From Hong Kong with love

By Rick MacDonnell, SnowSeekers Inc.

Nothing quite compares to a proud mother.

Maria Leung is the mother of Torch bearer Shirley Leung, who ran through Banff, Alberta today. In Maria's case, "proud" might even be an understatement.

"We're so, so excited," Maria said. "We were so very happy to see her (Shirley) run with the Torch today. We truly feel a part of Canada now."

Maria and her husband, Peter, came to this country 20 years ago from Hong Kong in order to provide better opportunities for their children; although they never expected that carrying the Olympic flame would be one of them, this is definitely what they had in mind.

"We feel very lucky to have been a part of this. Something like this didn't feel possible before it happened, and now that it has ... it changes what you believe."

The entire Leung family was on hand in Banff. They even brought a homemade sign that said "Go Shirley!" in Chinese calligraphy. They were living it up at the festivities, as well.

"Oh, gosh, this is so much more than I expected!" Maria said. "This party is so much fun!" Maria was dancing around with her Canadian flags and glowing Coke bottles all evening, and her energy never wavered. All this after flying straight from Hong Kong the night before.

She can always sleep. She can't always see her daughter carry the Olympic Torch.

"We never thought she (Shirley) would have a chance to do this. I won't sleep for days," Maria laughed.

Make sure to catch the Travel Alberta Olympic Torch Relay videos on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/TravelAlbertaCanada

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