Love, Marisa: The best of both world ... from Spain to the snowy Dublin mountains
I'm in Spain this week.
The girl who was supposed to be coming with me, couldn't come in the end. I couldn't take my son as I didn't want him missing any more school Anyway we were here for Christmas and will be back for the midterm, so he's getting enough vitamin D from the sun.
I used to love getting away for a few nights alone. Mum would take the baby and I'd head off with my laptop. I'd write, then sunbathe, go for long walks by the beach and then sleep. I was glad of the rest. But now I don't relish time away from my son. I miss him when he's not with me.
But I'll make the most of my time abroad. When I'm in Spain I'm not on holidays.
I don't sit around a pool with a lot of other people. I can't bear package holidays with some DJ spinning tunes by the pool. I cringe at organised entertainment and I'm not a fan of buffet meals.
When I'm in Spain, I live as much like a Spaniard as I can. I make an effort to speak the language. I steer clear of Irish and British pubs, and travel on the train and the bus.
I buy local produce in the supermarkets and enjoy the magnificent flowers and the sound of birds singing.
When I walk on the beach, I wrap up like the Spaniards do. Although it's warm in the afternoon, it's still winter and nights get cold. I don't have internet or watch the news.
People often ask why I go to Spain so often. 'Do you have friends over there?'
Well, no I don't. I mean, I often do meet up with other people while I'm here but it's not that important. If I wanted to meet Irish people all the time, I'd stay at home.
I don't particularly enjoy commuting but having been an airhostess for six years I'm used to being on planes and hanging around airport.
The 4.30am wake-up call is an absolute pain in the neck, but as most daily flights from Dublin to Malaga leave at approximately 7.00 am, it has to be done. When the wretched alarm starts chirruping at that ungodly hour I just have to keep repeating to myself, I'll be on the beach by lunch-time.
I suppose what I love about Spain is the peace. I stay in a residential area, with no bars or shops.
There is a huge sun terrace on the roof and it's all mine and not overlooked. Here I can read for hours on my sun lounger.
Sometimes I dress up and stroll the Paseo Maritimo, and maybe stop off at a chiringuito for a chilled glass of wine and watch the world go by.
But then after a few days, I'm very glad to get back to Ireland and normality once more.
Just last week I was up the Dublin Mountains with my father, my son, the dog and the sleigh.
We could see the blue sea with the sun shining down on it, all across to Howth and yet we were surrounded by fluffy white snow. It was so beautiful. I guess I have the best of both worlds.