During my senior year of college, I traveled to Australia to study abroad with a group of 30 other students, all in my program at the University of Delaware. Some of us knew each other, some of us were meeting for the first time. On our way to Australia, we stopped in Hawaii for a week, but everyone seemed to stick with their already established social circles. Maybe it was because we were still in the States — some were legal to drink, others weren’t — but we didn’t branch out very much at all.
For the first leg of our time there, we studied at University of Wollongong, about 20 km north of Sydney. We lived in the dorms, 5 of us to a suite. I was already close friends with 2 of my roommates and didn’t have a relationship (yet) with the other 2 roommates. While we were there, I was thrilled to find that, Down Under, wine is cheaper than water. Sold in a box, a bag, a bottle, it didn’t matter – it was all good and could be found ANYWHERE. During our first day, we went to the store and stocked up on boxes and boxes of wine for our room, so we would always be prepared for the remainder of our trip. We let our only under 21 friend pay for it, since it would be her first time legally purchasing alcohol.
After our “shower hour” on our first full evening, we started getting ready to go out. Five girls in 1 suite, there was makeup and hair straighteners everywhere . . . and a box of wine on the kitchen counter. We turned up the music and kept on primping. As we continued getting ready, we each kept going back into the kitchen to refill our totally not fancy red solo cups with more wine. The music kept getting turned up louder and eventually, we changed into sweatpants and all 5 of us were in full dance party mode. We opened our 2nd box of Australian wine.
Slowly, other students from our trip started trickling into our suite, and eventually everyone made their way in. No one ended up going out that night, but instead stayed to hang out, dance and drink wine with our group. We finished all of our boxes (so much for “stocking up”), but it was worth it to bring our group together for the first time. Our spontaneous wine dance party was what initially cemented our group and helped us become one community, one family. The next morning, we headed back to the store to get more of that amazing, magical Australian wine.
Becca Molberger is a lover and consumer of all things wine. She is a non-profit program professional and has been at the Sid Jacobson JCC in Roslyn, NY since 2011, after living in LA for 3 years. She can be found at her home on Long Island, with her husband, a glass of red, and her puppy, Tugg.