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23 years in Romania fostered Longboater's appreciation for life

After Romania's dictator was overthrown, Andrew Littauer worked to privatize banks there. Then he decided to stay.

Andrew Littauer with his authentic Romanian figurines
Andrew Littauer with his authentic Romanian figurines
Photo by Petra Rivera
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Andrew Littauer's Plymouth Harbor apartment is filled with mementos from a lifetime of travel and living abroad. 

There's a baton from the conductor of the Enescu Romanian National Orchestra, which Littauer once used to lead the orchestra himself.

In the 2000s, Littauer was a financial advisor for the orchestra and attended its concerts every week. After becoming great friends with the conductor, they both thought it would be funny if Littauer would lead them in a rehearsal.

Not one of the musicians looked at him during the rehearsal because he had no idea how to conduct an orchestra, Littauer said. But when he was given the baton, it created a strong memory of his connection to the symphony.

Andrew Littauer
Courtesy image

If he could talk to his younger self, Littauer would say to get ready for the ride of your life because it is not at all what he imagined. He never could have predicted his 23 years living in Romania and involvement in the privatization of Romanian banks after dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was overthrown.

“I lived in Europe and Asia for more than half of my life,” said Littauer. “Through my travels, I have discovered all kinds of interesting things, different cultures and languages. I have a wealth of friends all over the place. I feel like I can adjust to anywhere I go no matter how far and that is a great power.”

Littauer grew up in a family that would have Kennedy-esque conversations at the dinner table. International matters and politics piqued Littauer's interest as he grew into his college years. It wasn’t until he studied abroad in Switzerland during his undergraduate program that he was fully sold. 

In the 1960s, Littauer started a graduate program in international relations at Syracuse University where he was sent to the Philippines to teach about international relations and economics. Once he finished this program, he came back to the U.S. with a newfound passion for living overseas and discovering new cultures.

Andrew Littauer bought this saint statue from a church that was being demolished in Brussels.
Photo by Petra Rivera

International banking was his ticket to this desired lifestyle. This job took him across Europe and Asia working for the Bank of America in places such as Germany, Hong Kong and Brussels. 

When he lived in Brussels, he noticed that a church nearby was having a sale since it was being demolished. He couldn't help but buy a wooden statue of an unknown saint that is now displayed in his apartment with his baton. 

In 1994, Littauer got an offer from the U.S. Treasury Department to move to Romania and help its government privatize its state banks. He was able to accomplish this in a year with the help of the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Embassy. 

Before moving to Romania, he couldn’t point it out on a map. But after spending a year there, he decided his Romanian chapter was not finished yet. Littauer started his own outsourcing company and lived in Romania for a total of 23 years. 

Through his work and community involvement, Littauer became a well-known name in Romania. He met public figures like the Romanian president, Ion Iliescu, various ministers in his cabinet and other community leaders in the country. He established Democrats Abroad in Romania and was active in the Anglican Church there. 

Andrew Littauer displayed authentic Romanian figurines in his apartment to remember his time living in Romania
Photo by Petra Rivera

The Enescu Romanian National Orchestra eventually became his home away from the complex financial talk he heard every day at work. He bought a box at the orchestra so he could listen to talented musicians and cultivate friendships outside work. 

Littauer moved to Sarasota seven years ago after inheriting a condominium from his parents on Lido Key. He is involved in the Sarasota Historical Society and attends lectures and events at Plymouth Harbor. He is writing two books and spends his time visiting his favorite cities in Europe with loved ones. 

“The French writer Colette said, ‘I had a wonderful life but the problem is that I didn't recognize it. It wasn’t until later years that I appreciated how special of a life it was,’” said Littauer. “It’s a quote that I think about a lot because what a wonderful life I have of traveling and making friends around the world, but I wish I had realized it sooner.”



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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