By Christian Lisseman, Big Issue North
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 56 and I am from Romania. I moved to the UK in May 2014 and I started selling Big Issue North last year.
Why do you sell the magazine?
I was playing accordion to get some money but I wasn’t earning enough. My English isn’t very good so it was difficult to find another job. No one offered me work, so I started selling the magazine. I have been doing English courses to try and improve my English, but it is difficult to learn because I am a bit older than other students. Selling the magazine is what I must do to make some money and it is good that I am working every day.
What work did you do before?
I am a carpenter by profession. I have travelled all over – to Belgium, Serbia and Portugal as a carpenter – but I have not done so well here to find work because of my English. I would like to work as a carpenter again at some point.
Do you miss Romania?
Yes. Sometimes. I miss the rest of my family. It’s hard here because I don’t always understand what’s being said and sometimes I feel lonely.
Do you have any family in the UK?
I have three children who live here in England and other family in the UK. That’s why I moved here. I live in a house in Oldham with my son and two grandchildren. It is a good place to live. My granddaughter, who is 11, speaks English to me and that is a good way for me to learn.
Tell us about your accordion playing.
I learnt to play when I was nine or 10. I am from a musical family. My parents and grandparents were all musicians. They played violin, piano and accordion. I love to play music. I play it in my free time. It reminds me of my family. It was my life, being around music.
Can you play any other instruments?
I can also play the piano but I prefer the accordion. I like the sound. It is very romantic.
What do you hope for in the future?
I don’t know what will happen in the future. I would like all my family to be healthy and I would like to find new work.
What makes you happy?
My children, my grandchildren and making music. I am looking forward to the Manchester Day Parade. I will be part of the parade and playing the accordion, of course!