Do you believe in destiny? My husband and I do. And with the idea that the course of events in our lives are – in one way or the other – predetermined, our love story turns out to be even more interesting.

Imagine two soulmates who are destined to be together. Not only are they born in two different countries, at a certain point they even live on two different continents. Sounds like mission impossible, but you never know how life will magically enfolds itself.

Let’s go back in time a little and see where this love story starts.

Russian invasion in Prague in 1968

Russian invasion in Prague in 1968

Shortly after the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) Honza escaped the communist regime and choose the liberal and open minded country called the Netherlands as his new home. Eventually he found himself running a bar called Café 2005 in a neighbourhood that was known for the presence of many artists, writers and musicians, like the world famous rock bands Golden Earring, and Shocking Blue. In that same street my father, Eppo Harbrink Numan, had opened the very 1st Dutch barbecue restaurant called Charcoal, which became an overnight success.


Restaurant Charcoal in The Hague, Holland

Yes, that’s me in the foreground. I was around seven years old when that photo was taken. My parents and Honza knew each other professionally, but I was hardly in the picture at that time. Five years later my father opened another restaurant called Bajazzo, which made you feel like you walked into a chic Paris establishment during the 1900’s.

From Left to Right: Nico Molhoek, Wolfgang Bartos, Ronald Hoenderop, Eppo Harbrink Numan, Sir Talsma, Olaf Weissman and Roberto deLuca. In front:  Paula, sister Lucinda en brother Leonard

From Left to Right: Nico Molhoek, Wolfgang Bartos, Ronald Hoenderop, Eppo Harbrink Numan, Sir Talsma, Olaf Weissman and Roberto deLuca. In front: Paula, sister Lucinda en brother Leonard. Foto: Cees Zorn

It was around this time that my attention was drawn to this very handsome tall curly head, who would cast a friendly and flirtatious smile at me every time I passed Café 2005.

Cafe 2005

Cafe 2005. Foto: Cees Zorn

A few years later I had gathered enough courage to trick this recently divorced man into hiring me as his part time household aid, so I could iron his shirts, something he dreaded more than anything. You can find all the juicy details about how I eventually seduced him in The Queen’s Boudoir, the 2nd book in the Queen´s Trilogy. It was our little secret. Nobody knew about it. It was beautiful, the first time I made love to a man.

Honza 2005

Honza Mlejnek behind the bar at Cafe 2005

I have beautiful photos of myself from that period taken by photographers David Hamilton and Max Koot, but these are all stored at my moms. The only one that I could get my hands on from around that period is this picture from the Vrije School.

I'm standing top left with a white sweater.

I’m standing top left with a white sweater.

We hardly saw each other during the next thirty years, mostly because I was always traveling or living abroad. But seven years ago fate directed me back to Holland. I had decided to visit my family and spent a summer vacation in my home country, taking a break from a demanding consultancy job, and the hot and humid Mexican Caribbean. Well, that very first day in my home town I ran into Honza and when I saw him I simply threw myself into his arms. We were both completely surprised at the utter joy we felt seeing each other again after so many years, and we realized that our first secret adventure had created the imprint we needed to make this reconnection.

A romantic night in Prague

A romantic night in Prague

We also realised that we allowed ourselves to fall deeply in love, because we had nothing to loose. I had a beautiful home and a professional life in Mexico, and there was no way I would ever go back to a grey life where, “Act normal, than your’re acting crazy enough” is the norm. And Honza had a job he liked, together with a life full of responsibilities in Holland. We dove into our summer romance like there was no tomorrow. We enjoyed relaxed days in his Czech summer house in the mountains, and romantic nights in the cultural city of Prague. Well, you can’t just fall out of love, and soon we came to conclusion that we couldn’t live without each other.

At Honza's summer house in Horni Kalna

At Honza’s summer house in Horni Kalna

Even my mother visited the best son in law she could wish for

Even my mother visited the best son in law she could wish for

We’re coming close to the famous Seven Year Itch. It’s itching alright, but in all the right places. So far, we’re still shamelessly happy and in love.


Today, the famous Valentine’s Day – the day of friendship and romance – we hope to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary (the Super Bowl took over on our actual lustrum) with all our friends who happen to be in the neighbourhood. It looks like this is going to be the last big party we will be celebrating at Hacienda El Sol, a place we have been able to call home for the past five years and where we have thrown a few parties to remember.

A grand future lies a head.

Simply keep living your dream!


  1. Nice Story to read on this Valentine’s Day! Headed to Denver this weekend and will reflect on how lucky we are! Happy Valentine’s Day Honza and Paula!

  2. Wonderful story and bringing back lots of memories to the Dennenweg area & times too… Happy V. & congrats & alle liefs for u’r 5th wedding anniversary!

  3. Paula and Honza: You are so lucky to have all those pictures, as having escaped Beirut twice I am happy I have just a few from the past in the house… Wonderfully written, Paula, and this is truly a love story as mine was, but you still have the love of your life with you forever…,,,,,See you later….

  4. Hello Paula and Honza,

    Wow I am always so touched with your story. One could almost believe that it was you two who invented V Day. I sure do miss you guys here in Copan Ruinas. Take care and one day (hopefully soon) you shall find me at your door step in Mexico.


  5. Jesus, I am really happy to read, hear and feel everything that’s happeningaround both of you: congratulations, profoundly felt towards you both from my heart. Incredible, even from the distance I am near you and some other, mutual, Mexican (girl) friends, that I met at that superbe evening in “El Sol”, 2012.
    Actually, Paula, or Honza, did you met Cindy, or am I mistaken? Anyway, poco importa, pienso … Besitos y mucho mas: MarceloX (Senstius).

  6. This is wonderful Paula! Really lovely and well written. Your beautiful relationship capitvates and enchants the reader 😀
    Sad to miss your last fiesta at the Hacienda. Congratulations on the big changes! You are awesome!

  7. Paula, thanks for to share this magic storie about love, relationship, dreams and a one big an deep reality: You and Your Husband!!!


  8. Really beautiful lovestory. You guys are made for eachother. Flattered that u used one of the pics I took on your 5 th wedding anniversary. Congratulations and happy Valentine-party XXX Hannie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *