Blending Cultures and Broadening Perspectives: Hadley Everdeen’s Multicultural Upbringing

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Everdeen wipes away a tear of joy as she watches her younger sister Eissa perform the lead role in the high school production of "Matilda."

From the lush Amazon rainforest of Brazil to the coastal plains of Louisiana, Hadley
Everdeen’s life has been a whirlwind of cultural experiences. This first-year psychology major
has lived in three vastly different places, all of them shaping her tolerance and ability to
connect with people from all walks of life.


“I’m just a conglomerate of everyone else,” Everdeen said.


Bruce Springsteen once said that “the essential equation of life is 1 + 1 = 3” meaning
that two pieces coming together form something greater than their sum. Everdeen’s unique
worldview is greater than the individual cultural influences that have molded her.
Studies have shown that kids who are raised in multicultural backgrounds are more
empathetic and better at solving conflicts.


Like Everdeen, Eva Girard, an international UNC student, knows what it’s like to
grow up in such a diverse household. She has three different nationalities and was raised
between Switzerland, Italy and Colorado. Her diverse upbringing shaped her into the
resilient and empathetic woman she is today.


“The more you learn about your cultures, the more you learn about yourself,” Girard
said.

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With one parent from Brazil and the other from the United States, Everdeen has been
shaped by the confluence of these two distinct cultures. Even the use of language with her siblings was unique.


“Us kids would rework English to spit in the Portuguese format,” she said, laughing
warmly at the memory. “We spoke Portugenglish.”


Everdeen spent over five years of her childhood in the Brazilian town of Anápolis.
Located between the federal capital Brasilia and state capital Goiânia. This town watched her
and her siblings grow up.


Her parents worked for a missionary organization named “Asas de Socorro” (Wings
of Help), delivering goods and resources to tribes in the Amazon by plane. Her father was a
pilot.


Everdeen’s parents’ jobs certainly shaped her approach to community service and
giving back to society.


“It was very embedded in my childhood that it was important to help others,” she
said. “We’re not the center of the world.”


Everdeen fondly remembers the friendliness and community-oriented nature of her
Brazilian neighborhood. Despite her young age (she was six), she even had the opportunity
to teach some English words and phrases to a college class.


Everdeen would run up the hill to a university that was close to their home, and enjoy
the company of the staff and students while she taught some expressions in her mother
tongue.


Everdeen’s family even explored the possibility of adopting three children from an
orphanage in Brazil. The plan ultimately fell through but left a lasting impact on her.
“I wonder where they are today,” she said.


While Everdeen has vivid memories of her time in Brazil, her older brother Grady
and younger sisters Eissa and Cass have far more limited recollections of their time there.
“My brother is older than me but, for some reason, I remember way more than him,”
she said.

From all of the places she’s lived, she said Brazil is definitely her favorite. As she
prepares to return to Brazil this summer, she is excited to regain her fluency in Portuguese
and reconnect with her roots.


“I feel like going back home,” she said.


Since her sisters don’t remember as much from their time in Anápolis, the country
remains largely foreign to them. They’re excited to travel, nonetheless.
Although she holds her time in Brazil closest to her heart, Everdeen always says she’s
from Louisiana. She spent the majority of her “sentient” life in two small towns of this
southern state.


“I feel like different cultures have different beliefs and values,” Everdeen said. “I’ve
become good at scoping those out and monitoring myself and how I present in each place.”
Navigating multiple cultural identities and backgrounds can be hard. Everdeen’s
advice on how to handle this is one of tolerance and full immersion. Her gaze occasionally
drifted out the window as she spoke.


“Take yourself out of it a little bit so that you can really let the culture you’re learning
become a part of you,” she said.


Her family moved to Longmont, Colo. in 2021. Here, her and her sisters took part in a
high school play. Everdeen found a passion for theater during her school years, and she’s
thinking about joining a student-run theater club next semester.


No matter where her life takes her, pamonhas will always be her favorite dish. This
sweet corn mush dish filled with melted cheese, it seems, will forever be the taste of home for
Everdeen.


“I can’t wait to have them again,” she said.

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