Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 35 years old and I have sold Big Issue North for about six months.
“I am learning English slowly by talking to customers.”
Why do you sell the magazine?
I used to work in scrap metal here but I lost my job. It’s hard to find work with my English not being so good. I need to work so I sell the magazine instead. I like selling the magazine. I like talking to people who are passing and I like being outside all day. I am learning English slowly by talking to customers.
Why did you come to the UK?
In Romania I was digging drains and ditches for a company. But then that job ended and I couldn’t find another one, so I came to the UK. It’s a poor life in Romania. It’s not good there. Even when I had a job I only earnt a little. My mother is very ill and I want to take care of her. She lives in Romania, and I send money home to her so she can buy tablets.
What was your childhood like?
When I was a young boy it was very beautiful. I remember playing outside with my friends. I only went to school for one year. Then when I was eight, my father became very sick and so I stopped going to school. He died when I was 10 years old. I remember him and I miss him very much. It was very hard growing up without him.
What do you wish for?
I want to repair my parents’ house in Romania and to live there with my mother. It is a very old house and it has a lot of problems. I miss Romania but there is no other option but to be here. I have to work.
What do you do in your spare time?
I walk a lot. I like being outside. I would like to work in a garden but I do not have a garden in the house where I am. I used to like working in the garden very much and I would like to do that again. I also go to the church on Sunday. I have been going to church for about two months. Since then I have stopped smoking and I have stopped drinking as much. I would like to be baptised one day. I am trying to change my life. It’s a new start.
What makes you happy?
To be able to help the family and to be with them and to be with friends.
What makes you sad?
When I am not selling too many magazines. But I do not stay sad for long. I am a happy person and I am always smiling. I am first at the office door every morning and always laughing.
Interview: Christian Lisseman
Interpreter: Cristian Politic