Two years ago Margie Amorose took a life-changing trip.
The Dublin Chamber of Commerce executive director is hoping to share the experience with the community by offering a nine-day trip to China in March.
The chamber will offer a trip to China March 23-31, a first for the organization.
Amorose and her husband Dave had the luck to win a trip two years ago.
"I was just unbelievably fortunate two years ago," she said. "I went to a state (chamber) conference and at the end of the conference they were going to pull one business card out of the proverbial hat."
When she spotted a shamrock on the winning business card, Amorose knew she was in luck.
"It was something I always wanted to do," she said. "It was certainly an important part of my life. It was just an unbelievable trip."
The trip was provided by Leo Lu, a tour group owner who was trying to break into the Ohio market, Amorose said.
"Leo Lu has been putting trips together for 20 years and knows how to do it," she said.
Lu did break into the Ohio market and Amorose said she's been waiting for the right time to put together a tour for Dublin chamber members and residents.
"We needed a plan for this. We wanted to do it on spring break so kids could go," she said.
High school students who go on the trip can apply to get flex credit, said Dublin City Schools public information officer Doug Baker. Flex credit is a new, state mandated way for students to earn credits outside the traditional classroom.
The nine-day trip includes stays in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou with visits to the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and Ming Tombs.
It's the same trip Amorose went on two years ago.
"When this same trip became available that our chamber members could take, it just seemed like a shame not to offer it to them," she said.
During the trip, Amorose got to see spots she's heard about for years, but never imagined she'd visit.
"The highlight of my trip was definitely the Great Wall of China. You can see it long before you get there, like Mount Rushmore," she said.
Seeing a growing country was also a valuable part of the experience.
"China has certainly been in transformation. They make all kinds of things and there are so many jobs. In China people live in enormous high rises. I can't imagine living like that," Amorose said. "Elevators don't start until the eighth floor and there are lots of cars and lots of traffic."
With a full schedule, days start at around 6 a.m. and end at 9:30 p.m. with meals, tours and sightseeing in between.
But Amorose said it's worth it.
The trip is $2,300 for chamber members and $2,500 for nonchamber members and includes airfare, a charter bus to JFK airport, hotel accommodations, three meals per day, admission to sightseeing events, guides, professional drivers and transportation.
"It truly is all expenses included. It's transfer to the airports, entrance to all things like Temple of Heaven," Amorose said. "It has completely escorted tours on buses and airfare to Shanghai (from Beijing)."
The only items not included in the cost are a visa, Amorose said, and $25 to the tour director which will be used for the kind of gratuity accepted in China.
"In China it is insulting to give gratuity to someone who helped you," Amorose said, noting that the $25 goes to purchasing lunch or a beverage for a tour guide or other person who helps on the tour group.
Reservations for the trip are due Dec. 14 and Amorose expects the first-time chamber tour to sell out.
"We have 100 places right now," she said. "I know those 100 places will get taken."
For more information on the China trip, look online at dublinchamber.org/ china2013.