Haven't written much here, but have been studying and practicing every day, working hard.
Usual day starts with situps by 7am, then Cantonese/Malay tapes while making coffee laying out clothes, then an hour spent working through New Practical Chinese Reader 4 page by page, saying everything multiple times, going to the dictionary whenever I need to check a tone, alternate meanings, compounds. Working through a page of a Cantonese Slang Dictionary while on the throne. Some online work while watching (and rewinding) CCTV News. A commute to the office listening to Mandarin (often NPCR5 now).
On the way home I listen to a ballgame or audio history of China, then usually practice Bach Inventions and other tunes for an hour or so. Before sleeping I've been going through the 700-page "1000 Basic Chinese Characters", reviewing 15 pages and advancing 5 pages each night, usually a half-hour.
Sundays I've been working on the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, the proficiency test. Not sure yet if I'll be fast enough to take Level 4 in October.
Each day is pretty much like the last. There are few milestones at this stage... I'm just pushing through to achieve my goals. About a half-year now of daily focused work.
Someday I'd like to play musette tunes on The Bund. Or maybe tangos for a Beijing dance hall. Or perhaps learn Chinese accordion playing in Qingdao or Tianjin. Or maybe something in Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, even Guangzhou or Kunming.
Right now, I'm just preparing....