learn it?
I speak with people when I sell Big Issue North and if I don’t understand a word, I ask them to explain it to me. I didn’t learn English as a child. I didn’t go to school very much in Romania. I can read English a little but I can’t really write it. I can speak Spanish as well. And my first language is Gypsy – which is different to Romanian. At home my kids speak English and sometimes I do. Even the twins are good at speaking English – they are so clever.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for being here for me and thank you for the support. And thanks for making me smile when I am not feeling my best. I wish you all the best in the world. 

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