Bear Pause: Aren Faruq '96

Aren Faruq '96

According to Aren Faruq ʼ96, he talks to his wife in English, mutters asides to himself in Arabic and speaks with his kids in gobbledygook. To everybody else, he just hopes to be understood.

Q: It’s been said that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. What happened during your 15 minutes? 
A: While working at the Egypt Stock Exchange in Cairo from 2008 to 2012, I volunteered as a swimming coach with a local club team. In 2010, I was named head coach of the Egyptian National Swimming Team. During the African championships, I was interviewed on live TV on the only national station in Mauritius. I guess, for 15 minutes, on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I was a household name.

Q: If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? 
A: My three young children: Espen, Henning and Sabine. The name of the show: "What were you thinking?!?!?!"

Q: What book has influenced you greatly? How? 
A: These days a majority of my leisure reading is done at night, reading bedtime stories to my two sons, who are ages 4 and 6. We are currently completing the Roald Dahl compendium. I often find myself continuing to turn the pages long after they have fallen asleep. I just need to know what happens next! Maybe it is a return to childhood innocence, imagination and endless possibilities. Or maybe his stories are just that good.

Q: I was once mistaken for… 
A: My brother, Keanan ('00). I take it as a compliment.

Q: What are your three favorite smells? 
A: Norell (It reminds me of my late grandmother. Like her name, Dorothy, her signature scent was of a very particular vintage.) 
Chlorine (As a lifelong competitive swimmer, there is a very basic sense of being within my element.) 
Freshly baked bread (I have been on this Keto diet too long.)

Q: What is something you learned in the last week? 
A: I just arrived back from a too-short ski trip. I took up the sport a few years ago. There is a specific feeling that I have not experienced in sport. Something so technical and yet relaxing, which requires me to completely exist in the present. Maybe this is only true for a novice whose entire attention and focus is required in order not to be introduced to ski patrol. If that is true, I hope to never lose that.

Q: If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why? 
A: My father's family is from Anguilla; my mother's from Lofoten, Norway. Having been throughout the West Indies, it would be nice to visit our family in Lofoten. I have a feeling it may help explain a lot about myself and our family. I demand answers!

Q: What teacher inspired you the most? How? 
A: Frank Sachs. Mr. Sachs was a college counselor and administrator during my time in Upper School. He was one of the most empathetic, patient and thoughtful people I knew (even while requiring me to attend an after-school detention). Twenty-five years later I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with him. It is unbelievably comforting when one of your childhood heros turns out to be exactly how you remembered them.

Q: What's your favorite family tradition? 
A: My family is Muslim. My wife's family is Christian. My maternal grandfather, Jewish. As much as we are able, I love being able to pass these traditions along to our children to see what resonates within each of them. We pick our favorite holidays based on the food.

Q: What's your dream job? 
A: Before COVID, I would unequivocally say my dream job would be as a stay-at-home parent. After a small dose of that reality during the past couple years, not so much. Being in finance during the past 20 years, working as a financial advisor alongside my team is pretty darn close to a dream job.