The island of Okinawa shimmers beneath the wing of our plane, a dark green smudge on the azure seascape. I can't see it well, ensconced as I am in the aisle seat, already subconsciously distancing myself from this visit. But my daughter, on the other end of the row, peers out the window with wide eager eyes, hungry for a glimpse of her first home.

Back in the summer of 2012, I bid an admittedly enthusiastic sayonara to the island I had called home for three years. My time on Okinawa was a challenging one. I never took to the oppressive humidity, the relentless typhoons, the many and prolonged absences of my husband that his job had entailed. Yet, somewhere in the middle of it all, a child was born. A blond-haired, full-blooded American girl who would leave the island as a toddler but who'd remain in Japan, growing increasingly curious of her adopted culture. And who would one day, inevitably, show interest in the island of her birth.

It is (mostly) for her that I am now suffering through this homecoming to my own personal subtropical hell. Yet, even as the sweat starts running into my eyes as soon as I exit the blessedly air-conditioned airport, I find myself excited to see the island again, through her eyes.