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The best of our superpower interviews, plus some changes…

If I had a Superpower interviewees

If you had a superpower, what would it be? We’ve been asking this and other revealing questions to people around the world since we started our journey back in March. We’ve spoken to a chocolate seller, a horse whisperer, the owner of a restaurant in Rio’s favelas, and many, many more. We used to post the interviews on our other blog, If I had a Superpower, but we’ve decided to start putting them on Bridges and Balloons instead. It’s such an important part of our journey – talking to the people we meet – that it doesn’t make sense to keep the projects separate.

We’ll post our first interview soon, but for now, here are some of our favourite answers from the past seven months.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To convert people’s bad energy into good energy. Ana, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I would have the power to change the minds of the Government. They always put money into the wrong things. I would put money into education and health. There are so many children without parents, and who have bad health. Isabel, Alemao favela, Rio

[pullquote align="right"]“What I desire most in life is to be selectively deaf”[/pullquote]

What I desire most in life is to be selectively deaf. For example when riding buses, I’d love not to hear those awkward conversations. Patrick, Mendoza, Argentina

I’d like to clean the planet – to make it a better place for plants. To clean the rivers, everything. People throw rubbish everywhere. It’s horrible Gabriel, Salta, Argentina

I would be able to hypnotise people so they would always say yes. That would be awesome. Thanyá, Alemao favela, Brazil

If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would you choose?

A scientist with a philosophical viewpoint on science. I like people who have a way of thinking with facts using the right-hand side of the brain. I’d also choose a great chef and a carpenter – someone who is good with their hands. Roberto, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Victoria, Aline and Thanyá talking superpowers in Alemāo favela, Rio

[pullquote align="left"]“I think I’ll go with Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”[/pullquote]Winnie the Pooh would be one. [this answer was given instantaneously, then Jesse was silent for a minute or two before continuing] It’d be cool to have a meal with Jesus but it wouldn’t be focussed on the meal, and I’d think I’d want to focus on what we were eating too. I wouldn’t want to have a meal with someone like Gandhi as he probably wouldn’t be eating at all. Or even Buddha, as I might feel weird in some way, like he was judging me. I think I’ll go with Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And maybe my Grandpa, the one who died when I was five. Jesse, Georgia, USA

[pullquote align="right"]“George Bush, so I could put my finger in his nose “[/pullquote]

George Bush so I could put my finger in his nose and throw my Haviana at him. Bob Marley, this is sure. And the architect who built the Great Pyramid – I’d like to ask him how he did it. Dinho, Ilha Grande, Brazil

I don’t segregate between famous or not famous, dead or alive. Ultimately it is about sharing your experiences of the day and catching that moment of happiness. It could be anyone. Alex, Belarus

What’s your greatest love?

Sundays are my greatest love. I have to work a lot so Sundays are perfect. I like to go to the beach with my daughter. Isabel, Alemao favela, Rio

[pullquote align="left"]“I became a Pagan after I read the Bible at about 10 years-old”[/pullquote]Nature. As a Pagan, it’s what my religion stands for. I became a Pagan after I read the Bible at about 10 years-old and decided I didn’t like it, so started to read about different philosophies. At first I was attracted to Buddhism and Taoism. Then I read about Paganism and I think it connected with my Spanish blood. Nicolas, Cordoba, Argentina

What’s your greatest fear?

I don’t have a fear. Two years ago I was in a car accident in Patagonia where I lost my Mum. From that tragedy, I don’t have a fear – I already passed it. Now I try to enjoy all the days as though they are the last. Eduardo, El Chalten, Argentina

Waking up old and realising I worked 60 hours a week, slaving, and didn’t have the ability, confidence or opportunity to realise my dreams. Mario, Winnipeg, Canada

When were you happiest?

When I was very young, from my teens to my twenties, I had an illness and no-one knew what it was. When I was 20, I met a girl who had the same thing. I started treatment and within three months I was better. I found out it was panic attacks. I was a rare case as it started so young. I often couldn’t leave the house. I have a tattoo of a phoenix that represents the moment I got better and could start living again. Sixteen years later, I stopped medication. Coming off medication was like being freed from prison. It was very difficult for me, but it bought such happiness. Jan, São Paulo, Brazil

Selaron, Rio, Brazil, Superpower

The artist Selaron in Rio was definitely one of our most charismatic interviewees

[pullquote align="right"]“Last year I did 1,000 self-portraits”[/pullquote]When I went from being a simple painter to a serious, famous, genius painter. It is difficult to be both original and famous. I have painted more than 35,000 pregnant women, and last year I did 1,000 self-portraits. Selarón, Rio, Brazil

My happiest moment is when I hear the words ‘I love you’ from someone I love too. Roberto, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I come from a very simple family with very little money. We didn’t have a camera when I was growing up so I have no photos of my childhood. Three years ago, my mum surprised me with a photo of her holding me as a baby. My aunt had taken the photo when she got married, and my Mum didn’t find it until then. It’s my only photo of my childhood. Barbara, São Paulo, Brazil

What’s the closest you’ve come to death?

[pullquote align="right"]“I live death”[/pullquote]

I live death. I’m a stuntman so everyday I face death. One of the scariest moments was climbing a six-storey water tower with no harness. I had to climb to the top, slip, lose grip, hold on with one hand and then pull myself up. There are scary moments, but I’ve never felt that close to death. Mario, Winnipeg, Canada

What’s your greatest achievement?

I’m a little bit less of a fool than when I was born. Claudio, Capilla del Monte, Argentina

Realising that material things aren’t important. It’s best to enjoy time with the people, sharing whiskey or time in the mountain. It’s not important to have the body of Brad Pitt or the latest car. Eduardo, El Chalten, Argentina

Opening my house to strangers. I’ve learned so much about life, about experiences and about myself. I’ve learned how to live with others and how to respect. Aline, Rio, Brazil

Describe your perfect day.

Interviewing for Superpower in Sāo Paulo

Lots of our interviewees are our couchsurfing hosts like Jan and Barbara in Sāo Paulo

[pullquote align="right"]“A perfect day is a day that changes your future in some way.”[/pullquote]

A perfect day is a day that changes your future in some way. For example, the day I bought this house (the jungle lodge), or the day my son was born. Those are my perfect days. Dinho, Ilha Grande, Brazil

It would be very simple. During the summertime, there is a particular time of day that is violet. It’s around sunset when the sky goes very slowly to pink. On my perfect day, it’d be warm and I’d go somewhere green to watch that violet time with a book and beer. Perfect. Barbara, São Paulo, Brazil

What characteristic do you admire in others?

When someone can make a relationship with other people – not superficially, but a real communion. Ana, Buenos Aires, Argentina

What characteristic don’t you like in others?

I don’t like people who think they are eternal, that this dimension is eternal – people who live like they’ll never die. Gaston, Cordoba, Argentina

People who are empty and don’t like to communicate with others. Hugo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

You are a slave to your words and the owner of your silence. Lucrecia, Puerto Madryn, Argentina

[pullquote align="right"]“Everything looks better in the morning”[/pullquote]

Everything looks better in the morning. Erin, Brisbane, Australia

At a family supper, my mother once asked the question ‘what is success?’. My father said “To love and be loved”. I think that’s a very good piece of advice. Suzanne, Trindade, Brazil

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

I’d go back to the golden age. It’s a time described in yoga philosophy where everything was in harmony. Suzanne, Trindade, Brazil

To New York in the twenties when women were women and men were men. The fashion was beautiful and the men very respectful. The people had fun without technology and nowadays we can’t do that. Aldana, Buenos Aires, Argentina

May 68, France. To have that sense of optimism that you could change things, that you were actually changing things. Patrick, Mendoza, Argentina

Tereza from Rio in Brazil

Tereza and her granddaughter in Alemāo favela

Back to when my mother was alive. Tereza, Alemao favela, Brazil

Have you ever seen something you can’t explain?

In the car accident where I lost my Mum, all my side of the car was destroyed and hers was intact, yet she was the one who died. My sister said its because my mother couldn’t have lived without me. There was a bottle of whiskey in the car with us that day – the last whiskey I drank with my Mum. It flew 1000 metres from the car but didn’t break. I still have it today. Eduardo, El Chalten, Argentina

[pullquote align="left"]“I hope one day I can explain something.”[/pullquote]Every day I see things I can’t explain. I hope one day I can explain something. Right now, I only have questions. I think this happens as you get older and learn more. At the start of my degree, if you asked me what psychology was, I could give you a definition; now at the end of my studies I don’t have the answer. Gaston, Cordoba, Argentina

I can’t understand CDs – how music can come out of a little place like that. It’s magic. Electricity is magic. Nadia, Capilla del Monte, Argentina

I lived in Germany for a while, and once, when on a train, the man announcing the stations started to say them all in a really enthusiastic, animated way. He sounded like he was enjoying it so much every time. No-one on the train could believe it. Those types of things don’t normally happen in Germany. I was crying with laughter. Milena, Puerto Madryn, Argentina

I can’t understand people who hurt those who are weaker than them, like animals or children. Fernando, Salta, Argentina

What’s the best lesson life has taught you?

Always appreciate those dearest to you. Later is too late, because when they’re gone, they’re gone. Aldana, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Are there any other questions you;d like us to add to the mix? Let us know and we’ll ask them next time.

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